Kislak Center
for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts

Guided by the vision of its founder, Lawrence J. Schoenberg, the mission of SIMS at Penn is to bring manuscript culture, modern technology and people together to bring access to and understanding of our cultural heritage locally and around the world.

We advance the mission of SIMS by:
  • developing our own projects,
  • supporting the scholarly work of others both at Penn and elsewhere, and
  • collaborating with and contributing to other manuscript-related initiatives around the world.

Locally, we manage the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts, which enables scholars to trace the provenance of manuscripts from origin up to today, and we provide space for the meetings of the UPenn graduate student paleography seminar.

Farther afield we collaborate with T-PEN, a web-based tool for working with images of manuscripts (, and the Shared Canvas initiative at Stanford University ( SIMS is active in the local rare books and manuscripts community, and welcomes manuscript-minded scholars and students to join our conversations.

The latest from our blog:

The staff of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies honors the memory of Larry Schoenberg (C ’53 WG ’57), the institute’s co-founder, who died on May 7, 2014.  As a collector and a scholar, Larry explored the transformation of knowledge as represented in manuscripts through the variations of time, translation, format, cultural exchange, scholarly argument, and practical application that his beloved books presented to him.  His lifelong pursuit, shared with his wife Barbara Brizdle, generated an outstanding collection of manuscripts, the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts, the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text & Image, and the annual Schoenberg Symposium, all under the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies.  His commitment to using digital tools (more...)

More posts...