Learn about the new Special Collections Center
The Campaign for Penn's Libraries
Learn about the new Special Collections Center

The Orrery Society

Among the largest and most diverse research libraries in North America, Penn's extensive and heavily-used collections span all formats, from printed books to hand-written manuscripts, maps, digital images, videos and sound recordings, e-journals and licensed databases, and serve all disciplines across the University, from the health sciences and engineering to social sciences, humanities, and business studies. Keeping up with the information needs of a research-intensive university in the face of rapidly rising costs in both print and digital information remains one of the Libraries' greatest challenges.

To help address this challenge, Penn Libraries established the Orrery Society. Named after the David Rittenhouse Orrery, which has its home in the Special Collections Center of the Penn Libraries, the Orrery Society recognizes and engages supporters who make significant contributions to the Libraries' digital and print collections.

The Orrery Society has two major objectives:

  1. To expand University and alumni awareness of the importance the collections play in helping the University achieve its scholarly mission;
  2. To increase the Libraries' digital and print collections through the establishment of acquisition funds, annual gifts in support of collections, and gifts of in-kind collections.
Membership in the Orrery Society is open to individuals, families, or classes who:

  • Establish an endowed acquisition fund at the Libraries at the $25,000+ level.
  • Give annually $2,500 or more to support collection building.
  • Donate books or other scholarly material, valued at $100,000 or more.

Click here to make a gift to the Orrery Society Fund
Orrery Society Challenge

Challenge funds are currently available for individuals establishing their first endowed acquisition fund at Penn Libraries.The Orrery Society Challenge Fund offers a $15,000 match for a gift or pledge of $35,000. In addition to significantly increasing support for acquisitions, the resulting $50,000 fund will give the donor lifetime membership in the Orrery Society. To learn more about establishing an endowed acquisition fund at Penn Libraries, contact Kristin Winch at: 215-573-3609, or via email at: kwinch@upenn.edu

Orrery Society Members with collection endowment funds at the $50,000+ level receive an annual report on acquisitions made through their fund, a dedicated stewardship web page, and electronic bookplate recognition in the Franklin catalogue records. Orrery Society Members are also invited to the Annual Gathering of the Orrery Society, and other outreach events that showcase collections and scholarship at Penn.

Orrery Society Volunteer Leadership

Margy Ellin Meyerson, G'93, Honorary Chair
Kimberly Hirschman, W'87, Co-Chair
Marilyn Weitzman Kahn, CW'68, G'69, Co-Chair

Regional Advisory Council of New York

James Blank, C'88
Wendy Commins Holman, W'97
Jon Jachman, W'99
Rohit Singh, C'02, W'02
Candice Wang Willoughby, C'97
Mina Wattenberg, C'94
Orrery Society
Shown above: detail of the Rittenhouse Orrery