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About digital collections
Digital collections and projects feature unique, primary-source materials for teaching, research, and discovery drawn from the Penn Libraries' signature collections or from our collaborations with the Penn community and with cultural heritage institutions. It provides access to important rare books, manuscripts, photographs and multimedia sources represented by images, texts, audio files, bibliographic databases, catalogs, and archival finding aids for the study of a wide array of subjects ranging from Philadelphia neighborhoods and the life of Marian Anderson to medieval manuscripts and Shakespeare's plays. In addition, this site gathers together Penn Libraries' pre-1923 materials publicly available through the Internet Archive as well as Penn-produced scholarship accessible in the ScholarlyCommons.
Created over the past fifteen years with generous support from Penn benefactors, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts and other non-profit agencies, DigitalPenn, like its founding project the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image, continues to grow as we engage with partner institutions locally and around the world. DigitalPenn collections are sustained by curators who are responsible for the life cycle management and stewardship of the content within the framework of Penn's digital library infrastructure.
Search (for digital projects) and results
Within the American Poetry Review Records held by Penn are photographs of the writers whose work has been published in the bi-monthly periodical. American Poetry Review was founded by poets Stephen Berg and Stephen Parker in Philadelphia in 1972.
In 1965 W. A. Swanberg published a biography of Theodore Dreiser. Swanberg's collection comprises his correspondence related to the book and his research notes, including photographic prints that he had compiled.
Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945) was a novelist, story writer, autobiographer, essayist, political writer, travel writer, playwright, poet, journalist, editor and diarist. The Dreiser Web Source provides access to correspondence, manuscripts, notes, and photographs related to Dreiser's personal life and his careers as journalist, novelist, essayist, and political activist. In addition to these resources from the collection of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library the site includes scholarly essays and links to the International Theodore Dreiser Society and to the newly updated Theodore Dreiser: A Primary Bibliography & Reference Guide.
Edgar Fahs Smith (1854-1928) was a professor of chemistry and a provost of the University of Pennsylvania. The Edgar Fahs Smith Memorial Collection is devoted to the history of chemistry, emphasizing periods prior to 1850, and includes monographic works on chemistry, alchemy and related fields. In addition, there are more than 3,000 prints, engravings, and photographs of eminent scientists, their laboratories, and the apparatus they used which have been digitized and mounted on the library web.
END is a bibliographic database based on the Collection of British and American Fiction 1660-1830 held by the University of Pennsylvania's Rare Book & Manuscript Library. When completed, the database will include records of more than 3,000 novels and fictional narratives by canonical authors from Daniel Defoe to Jane Austen as well as lesser-known novelists like Mary Brunton and Mary Walker.
Eugene Ormandy served as the conductor/musical director of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra from 1931 to 1936 and the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1937 to 1980.This collection of photographs documents the career and life of Eugene Ormandy from the early 1880s to the early 1990s, with the bulk of the photographs dating from the 1940s to the 1970s.
The Fine Arts Library Image Collection offers an ever-expanding database of digital images as well as records documenting the majority of the slides housed in the Fisher Fine Arts Library. The database includes drawing, painting, sculpture, prints, photography, manuscripts, maps, ceramics, furniture, architecture, landscape architecture, city and regional planning, historic preservation, contemporary art and more.
The Furness Theatrical Image Collection comprises more than 2,000 prints and photographs that illustrate and interpret Shakespeare's plays and also document theatrical performers and performances of works by Shakespeare and other dramatists. The majority date from the nineteenth century, but the collection also holds earlier and later images.
Known as UPenn Ms. Roll 1066, this scroll was likely produced in London in the third quarter of the fifteenth century. It comprises thirteen vellum membranes, sewn together for a length of nearly thirty-seven feet, and chronicles the lineage of Yorkist king Edward IV, beginning with Adam and Eve and ending with Edward IV (born 1461). The work contains a complex illustrative schema, comprising 174 bust-length portraits in color, five mandorlas with tinted full-length portraits, and eighty roundels containing crowns as well as several classic chronicle-type scenes including the Temptation of Adam, Noah after the Flood, and the city of Jerusalem. The site offers a full transcription of the text as well as an index to the images.
First offering the study of German in 1754, the University of Pennsylvania hosts one of oldest German programs in the United States. By the turn of the twentieth century, Penn was considered to have the premier department of German in the nation. At a time when fully one-third of the Pennsylvania population was of German heritage, Penn scholars forged the way for the study of German-Americans, particularly the Germans of Pennsylvania. Among the most notable were Marion Dexter Learned, renowned dialectologist who established the first graduate program in German at Penn, Oswald Seidensticker, the first professor of German Language and Literature at Penn, and Otto Springer, former Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Vice-Provost. Other noteworthy Penn faculty and affiliates who researched the history, language and culture of the Pennsylvania Germans included Martin Grove Brumbaugh, Henry Chapman Mercer, Joseph George Rosengarten and Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker.
The Penn Libraries collected a substantial number of materials on the history and language of the German emigrants to Pennsylvania to support the research of these esteemed faculty. Works by each of the scholars named above are represented in Penn's collection digitized by the Lyrasis collaborative with support in part from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Wherever possible, materials on the Pennsylvania German dialect listed in Otto Springer's 16-page mimeographed bibliography were digitized, as well as the bibliography itself. Of note in the collection is Marion Dexter Learned's 1911 ethnographical survey of Germans in Pennsylvania. Also digitized are the original 25 questions asked in the survey, published in Americana Germanica (vol.1, no.4), a monographic series for which Learned served as editor. The Pennsylvania German Society's publication series, 1891 to 1923, examining and preserving various aspects of the Pennsylvania German dialect and culture, is included as well.
[est. 171 vols.]
Isaac Leeser (1806-1868), a German-Jewish immigrant from Westhphalia, is widely regarded as the most important antebellum Jewish communal leader in the U.S.. The Penn Libraries lead a consortium of institutional libraries and private collectors to produce high-resolution scans, transcriptions, cataloging, and full-text integrated search and discovery of the dispersed corpus of Leeser's letters and publications. The Gershwind-Bennett Leeser digital repository is our first Jesselson-Kaplan American Genizah Project (JKAGP). JKAGP seeks to enhance access to intellectually related yet physically dispersed sources of early American Judaica.
The Harrisburg Car Co., renamed the Harrisburg Car Works and then the Harrisburg Car Manufacturing Co., was established in 1853. The firm made passenger, mail, baggage, box, cattle, platform, coal, and hand cars. Financial difficulties of the 1880s left the company with little in assets; it was soon in bankruptcy court, never to emerge. The collection contains 45 photographs of train cars, products of the company.
Researchers will find in the Internet Archive a fascinating array of expert studies of historic structures (including many in the Philadelphia region), cultural landscapes, building materials, and theories of preservation in the digitized theses written by students in Penn Design's Historic Preservation program from 1987 to 2003. At a time when society increasingly realizes the historical and cultural value of the inherited environment and what has been lost through the destruction of buildings, landscapes, and communities, the field of historic preservation has become central to the design, adaptive use, planning, and management of buildings, cities, and regions. Historic Preservation theses from 2004 to present are available in the ScholarlyCommons. [est. 309 vols.]
Journal of the Common Council of the City of Philadelphia and Ordinances of the City of Philadelphia
The Act of June 21, 1839 gave Philadelphia residents the right to directly elect the mayor. The structure of municipal government in Philadelphia as of1839, with its bicameral representative legislative branch and separately elected executive branch, continued with some variation until the Act of June 25, 1919 created the unicameral City Council that exists today.
Through the Lyrasis Mass Digitization Collaboration, the University of Pennsylvania Libraries are contributing virtually complete runs of the Journal of the Common Council of the City of Philadelphia, 1835-1916, and the Ordinances of the City of Philadelphia, 1850-1920.
The Journal of the Common Council of the City of Philadelphia contains minutes of the proceedings of the Common Council as well as the text of petitions, reports, resolutions, messages and ordinances that were presented to or created by the Council. The Ordinances of the City of Philadelphia contains ordinances passed by the Common and Select Councils. Ordinances include appropriations, directives to begin public works and construction, city planning decisions, and regulations. It was the decisions recorded in municipal documents such as these that helped shape the city during this vital eighty year period.
[est. 209 vols.]
Compiled by Edward Iungerich Keffer, a Philadelphia dentist and noted amateur musician, the Keffer Collection of Sheet Music contains 2,531 scores ranging in date from ca. 1790 to 1895. The great majority of the items were published in the United States and approximately 1,150 items were produced by publishers in Philadelphia. American sheet music of the nineteenth century provides a fascinating historical record of contemporary social concerns, issues, events, celebrities, and tastes. This record is further enhanced by the prevalent use of illustrations for title pages, including portraits, landscapes, and scenes of battles or local sites of interest.
The Lorraine Beitler Collection of the Dreyfus Affair comprises over 1,000 items documenting the history of the Dreyfus Affair and its impact on the art, society, and politics of France and the modern world. Assembled by Dr. Lorraine Beitler as a resource for scholars, as a teaching collection for students, and as a traveling exhibition designed to stimulate discussion of the issues of prejudice, racism, and social injustice in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, it has been exhibited around the world.
The collection of nearly 1300 photographs documents the lives of Alma Mahler, widow of Gustave Mahler; her husband, the writer Franz Werfel; and their families, friends, and associates.
The collection holds more than 4,000 images of Marian Anderson and her milieu, including photographs taken at Marianna Farm, photographic scrapbooks, oversize photographs, and photographs of friends, colleagues, and admirers of the renowned singer and Philadelphia native.
The Mary Binney Wheeler collection of photographic slides is one of the largest individual collections of its kind in the United States. Amassed over the course of fourteen trips to India and Sri Lanka, the collection provides over 9,000 images of an astounding diversity of people, places, and events from nearly every corner of the Indian Subcontinent.
This catalog, developed by the Open Language Archives Community (OLAC), provides access to a wealth of information about thousands of languages, including details of text collections, audio recordings, dictionaries, and software, sourced from dozens of digital and traditional archives.
OPenn provides digitized cultural heritage materials available from the Penn Libraries and partners as free cultural works that are accessible for use by anyone. Materials on OPenn are available at full resolution, with derivatives also provided for easy re-use on the Web. Downloading of these images and their accompanying metadata can be accomplished by following instructions posted on the site
This Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) site provides access to finding aids for manuscript and archival collections held by its members, a group of 35 libraries and archives, whose collections offer primary resources on national, regional, and local history; the natural and social sciences; world history; literature; religion; art and architecture; business and industry; and the performing arts.
An estimated 1,027 volumes from Penn Libraries' collections have been digitized and made available through the Internet Archive.
Penn in Hand offers bibliographic information and digital facsimiles for selected collections of manuscript codices, texts, documents, papers, and leaves held by Penn's Rare Book & Manuscript Library as well as those privately owned by Lawrence J. Schoenberg (C53, WG56). Penn holds over 2,000 Western manuscripts produced before the 19th century; medieval and Renaissance manuscripts comprise approximately 900 items, the earliest dating from 1000 A.D. Its holdings of Indic manuscripts is the largest in the Western hemisphere with more than 3,000 items. The Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection emphasizes secular topics, especially science and mathematics, and includes tablets from the 21st to the 18th centuries B.C.
Benjamin Franklin was instrumental in organizing and shaping Penn from its inception. He was President of the College, Academy and Charitable School of Philadelphia from 1749 to 1755, and served continuously as trustee until his death in 1790. The partnership of Franklin and Penn is played out against the background of the creation of both a new republic and of higher education in America. Penn in the Age of Franklin provides access to original documents and manuscripts, printed books and artifacts from both the Penn Libraries and the University Archives - whether it be a letter from Franklin, an issue of Poor Richard, or minutes of the earliest meetings of the Trustees.
A genizah is a storeroom or repository for old, used and damaged books, Torah scrolls, and other documents containing the name of God, whose destruction Jewish tradition proscribes. This web site displays selected holdings of two distinct institutions, Cambridge University and the University of Pennsylvania, and reunites virtually the dispersed fragments from the Cairo Genizah. Documents from the Cairo Genizah date from the 9th through through the 15th centuries. Written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, and Judeo-Arabic, they catalogue the social, cultural, and religious lives of Jews around the Mediterranean basin.
The Penn Libraries' collections of rare Judaica rank among the most important in the world. Among Penn Judaica's most significant components are the remarkably rich holdings of Judaica Americana published before 1900. The provenance of Penn's Judaica Americana stems in large part from two private libraries built in 19th-century America: those of Isaac Leeser, the foremost Jewish publisher and translator in antebellum America and of Joshua I. Cohen, a Baltimore physician who was another extraordinary nineteenth-century collector. Both now form part of the Library at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at Penn. The Penn Libraries' Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Judaica Americana imprints are now freely available online to the public as part of Penn's Internet Archive collection. Selections are based, in large part, on Robert Singerman's Judaica Americana: bibliography of publications to 1900. [est. 120 vols.]
Published by the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting Agriculture, The Pennsylvania Farm Journal is "devoted to agriculture, horticulture, and rural economy"
The Plough, the Loom and the Anvil, is "An American farmers' magazine and mechanics' guide."
[est. 17 vols.]
The photo collection of the Alumnae Association of the Philadelphia General Hospital School of Nursing totals over 1500 images spanning the years 1880 to the 1970s. The collection features not only the School of Nursing, but also the wards and campus of the Philadelphia Almshouse and the Philadelphia General Hospital. The uniqueness of this photo collection lies in its impressive portrayal of life in a tax supported municipal institution as it transitioned from an almshouse to a fully fledged hospital.
Philadelphia Neighborhoods: Histories, Plans and Futures is a web presentation of the full content of 86 neighborhood planning surveys prepared and published by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission between 1946 and 1990. These reports contain descriptions of current conditions of housing stock; population trends; property turnover; public transportation; community activity. Recommendations are made for future action.
With the digitizing of the illustrated exhibition catalogs published by Philadelphia's T Square Club in its most consequential years, researchers now will find in the Internet Archive a valuable record of contemporary architectural thought at the beginning of the twentieth century. The annual exhibitions between 1894 and 1922, the period documented by this project, chronicle the development of a cohort of architects responsible for creating much of Philadelphia in the new century. A powerful center of commerce and manufacturing, Philadelphia offered an exceptional field of play for architects: by publication in the T Square Club's annual exhibition catalogs, Philadelphia architects showcased the products of their studios to the nation and the world. Together with presentation of design work, the published catalogs include essays and valuable advertisements, documents of the physical fabric of architectural practice. [est. 24 vols.]
Print at Penn is the online repository for digitized facsimiles of print materials held by Penn's Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Penn holds enormous print resources dating from the fifteenth through the twenty-first centuries, and their digitization is an ongoing project.
Nearing completion is the Print at Penn presentation of the Fairman Rogers Collection. This collection from the personal library of Fairman Rogers (1833-1900), comprises 1,054 rare volumes on horses and horsemanship. Primarily published in the 19th century, with some imprints dating to the 16th century, these materials serve as a foundation for scholarly study of the role of the horse in the technical, scientific, and social evolution of 19th-century European and North American history.
The Provenance Online Project (POP) makes digital images of provenance evidence contained in books
This musical research library, international and multi-lingual in scope, is a collection of approximately 5,300 Judaic sound recordings, in various formats. The majority of these recordings have been catalogued in an easily searchable internet database displaying song titles, authors, composers, performers, first lines and other related information.
A selection of volumes from the personal library of Fairman Rogers (1833-1900), a Penn alumnus (A.B. 1853, A.M. 1856), co-founder of the School of Veterinary Medicine, Professor of Civil Engineering (1855-1871), and internationally recognized horseman. The materials, primarily published in the 19th century, bring together Rogers' interest in horses and their relationship to engineering, veterinary medicine, science, and history of industrialization, specifically related to agriculture, transportation, hauling, and construction. Comprised of medical guides, stud books, books on shoeing, harnessing, training, riding, driving, racing, keeping a proper stable, and breeds and breeding, the collection serves as a foundation for scholarly study of the role of the horse in the technical, scientific, and social evolution of 19th-century European and North American history. Selections from the collection are available at the Internet Archive and the full collection can be seen at the Print at Penn site.
In January 2010, Penn Libraries announced a gift of $300,000 from the Laurie Landeau Foundation, LLC, to support the digitization of the complete collection. The Foundation's president, Laurie Landeau (V'84, WG'84), is a University Trustee, former Chair and current Member of the Board of Overseers of School of Veterinary Medicine, and a generous and loyal supporter of Penn.
[est. 150 vols.]
Penn has been involved in the study of South Asia for over a century and a half. Its rich collection of materials relating to South Asia is not limited to books and journals - it includes a sizable collection of Sanskrit manuscripts, as well as large numbers of images from a variety of sources. To date, the site includes the Wheeler Image Collection and images of Buddhist architecture from the American Institute of Indian Studies.
A collection comprising pamphlets, books, broadsides, cartoons, clippings, paintings, maps, and other print memorabilia about America from circa 1830 to 1880. Items are drawn primarily from the collection of the Library Company of Philadelphia. Links to other catalogues and collections are also available from this site.
The English Renaissance in Context (ERIC) is an NEH-funded project (2002) designed to provide scholars and students with access to major texts of the English Renaissance in their original versions. ERIC comprises two units: a set of tutorials on some of Shakespeare's plays and on the making and selling of books during the Early Modern period; and a database of scanned texts from Penn's Furness Shakespeare Library. When used in combination, these two units provide students with a rich introduction to English Renaissance literature in its historical and artifactual context.
The Lenkin Family Collection comprises over 5,000 original photographs, primarily of Jerusalem and Palestine taken from 1850 to 1937, which serve as primary source materials for teaching and research across a broad spectrum of disciplines, including the history of photography, architecture, regional planning, religious studies, history, and political science. The collection also includes 813 additional photo-reproductions, a reference library of nearly 100 secondary sources, and an extensive archive of notes and documents.
The H. H. Furness Memorial Library is devoted to the study of Shakespeare and other Tudor and Stuart dramatists. It includes most writings in English - as well as writings in many other languages - about Shakespeare and virtually all English-language editions of his plays and poems, including the first four folios, some early quartos, and other editions up to the present time. Translations of Shakespeare into many world languages are a special focus of the collection. Promptbooks, biographies, photographs, letters, scrapbooks (with reviews and news reports about Shakespearean performances and performers), and playbills offer rich resources for early stage history. In addition, the Library gathers primary and secondary information about the history of the Renaissance, especially in England but also on the Continent, and Shakespeare's predecessors, contemporaries, and successors among English Renaissance literary writers, particularly dramatists. It also contains more than 2,000 microfilm dissertations on Shakespeare and English drama from the middle ages through the Restoration.
Published by the Friends of the Library, University of Pennsylvania, this journal covers the provenance and history of important collections, news of recent acquisitions and purchases, and articles about the book trade and book history in Philadelphia and around the world.
[est. 45 vols.]
The Moldovan family Holy Land Map Collection was built over several decades by Dr. Alfred Moldovan and his family. It consists of 94 discrete maps dating from 1480-1797, printed in 23 distinct locations across Europe. The majority of the maps were printed in the 17th and 18th centuries in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Basel, Lyon, Paris, Rome, Strassburg, Tuebingen, and Venice. There are over fifty cartographers and engravers represented, including Adrichem, Bunting, Calmet, Hole, Mercator, Munster, Ortelius, Visscher, Wit, and Ziegler. It also features the unique surviving copy of Antonio De Angelis’s map of Jerusalem, printed in Rome in 1578.
The Morais Ledger belonged to Sabato Morais, a Sephardic Jewish leader, Hebraist, poet, historian, lecturer, teacher, and the leading representative of enlightened Orthodox Judaism in 19th century America. The scrapbook he kept - digitized and searchable here - is a unique record of the path he charted, the time through which he lived, and the highly charged controversies in which he became embroiled.
The Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts (SDBM) makes available data on medieval manuscript books of five or more folios produced before 1600. Drawn from over 12,000 auction and sales catalogues, inventories, catalogues from institutional and private collections, and other sources that document sales and locations of manuscript books, the SDBM assists in locating and identifying particular manuscripts, establishing provenance, and aggregating descriptive information about specific classes or types of manuscripts.
The University Archives Digital Image Collection offers an expanding database of over 5,700 digital images of items found in the collections of the University Archives & Records Center. Delivered by the Penn Libraries, the database contains digital photographs and scans of items relating to the history of the University of Pennsylvania, prominent persons associated with the University and the history of the Philadelphia community in which the University resides. This sampling of items found in the collections of the University Archives includes not just photographs, but also decorative objects and memorabilia, drawings, graphics, prints, maps, manuscripts and printed text.
The University of Pennsylvania Libraries use virtual exhibitions to disseminate information about our collections and topics of interest to the wider community. Some of these exhibitions are digital versions of physical exhibitions mounted in exhibition spaces in the various libraries, while others are born digital - that is, they have only ever existed virtually. The broad exhibition subject categories presented at the top of the page provide a way of grouping exhibitions by topic.
The collection consists of 573 items, mostly black-and-white photographs--and a few drawings and engravings--of 111 actors, actresses, and other performing artists posed by professional photographers working predominantly in New York, London, and Paris.
The collection of Cibachrome prints, ranging in size from 6 X 6.5 inches to 11 X 14 inches, depicts over 100 musical and dance artists in rehearsal either at the Mann Music Center or the Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, New York.
The World War I Pamphlet Collection at the University of Pennsylvania consists of just over 400 titles drawn from the general stacks at Van Pelt library. These pamphlets, many of them brittle and no longer fit for circulation, all deal with the First World War, its origins or aftermath. Out of this collection, more than 200 have been digitized and are made available here in Print at Penn. The remaining titles can be accessed digitally through the Hathi Trust. Published in nine languages, the selection of pamphlets includes political tracts, government publications, fund-raising brochures, and periodicals. Many of these items were given to the University of Pennsylvania Library by the Philadelphia attorney and politician James Montgomery Beck (1861-1936) who wrote and spoke often about the conflict. Given their rarity and ephemeral nature, the majority of items available in facsimile here are not available online in any other venue.
[est. 241 vols.]
The Zucker Holy Land Travel manuscript, though not based on direct observation, is the work of an unidentified 17th century scholar, in all likelihood from the Swiss city of Bern, who takes his readers on a tour of the sacred sites mentioned in the Bible. The text is based in large part on Olfert Dapper's Asia, oder, Genaue und gründliche Beschreibung des gantzen Syrien und Palestins... (1681), a German translation of a 1677 Dutch original. Nevertheless, all the maps of the Zucker Holy Land Travel Manuscript as well as some of the illustrations have additional sources. The manuscript author also added his own notes, comments, and Hebrew and Greek renderings of various words to Dapper's text.