Discovering Marian Anderson: through the collections at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries
This research portal provides online access to more than 2,500 items from the collection of Marian Anderson, one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century. The body of primary sources in the collection — including letters, diaries, journals, interviews, recital programs, and private recordings — spans the Philadelphia-born musician’s six-decade career as an opera singer and advocate for social justice.
Justice Now: 1960s Protest Drawings by Ashley Bryan
The author, artist, and humanitarian Ashley Bryan, whose archive was recently acquired by the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, responded to Civil Rights protests about police bias and brutality in the 1960s with this series of drawings, made from his studio overlooking Tremont Avenue in the Bronx. The signs carried by these protesters speak to today’s issues as well: “Stop Police Brutality Now,” “End Police Bias Now,” “Jim Crow Must Go,” “Freedom Now,” “We Demand Decent Police Now,” and “Justice Now.”
The Arnold and Deanne Kaplan Collection of Early American Judaica teaches us about the everyday lives, families, communal institutions, religious organizations, voluntary associations, businesses, and political circumstances of Jewish life throughout the western hemisphere over four centuries. It also provides a unique window into the changing character of colonial and early American life and culture in the United States. The collection is more than the sum of its parts. It is the constellation of unlimited potential connections among its thousands of items dating from the time of colonial settlement in the sixteenth century into the era of mass migration at the end of the 19th century.
Red Etchings: Soviet Book Illustrations from the Collection of Monroe Price
Following the 1917 Revolution, Russian authorities encouraged the development of book design as a means of communicating official Soviet ideology. Many artists—both famous and unknown—were commissioned to create book illustrations. This exhibition focuses on four of them: Zoya Kruzhkova, Alexander Samokhvalov, Nikolay Ushin, and Nikolay Sheberstov, whose works reflect the three stages of the art form’s development: the 1920s, 1950s, and 1980s. The exhibition features book covers, original prints, and draft designs for Soviet-era novels as well as 19th-century reprints.
The study of Jewish life in modern Islamic contexts during the 2018-19 Fellowship year at the Katz Center delved into the meaning of modernity in North Africa, the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, Central and South Asia. In their work, the Fellows broke new ground by looking beyond the more familiar paradigms of modern and contemporary Jewish history in European, American, and Israeli contexts to explore complex relationships between Jews and their Muslim neighbors, or with members of other non-Muslim communities in the Islamic world.
In Sight: Seeing the people of the Holy Land
This exhibition shows how people in nineteenth-century Holy Land photographs were visually represented and how these images met or challenged contemporary conventions about that most contested of places. It also brings back to life the faces of local inhabitants otherwise lost to history. By addressing both the photographer's and subject's points of view, these images draw the viewers closer into the image-making process and demonstrate the experience of photographing and of being photographed. The images on display here come from the extraordinary Lenkin Family Collection of Photography at the Penn Libraries.
Nature between Science and Religion: Jewish Culture and the Natural World
During its 2017-2018 fellowship year, scholars at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies asked new questions about how the history of science, medicine and technology may be seen from the perspective of Jewish culture. Among the highlights featured in this web exhibition are studies of ecology and the environment, astronomical science; calendrical systems; geographical knowledge; medieval and early modern natural philosophy; the history of medicine; evolutionary biology; Spiritualism; contemporary research in genetics; as well as modern industrial technology.
In honor of the 350th anniversary of Jonathan Swift's birth, this exhibition, based on the collections of the Penn Libraries, explores the many facets of Swift's life and legacy through an examination of his many voices; his complicated relationships with both men and women; his ever-evolving politics; his many travels; and his views on the role of religion in society. A Raging Wit provides an opportunity not only to explore Swift but also to celebrate the collectors whose materials are at the heart of this exhibition: Herman Teerink, Archibald C. Elias, Jr., Geoffrey Denison, and John Irwin Fischer.
This exhibition focuses on Penn Libraries' manuscripts and printed materials from South, Southeast Asia, and Tibet, which is the largest collection of its kind in North America. The Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain traditions displayed here represent the core of the collection. Manuscripts and objects are here arranged to highlight common threads of mutual influence, exchange, and integration: iconography, myth, literature, astrology, Tantra, and materiality.
Expanding Jewish Political Thought: Beneath, between, before, & beyond the state
The 2016-17 Katz-Penn Libraries Web Exhibition brought together scholars working in a variety of fields of theory and praxis to unsettle regnant paradigms of power, authority, political action or inaction, law, human rights, gender inequalities, territorial sovereignty, and statehood. They drew upon a wide variety of sources and interdisciplinary methodologies to challenge established understandings of Jewish political history.
This exhibition explores the many and varied ways that people have reacted to, and acted upon, manuscripts from the Middle Ages up to today. Reactions take many forms. They include the manipulation of physical objects through, for example, the marking up of texts, addition of illustrations, the disbinding books or rebinding fragments, as well as the manipulation of digital objects, thanks to new technologies involved in digitization, ink and parchment analysis, virtual reconstruction, among many other processes. Both the exhibition and symposium will also tackle how popular culture has reacted to manuscripts over time as witnessed by their use and appearance in books, games, and films.
Focusing on the experiential, the sensual, as well as philosophical and theological reflections that occur within and beyond the rational dimension of human life, our scholars showed how emotions like love, anger, anxiety, joy, fear, empathy, sympathy, sadness, desire, pain, and pleasure
Cultural Readings:: Colonization & Print in the Americas
An exhibition from the collections of the Jay I. Kislak Foundation (now at the Library of Congress), the Rosenbach Museum and Library, and Penn's special collections. Grouped into six broad categories, Cultural Readings demonstrates colonization's impact upon indigenous peoples and Europeans from the 15th through the 19th centuries.
[Currently under construction]
Ormandy in China: The Historic 1973 Tour
The 1973 tour of China by the Philadelphia Orchestra marked an important milestone in relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China. Following on the heels of Richard Nixon's trip to visit Mao Zedong in 1972, the tour was a successful attempt at cultural diplomacy—the first visit to China by an American orchestra. In recognition of the fortieth anniversary of this historic tour, "Ormandy in China" reexamines the ten-day visit and places the tour in the context of the political and cultural climate of the time.
Doing Wissenschaft: The Active Study of Judaism as Practice, 1818 - 2018
This past year's Fellows explored critical questions about the way in which academic categories and methodologies have framed how Jews and Judaism are understood
Constellations of Atlantic Jewish History, 1555-1890: The Arnold and Deanne Kaplan Collection of Early American Judaica
During the 16th century and continuing over four centuries, Jews and their descendants forged extensive networks of kinship, commerce, and culture around the Atlantic coasts of Europe, Africa, South and North America, and beyond. The history of these Atlantic Jewries spans generations of colonization, revolutionary wars, cultural transformations, and continental crossings. The Arnold and Deanne Kaplan Collection of Early American Judaica teaches us about the everyday lives and businesses of these Atlantic Jewries and their changing perceptions and experiences of space and time - both as Jews and as members of their larger societies.
Constructing Borders & Crossing Boundaries: Social, Cultural, & Religious Change in Early Modern Jewish History
In order to probe the meaning of an early modern era of Jewish history on its own terms, scholars came together in 2013-14 to bridge often disconnected areas of scholarship. Borders and boundaries were understood geographically, but also as social, cultural, legal, political, and economic realities. In the year's web exhibition, the concept of the boundary is presented both as a dividing line and as a place of meeting and mixing between different groups (Jewish and non-Jewish) in an effort to illuminate the contexts and meanings of shared histories.
13th Century Entanglements: Judaism, Christianity & Islam
The selected original sources featured in this exhibit reflect scholarly efforts to develop a more integrated account of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic societies during the Middle Ages. They include a rich variety of Hebrew, Latin and Arabic manuscripts and early printed texts which illustrate a range of topics such as medieval liturgical poetry, law, rhetoric, philosophy, science, magic, social history, gender relations, inter-communal contact, conflict and other forms of entanglement both positive and negative.
A Legacy Inscribed: The Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection of Manuscripts
The Midwest Experience: Ormandy in Minnesota
Although Eugene Ormandy is best remembered for his forty-four-year tenure as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, for five years during the early 1930s he was conductor of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. Ormandy worked hard to build the orchestra and improve its musicianship, and by 1936, through tours of the East and South and landmark recordings for RCA Victor, he had established an international reputation for the orchestra and positioned himself for his appointment in Philadelphia as Leopold Stokowski's successor.
Oh Fresh!: Freshman Broadsides from the Collection of Peter Zinman
Initiating freshmen into "college life" was, for upperclassmen, a long-standing ritual at many of this nation's institutions of higher education, including Penn. Some of these traditions eventually came to be considered forms of hazing and were banned. While they lasted, however, they gave rise to a fascinating documentary genre, the Freshman Broadside. This exhibit presents dozens of the most interesting and unusual from the collection of Peter Zinman as well as a number of Penn-related items from the University Archives.
Jews & Journeys: Travel & the Performance of Jewish Identity
The subject of travel and its complex range of practices and representations have provoked intense scholarly interest in recent years. Historically, Jewish travel has taken on many forms and is documented in a wide array of primary sources: merchant records; legends of the Wandering Jew; travel itineraries; pilgrimage accounts; photographs; postcards; journalistic reportage; motion picture footage. What cultural and ideological work is performed by these texts and what kinds of images of self and other are generated through them? A sampling of these sources, and scholarly discussions of these questions by the 2011-12 Katz Center Fellows, is displayed here.
Robert Montgomery Bird: Writer and Artist
Robert Montgomery Bird (1805/6-1854) was a writer of considerable note. Born in New Castle, Delaware in 1805 or 1806, he entered the University of Pennsylvania in 1824. He graduated from Penn's Medical School and College of Pharmacy in 1827. The present exhibition reveals yet another aspect of Dr. Bird's creative life: his art. His later works, the core of what we show on this occasion, record scenes and impressions of Philadelphia, America, and Europe garnered during many travels.
Reading Pictures: Sixteenth-Century European Illustrated Books
This exhibition surveys European book illustration during the sixteenth century. Examples include the very best—but also the most typical—and all come from Penn's rich collections of sixteenth-century European printing. Their wide variety of styles and subjects illuminate what early modern book illustrators provided readers in an environment visually far less rich than the one we take for granted. Religion, labor, science, warfare, costume, medicine, portraits, exotic places, and more—all these topics found their way not only into words but also into pictures. Opening up Penn's books not for their texts but their illustrations offers an entirely new way to see them.
Francis Johnson: Music Master of Early Philadelphia
Philadelphia bandleader and composer Francis Johnson (1792-1844), a free African American, achieved extraordinary renown and respect through performances of his band. This exhibit includes a selection from the over forty pieces of Johnson sheet music from the collection of the late Kurt Stein.
Taking Turns: New Perspectives on Jews & Conversion
Taking Turns takes as its starting point the idea of converts and conversion - an unstable subject, in the double sense of a topic very much in need of definition, and a model of individual and group life that does not presume a fixed or univocal "identity." Through the study of conversion, our understanding of the very meaning of "Judaic," "Christian," and "Islamic" identities has been complicated and even transformed.
Translation Necessarie: The King James Bible at 400
The 1611 English translation of the Bible
Coming to the Small Screen: Ormandy and Television
At 5:00 p.m. on 20 March 1948, the Philadelphia Orchestra made broadcasting history as the first American orchestra to perform on network television. The exhibition reproduces correspondence and photographs related to Eugene Ormandy's television appearances and his efforts in the 1950s and 1960s to gain more exposure on the "small screen."
Secularism & Its Discontents: Rethinking an organizing principle of modern Jewish life
This exhibition about secularism and its discontents examines the complex interplay and often permeable boundary between the religious and the secular in modern Jewish history.
This exhibition on Jewish economic history argues that economics is not solely materialist and quantitative in nature but is rather an integral part of the larger fabric of Jewish religion and folkways.
In this exhibition, scholars of late antiquity grapple with the complex and multifarious material sources and received texts upon which are understanding of the Roman empire and its minorities is built.
Textual Spaces: An Architecture of Reading
Where do we read? And how do those places affect our reading? Reading a newspaper by the fireplace is quite a different experience from reading it on a noisy street corner or in the social setting of a coffeehouse. Considering the physical surroundings in which readers encounter books, manuscripts, and other forms of printing and writing, this exhibition turns background into foreground.
Emma Hamilton's Path to Fame: "Surely no person was ever so happy as I am"
The exhibition features items from the collections of Jean Kislak and the University of Pennsylvania Rare Book & Manuscript Library. It includes rarely shown portraits of Emma and Greville by Romney, images of Nelson, books about Emma, Sir William Hamilton, and Horatio Nelson, and original manuscripts that detail Emma's life as Greville's mistress, wiife of Sir William Hamilton, and Nelson's love.
This exhibition reexamines the formative period in Islamic history between the 7th and the 11th century in order to understand how both Muslim and Jewish societies were shaped in this period, and how the presence of the majority of Jewish population worldwide under Islam modified Jewish life profoundly.
The Jewish Book: Material Texts and Comparative Contexts
This exhibition on the history of material texts investigates how the materiality and formatting of texts from antiquity to the present shaped authorship, transmission, reception, and interpretation; how the business of Jewish book production and the market forces of book consumption affected Jewish life and culture; how the visual art and design of Jewish books shaped reading habits, legibility, recollection, and signification.
Printer, Publisher, Peddler: The Business of the Jewish Book
Book production is a business as well as a craft, a trade and an art form. Since the invention of moveable type in the fifteenth century, Jews as well as non-Jews have been engaged in the printing and sale of a surprisingly diverse array of editions of Judaica. This exhibition offers a small sampling of that vast panoply of creativity, based on the University of Pennsylvania’s distinguished library collections at the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies and at the Walter and Lenore Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The materials selected highlight not only the production but also the consumption side of the business of the Jewish book: who bought and sold printed Judaica. In this exhibit, you will see in particular how these precious books came to be part of Penn’s library collections. Each item label explains from whom books were purchased or who donated specific treasures, and otherwise documents how Penn continues to develop one of world’s largest and most important Judaica collections.
Educating the Youth of Pennsylvania: Worlds of Learning in the Age of Franklin
In 1749, Benjamin Franklin published his educational call to arms, Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania. This slim pamphlet led to the creation of the University of Pennsylvania, the fourth oldest institution of higher education in North America. But what were schools like in the early Delaware Valley? Who received an education, how, and where? Who were the teachers, and what was taught? The Libraries' 2006 exhibition surveyed the educational landscape of the period and investigated the importance, originality, and ongoing relevance of Franklin's vision.
Agents Wanted: Subscription Publishing in America
Nineteenth-century America saw the rise of a new kind of subscription publishing and a new approach to marketing. Once a relatively genteel means of seeking financial support for an expensive publication project with uncertain sales prospects, subscription bookselling expanded during the nineteenth century into a door-to-door solicitation of commitments to purchase particular titles. Drawing on the resources of the Zinman Collection, this exhibition explores what has long been a relatively unknown and inadequately documented aspect of the American publishing industry in the nineteenth century.
The Meaning of Words: Marcus Jastrow and the Making of Rabbinic Dictionaries
This special exhibition at Penn celebrates the anniversary of Marcus Jastrow’s famous rabbinic dictionary and honors the centenary of its creator for his contributions to the distinguished tradition of rabbinic learning and lexicography.
Modern Jewish Literatures: Language, Identy, Writing
This exhibition on Jewish Literatures in the Modern Age takes literature itself as a site of intense struggle around the question of Jewishness and modernity in which all the resources of the linguistic imagination were called into play to negotiate the passage from traditional society to contemporary life.
This exhibition examines the multi-faceted life and career of Edgar Fahs Smith (1854-1928), whose long and dedicated service to the University of Pennsylvania culminated in a decade-long term as Provost—then the highest position in the University. We focus on specific aspects of Smith's life—his "nine lives"—in order to reveal the distinct role each played in his larger "life."
Challenging Boundaries: History and Anthropology in Jewish Studies
In this exhibition, scholars of Jewish history and anthropology explore the dynamic tensions that exist in the way religious traditions instruct people to live their lives and the way people go about living them, between the presumably normative and actually lived experiences found in Jewish culture and history.
Petrarch at 700: Books and Manuscripts from the Collections of Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania Libraries
Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) was the author of Italian-language love poems that served Italian and European writers as models of love poetry for the next half-millennium. To mark the seven hundredth anniversary of Petrarch's birth in 1304, the libraries of Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania created an exhibition, Petrarch at 700, that included some of the most important of Petrarch's works in North American libraries.
Tradition and Its Discontents: Jewish History and Culture in Eastern Europe
This exhibition considers Eastern Europe as home to the greatest living reservoir of Jewish civilization in the world for over three centuries and how it served as the location for key religious, intellectual, artistic, and political currents that shaped Jewish life across the modern period.
Chef Fritz Blank's culinary library helps to illustrate how a homegrown Jersey boy became one of America's foremost French chefs. After surviving a 1987 dumpster fire that otherwise gutted Blank's restaurant, Deux Cheminées, at its original location, his collection grew to over 10,000 volumes of cookery books plus recipe pamphlets, menus and other culinary ephemera. "A Chef & His Library" examines a paper trail of the influences—from his grandmother's cooking lessons to his career as a clinical microbiologist—that shaped Blank's culinary education and sensibilities.
John W. Mauchly: and the Development of the ENIAC Computer
This exhibition provides an overview history of the emergence of modern computing as seen through the eyes of one of its two principal inventors, John W. Mauchly (1907-1980), who worked at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering between 1941 and 1946, and whose papers are held at the University of Pennsylvania.
Literae Humaniores: in the University of Pennsylvania Libraries
This online exhibition gives an overview of an exhibition from the Penn Libraries displayed at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, the oldest university in the Low Countries, in 2003, to mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the current library building. Humanist works from Italy, France, Germany, England, and the Low Countries were on display, including some that are beautifully bound or that feature hand-colored images.
An exhibition from the collections of the Jay I. Kislak Foundation (now at the Library of Congress), the Rosenbach Museum and Library, and Penn's special collections. Grouped into six broad categories, "Cultural Readings" demonstrates colonization's impact upon indigenous peoples and Europeans from the 15th through the 19th centuries.
[Web archive version created on December 30, 2019]
Bibliotheca Schoenbergensis: An Exhibition from the Collection of Lawrence J. Schoenberg
For three decades, Lawrence Schoenberg has been collecting in an area reserved for the few: illustrated manuscripts from the medieval and early modern periods. What is most striking about the collection is its breadth. Stretching from the eleventh to the eighteenth century, it includes monastic, university, and lay texts. Here one can study the contrasts between public and private devotion, the evolution of the school curriculum, the practices of history, and some chapters in a yet-to-be written history of science and technology.
Networking Artists & Poets: Assemblings from the Ruth & Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete & Visual Poetry
Website for an exhibit held in 1997 with selections from the Ruth & Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete & Visual Poetry (now part of the University of Iowa Libraries). This exhibition focuses upon artists, writers, and printers who developed alternative distribution networks for their experimental art and literature in the 1960s.
[Web archive version created on October 24, 2019]
The Illustrated Book, 1780-1830:: Selected from the Collection of Harris N. Hollin
Household Words: Women Write from and for the Kitchen
The Aresty Collection of Rare Books on the Culinary Arts spans five centuries and represents cultures from nearly every part of the world. The books written by both men and women provide us with material enough for many culinary and social histories from many points of view. he exhibition focuses on women's writing and use of cookery and househ old books.
And We have Revealed to You...: Jewish Biblical Interpretation in a Comparative Context: Introduction
This exhibition presents the common scriptural heritage of Judaism, Christianity and Islam while highlighting the distinctive traditions that each of them has developed for interpreting the Bible and what they believed to be its message and meaning.
Hidden in Plain Sight: Musical Treasures in the Penn Library
Unexpected riches from among the Penn Libraries' music-related collections of books and scores and from the letters, papers, photographs, and printed and manuscript music that together document the career of an individual or the history of a cultural organization. These samplings reflect the breadth and depth of the collections in music history.
This exhibition presents work in a rich diversity of cultural media and genres in an effort to illustrate and explore the characteristically modern features of Jewish aesthetic production and performance beyond the traditional texts that have defined Jewish identity and existence.
Sister Carrie: This page is under development
An exhibit from 2000 marking the one hundred year anniversary of the publication of Theodore Dreiser's novel Sister Carrie. The novel remains vital for many reasons: as an historical marker for the turn away from sentimentality, romance, and moral rectitude in the American novel at the brink of the twentieth century; as a text that influenced
This exhibition focuses attention on the relatively unknown intellectual movement called Christian Hebraism, an offshoot of Renaissance humanism whose devotees — biblical scholars, theologians, lawyers, physicians, scientists,philosophers, and teachers in Latin schools--borrowed and adapted texts, literary forms, and ideas from Jewish scholarship and tradition to meet Christian cultural and religious needs.
Eugene Ormandy: A Centennial Celebration: This page is under development
Eugene Ormandy dedicated his life to music, from the age of three, when he first picked up a violin, to shortly after his 84th birthday, when he conducted his last concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra. It is with this orchestra that Ormandy's name will forever be associated, by virtue of his serving as its Music Director for 42 years.
One of the most influential conductors of his generation, Leopold Stokowski was at the same time one of the most controversial. His unorthodoxy is perhaps his greatest legacy, for it was his willingness to take risks and challenge convention that occasioned his most significant triumphs. Drawing from the Leopold Stokowski Collection at the University of Pennsylvania, this exhibition focuses on the conductor's passion for all things musical and his life-long dedication to sharing his ideals with the public.
[Web archive version created on October 24, 2019]
From Written to Printed Text: Transmission of Jewish Tradition
This exhibition examines how the transmission of Judaism has always been heavily dependent on written texts as well as the oral traditions surrounding them through the presentation of one of the critical moments in the transformation of the Jewish book from manuscript to print in the early modern period.
The Keffer Collection of Sheet Music at the University of Pennsylvania contains over 2500 scores 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. Many scores include illustrations. The musical content of the collection consists largely of American popular songs and piano music, but also includes works by famous European composers published in the United States.
[Web archive version created on October 24, 2019]
The Jewish Home: Dwelling on the Domestic, the Familial, and the Lived-In
The domestic life of Jews, their homes, houses, and households, was the subject of the 2019-20 Katz Center research theme. This exhibition highlights examples of this most formative and intimate of contexts for Jewish life drawing from texts in the Penn Libraries’ collections and from around the world. These contributions interpret Jewish domestic culture, architecture, clothing, landscape, and material evidence through the lens of archaeological, anthropological, historical, legal, literary, and visual research. The eras covered span 3,000 years from the ancient Near East to modern times.