The main entrance to the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center is now open. Van Pelt Library and the Fisher Fine Arts Library are currently open to Penn Card holders, Penn affiliates, and certain visitors. See our Service Alerts for details.

The question of how the physical form of a text influences its meaning and reception underpins the entire field of material texts studies. It can be posed to all manner of “texts,” from the pre-modern manuscripts for which Penn is renowned, to the earliest editions of Shakespeare, fine press editions, 19th century block-illustrated Japanese shunga, comic books, and even documentary photography that circulates as a form of visual text. What distinguishes Penn is the depth and prominence of both its collections and scholarly engagement—the latter as evidenced by the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, Workshop in the History of Material Texts (co-programmed with the Department of English), and A.S.W. Rosenbach Lectures in Bibliography. To that end, we are most interested in adding objects that reveal or speak to their own production in ways unique or substantively additive to material text studies.

Anchor Collections

Page from Arabic-language manuscript.

Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection

The Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection includes nearly three hundred manuscripts and documents ranging in date from ca. 1900BC to the 20th century, with particular focus on the eras of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Original Gotham Book Mart sign that declares "Wise Men Fish Here"

Gotham Book Mart Collection

The Gotham Book Mart was a vital bookstore in the New York literary scene from its creation in 1920 to its closing in 2006.