Early American collections in the Kislak Center include both manuscripts and printed materials, with notable strengths including literature; travel and exploration narratives; Judaica; and music.
The Kaplan Collection documents commercial, social, religious, political, and cultural ties that connected Jews and the general public from the colonial era through the nineteenth century.
At the University of Pennsylvania, holdings relating to art and architecture may be found in the Anne and Jerome Fisher Fine Arts Library; the Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania; the University Archives and Records Center; and in the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.
The core of the Penn Libraries’ outstanding linguistics collection is the library of August Friedrich Pott (1802-1887), professor of general and comparative linguistics at the University of Halle and first librarian of the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft.
This collection of approximately 18,000 items includes books and periodicals on German literature, linguistics, philology, folklore, and related disciplines. Materials date from the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries. The Bechstein Library was acquired by the University of Pennsylvania in 1896.
The Berendt-Brinton Linguistic Collection is an important repository of Indigenous language materials and other documents, primarily from colonial-era Central America.
The Caroline F. Schimmel Fiction Collection of Women in the American Wilderness comprises over 6,000 works of fiction by women writers, including novels, short stories, poetry, works by Native American authors, travel writings, narratives of polar expeditions, captivity narratives, and works for children. The Collection was donated in 2014 to the Penn Libraries by Penn alumna Caroline Schimmel (CW’67) and has been augmented by subsequent gifts.
The Chef Fritz Blank Culinary Archive and Library is a major resource for the study of the culinary arts and sciences. It includes several thousand cookbooks and cookery-related books, spanning the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries, with emphasis on the modern era. Also in the collection are manuscripts and personal papers; popular ephemera and magazines; menus; community cookbooks; and memorabilia.
The University of Pennsylvania Libraries' Collection of British and American Fiction comprises over three thousand works that together form a rich teaching and research collection of early fiction in English, strong in both canonical authors and little-known titles. While drawing from the general Rare Books Collection as well as several smaller named collections, its core is the Singer-Mendenhall Collection, built through the combined efforts of a University of Pennsylvania graduate student and professor in the first half of the twentieth century.