Are you looking for a way to show your Penn Libraries spirit or hunting for a gift for someone dear to you this holiday season? Look no further than the new Penn Libraries online store!

The store offers various items, from pens to jackets, frames to golf bags, hats to umbrellas, all featuring the Libraries logo.

Check out our branded merchandise, 
on offer here. And don't forget to use the promotional code LIBRARY for a 20% discount on all items!

Release your sleuthing skills from hibernation and investigate these descriptions of recent Libraries additions!

1. Select content related to media activism and propaganda studies is newly available online. Materials include transcribed oral histories of the civil rights movement, WWII psychological warfare leaflets, and gay and lesbian political and social activism periodicals.

2. The Libraries are now providing on-campus access to the Cambridge Structural Database, a repository of over 700,000 small-molecule organic and organometallic crystal structures.

3. A recipe from Betty Crocker's Cakes Kids Love (1969) called "Gingerbread Boy Chase" calls to mind horrified gingerbread boys running around a layer cake and is part of the Penn Libraries' collections.

4. Almost two hundred volumes of juvenile pocket fiction, published around 1868-1926, from the Libraries' Japanese collection were recently digitized. The stories feature reimagined samurai swashbucklers, ninjas-turned-heroes, fantastic journeys and wars of glory. 

Think you know? Keep reading to find out which of these facts is, in fact, fake!

Through late 2014

Exhibit: Ormandy in China: The Historic 1973 Tour

Eugene Ormandy Gallery, Otto E. Albrecht Music Library, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, 4th Floor


September 8, 2014 - March 27, 2015

Exhibit: The School of Atha: Collaboration in the Making of Children's Books

Kamin Gallery, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, 1st Floor


December 8, 2014 through late 2016

Exhibit: "Let Every Heart Be Filled with Joy" - Philadelphia's Savoy Company

Eugene Ormandy Gallery, Otto E. Albrecht Music Library, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, 4th Floor


January 20, 2015 - February 27, 2015

Exhibit: The Great Emancipator and the Great Central Fair

Goldstein Family Gallery, Kislak Center, Van-Pelt Dietrich Library Center, 6th Floor


January 29, 2015

Event: The Great Emancipator and the Great Central Fair Opening Reception 

Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion, Kislak Center, Van-Pelt Dietrich Library Center, 6th Floor


On Permanent Display

Exhibit: Audobon's Birds of America

First Floor next to Information Desk, Van-Pelt Dietrich Library Center



To view more details and learn how you can attend Penn Libraries exhibits and events, click here.

1. TRUE. These collections, and many more, are available atArchives Unbound. Check out this post on the Annenberg School for Communication Library's blog for descriptions of other recent additions.

2. FALSE. The Penn Libraries has been providing this site license for several years, but this is the first year that the database discovery applications are available by online download rather than discs. In addition, the database is available off-campus, as well as on-campus, via a web portal. You can find information on how to access the database on the Libraries News blog.

3. TRUE. This and other - alternately scrumptious and ridiculous - recipes are part of the Victus Populi, a large collection of cookery pamphlets from throughout the 20th century that were given to the Libraries by Chef Fritz Blank. The recipe and an image can be found here.

4. TRUE. These mass-market books, never intended for long-term use, from the late Meiji through early Taisho periods are now available worldwide and preserved. For many years the volumes were not circulated, but now can be at the fingertips of members of the Penn community on campus and beyond. You can read more here


The discovery and settlement of the Americas is a history not often considered from a woman's perspective.  This fall, the Penn Libraries is proud to have acquired a unique collection of fiction from Penn alumna, Caroline Schimmel (CW'67), which captures, in women's words, their story of the settling of the American wilderness in North and South America and the Poles.


"Penn has shown itself to be a forward-thinking institution that truly understands the value of sharing these voices - the voices of women - that have been mostly silent in the story of the Americas," said Ms. Schimmel of the impetus for her gift. 


"Many historians denigrate the role of fiction, but I think this collection shows how this genre has been a unique teaching tool for how children and adults understand the settling of the American wilderness. The perception derived by Americans from these works of fiction is a valid historical point of view and one that I hope will be explored more broadly at Penn," Ms. Schimmel added. "I hope that I am only a small brick in the wall of women in the Americas, and hope that this gift will inspire other Penn women to collect women's histories of all kinds and donate those treasures to Penn."


Click here to read more about Ms. Schimmel and her collections.

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

This month's reading recommendation comes from David McKnight, Director of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library located in of the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.


David's recommendation to read:
O Pioneers! by Willa Cather


Why I recommend this book:

Recently, the Penn Libraries announced the acquisition of the Caroline F. Schimmel Fiction Collection of Women in the American Wilderness (see below for more information)The collection includes over six thousand volumes ranging in date from the mid-seventeenth century to the present and focuses geographically on the West, ranging from the Gulf of Mexico to the south and the Arctic Circle to the north.


My recommendation is a classic from the collection, O Pioneers! by Willa Cather (1873-1947). Cather was born in Virginia and moved with her family to Nebraska in 1883. Cather was educated at the University of Nebraska and aspired to pursue a career as a writer. O Pioneers! was Cather's second novel, published in 1913, and was the first installment of her Prairie Triology, which also included The Song of the Lark (1915) and My Antonia (1918).


O Pioneers! is set in fictional Norway Creek, Nebraska in the late 1880s and focuses on the history of the Bergsens, a Swedish émigré family. Cather's novel gives voice to the vast, untamed and unforgiving prairies, which possess a personality of their own. All the fictional settlers in the novel are immigrants from Scandinavia, Germany and Eastern Europe and are wrestling with drought, crop failure and economic hardship. But, as we learn in the novel, the families' hard work, imagination, persistence and faith allows them to build large, productive farms, and earn both respect and wealth.

The novel spans four decades and traces the evolution of the frontier into the early modern present, with telegraphs, railways, and telephones appearing in the latter half of the novel. But the most compelling aspect of the novel is the main character, Alexandra Bergsen, who represents the essence of the New Woman of the West: she is respectful of family, is intelligent and resourceful, and has a strong belief in the Divine. Cather's heroine succeeds where many men before have failed, yet she faces prejudice because she is a woman. The portrait of Alexandra alone is reason enough to read O Pioneers!; the novel's appeal is compounded by Cather's portrayal of the isolated, insular rural Swedish Community with its gossips and superstitions and, yet its strong national links to Sweden. 


Cather articulates conflict, jealousy and death with a realism that is sometimes haunting, but in the end Alexandra prevails. O Pioneers! ends on notes of hope of renewal, ultimately characterized to be like the land itself.


How you can read O Pioneers!:
Penn students and faculty can borrow O Pioneers! and related texts from the Penn Libraries with their Penn Card; copies are held at the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. Alumni and friends of the Penn Libraries can also borrow our books for a yearly membership fee. For information on how courtesy borrowers can access the Libraries' resources, click here.

There are a number of impactful ways in which you can contribute toward a bright future for the Penn Libraries.
The Orrery Society Fund
Your gift to the Orrery Society Fund makes an impact in the scale of learning and discovery at Penn, helping set the University apart as one of the world's most powerful education and research institutions. Information fuels the University's academic might, and the Penn Libraries are the information hub. The Orrery Society Fund helps maintain flourishing programs in acquisition, digitization and conservation which are crucial to the academic experience of everyone in the Penn community. Your support upholds the long-term vitality of information resources at Penn, from a freshman pushing the boundaries of scholarship to a faculty member striving for excellence in research. 

The Penn Libraries Fund
Your gift to the Penn Libraries Fund supports all the strategic goals of the Penn Libraries in alignment with the University's priorities in teaching, learning and research. Contributions to this fund help jump-start the beginnings of new partnerships and initiatives, and make it possible to enhance the Penn Libraries' collections and physical spaces. Your support enables a range of activities crucial to the evolution of the Libraries, including making needed acquisitions to ensure students have access to the information resources they want and need, and fostering inviting and engaging learning environments where students can collaborate and create new knowledge.

Your gift to any area of the Penn Libraries advances our rich cache of information resources and helps maintain our position as a one of America's top research libraries. Thank you for considering making your contribution today, and showing your support for the Libraries and the accomplishments that can be made with the assistance of friends like yourself.

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