African American Literature (General Collections)

The Library collects contemporary works by African-American authors in all formats and genres, including genre fiction (science fiction, fantasy, detective novels, thrillers, etc.), novels, play scripts, comic books and graphic novels. Musical recordings, television shows, feature films, and documentaries by and featuring African Americans are also well represented.

Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture


One of the most popular and actively researched sub-genres today is Afrofuturism, and our collection is strong and growing.

American Poetry Review Records

Founded in 1972 and still in publication, The American Poetry Review publishes contemporary poetry and literary prose.

Gloria Goddard, Four Seek Love, 1949, dust jacket

Banned Books Collection

The Banned Books Collection includes 210 titles printed in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s that were banned from sale and condemned by authorities for their sexual content. All are in their original dust jackets. A number of American presses, notably the Jack Woodford Press, are represented. The collection provides a useful window into U.S. underground publishing and book marketing in the mid-twentieth century.

Image of Winkfield, Female American (Vermont 1814), Schimmel Fiction 4974.jpg

Caroline F. Schimmel Fiction Collection of Women in the American Wilderness

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.

Title page for The perfidious P--- : being letters from a nobleman to two ladies.

Collection of British and American Fiction, 1660-1830

The University of Pennsylvania Libraries' Collection of British and American Fiction comprises over 3,000 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 20th century.

Engraving of Edwin Forrest.

Edwin Forrest Library and Collection

The Edwin Forrest collection documents the career of Forrest (1806-1872), a major nineteenth-century American actor, noted for his Shakespearean roles. Originally housed in the Edwin Forrest Home in Philadelphia, the Forrest Library includes over three thousand titles dating from the sixteenth through the early twentieth centuries.