Penn Libraries has a substantive Indo-Caribbean collection that strives to reveal histories, communities, and cultural expressions that have remained underrepresented in most research libraries.
Penn Libraries’ collections reflect the dynamism of migrations, movements, transnational communities, and multifaceted identities within our increasingly interconnected world. Blurring the boundaries of geopolitical borders, we strive to highlight diasporic groups, peoples from liminal regions, and multi-cultural exchange. Materials such as global Judaica, postcards from the Indo-Caribbean, Kurdish storytelling, and documents from imperial Japan, for instance, underscore the transnational complexities of the modern age. Additionally, an emphasis on activism foregrounds global movements related to ethnic minorities, LGBTQIA+ rights, disability studies, and refugee advocacy. Documenting and preserving more diverse experiences and complex histories contributes to richer, more representative research and learning at Penn.
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.
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.
Renowned artist, writer, storyteller, children's book creator, and humanitarian Ashley Bryan created thousands of drawings, paintings, collages, and linoleum block prints over the course of his long and productive life. His archive, containing hundreds of original works documenting his career, was donated to the University of Pennsylvania Libraries in 2019.
The Penn Libraries South Asian Collection contains a notable collection of Dalit literature.
The East Asia Comics Collection embodies the Libraries’ strategic priorities to collect and preserve global voices, and to make accessible materials related to borders and belonging.
Penn Libraries’ collection of Indigenous children’s literature from Latin America is modest but notable.