Collecting for Asian American Studies is done through relevant subject funds rather than through a distinct Asian American Studies fund.  Ethnic studies of all sorts is a high priority for the Penn Libraries, and consequently it has a strong collection of material supporting Asian American Studies.  To supplement our local collection, BorrowDirect access to circulating collections held by Ivy+ Plus Libraries serves the essential purposes of filling gaps and providing second copies when Penn's are unavailable. 

The Library has also purchased a robust collection of electronic primary and secondary source resources to support research relating to Asian Americans.  Collection of Videos in either DVD or streaming format also has been and remains robust, especially in areas supporting faculty research interests.  Physical items supporting Africana Studies are mainly located in Van Pelt Library, but the Fisher Fine Arts Library and Museum Library have significant holdings relating to arts/design and anthropology, respectively.  

Special Collections

Local special collections relating to Asian Americans focus on their experience in Philadelphia.  For 25 years the Asian Arts Intitiative has been offering exhibitions, performances, artist residencies, youth workshops, and a community gathering space.  It holds archives relating to its history and activities.  Since 1987 the Philadelphia Folklore Initiative has documented the cultural lives of immigrant and minority groups in Philadelphia.  Its archives contain that documentation in print, photographs and video, and also hold information about the educational and practical efforts of the Initiative.  Temple's Urban Archives is Philadelphia's primary repository of local community, quasi-governmental, for-profit and non-profit records.  The Balch Collection at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania also holds an extensive collection of manuscripts and newspapers representing the experiences of Asian in America.

Specific collections held at the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts and the University of Pennsylvania University Archives are described below.

  • Albert Greenfield Intercultural Center Records (University Archives)
    The Albert M. Greenfield Intercultural Center Records document the activities of the Center during it’s first decade of existence under founding director Rene Gonzalez, particularly in relation to the cultural and ethnic student organizations on campus, and its efforts to promote diversity.
  • Painted Bride Art Center Records (Kislak Center)
    The Records of the Painted Bride Art Center at the University of Pennsylvania Library comprise the planning, development, and financial documents for its many programs and artists. The collection at large includes the records from the founding of the Painted Bride as a venue for Philadelphia artists in general, but not exclusively, to have a place to showcase their art. At the heart of this collection, however, are the performance records.

Selected Special Collections and Collections of Note

Doing Research