OPenn: website with complete sets of high-resolution archival images of manuscripts from the University of Pennsylvania Libraries and other institutions

OPenn contains complete sets of high-resolution archival images of cultural heritage material from the collections of its contributing institutions, along with machine-readable descriptive and technical metadata. All materials on OPenn are in the public domain or released under Creative Commons licenses as Free Cultural Works. Please see specific repository pages and documents for applicable license terms.

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OPenn: Curated collections
  • Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis
    This collection, when completed, will include digital editions of more than 400 western European medieval and early modern codices, plus selected leaves and cuttings, from the collections of Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) member libraries. This collections is funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources.
  • Cairo Genizah
    In the late 1990s, thanks to a significant gift from a Penn alum named Jeffrey Keil, W’ 65 and PAR ’91, Penn initiated a project, in collaboration with Cambridge University Libraries, to apply digital technologies to discover new intellectual matches among physically dispersed Cario genizah fragments. Through this initiative it was demonstrated how digital technologies may serve as discovery tools to identify matches among a global diaspora of thousands of fragments of medieval manuscripts (see: This collection of Cairo genizah fragments consists of Penn manuscripts that were part of this project.
  • Collection of Indic Manuscripts
    Penn Libraries holds more than 3,000 manuscripts from South Asia, making it one of the largest collections of its kind in the Americas. Predominantly Indic in provenance, the manuscripts are chiefly Sanskrit works written in Devanāgarī script. Though generally informed by traditional Hindu learning, the collection nevertheless remains thematically comprehensive and contains significant Buddhist and Jain texts.
  • Digitizing Philadelphia’s Historic Congregations
    The churches and synagogues of Philadelphia were gathering places in the 18th and 19th centuries and their records reflect the changing political, social and cultural mores. More than 40,000 scanned images from vestry and trustee minutes, baptismal, birth, marriage and death records, pew rents, accounting records, sermons and correspondence gives researchers opportunities to explore these connections. Collaborating institutions include Christ Church, St. George’s Methodist Church, Gloria Dei, Mikveh Israel, African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania Archives, Presbyterian Historical Society, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and American Baptist Historical Society. This project is funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources.
  • For the Health of the New Nation: Philadelphia as the Center of American Medical Education, 1746-1868
    This initiative will digitize, describe, an provide access to 140,000 pages of lecture tickets, course schedules, theses, dissertations, student notes, faculty lecture notes, commencement addresses, opening addresses, and matriculation records from Philadelphia, 1746-1868. The project will emphasize not only the voices of the medical greats, but also the often unheard voices of students and others. Project parters for this initiative are The College of Physicians of Philadelphia; The Legacy Center, Drexel University College of Medicine; University of Pennsylvania Libraries; Pennsylvania Hospital Historic Collections; The Library Company of Philadelphia; American Philosophical Society; Thomas Jefferson University Archives and Special Collections; and Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL).
  • Jay I. Kislak Digital Library of the Americas
    Over the course of many decades, Jay I. Kislak (1922-2018) built a collection of primary source material – rare books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, and artifacts that convey the multifaceted history of the Americas, hemispheric cultural encounters, and global exploration beginning with Native American cultures and extending to modern times. In 2004, the Jay I. Kislak Foundation donated more than 3,000 items from this collection to the Library of Congress where they are available for scholarly research. Beginning in 2016 the Kislak Foundation, in partnership with the University of Miami and Miami Dade College, established a Kislak Center on each campus along with a gift of 2,500 books, manuscripts, and historic objects. The Kislak-MDC-UM partnership includes exhibitions, research, education, and public outreach programs that will serve MDC and UM students and faculty, the local communicty, and a global network of engaged scholars. The Jay I. Kislak Digital Library of the Americas aims to unite the materials from all of these institutions to tell a compelling story about early American history and culture.
  • Manuscripts of the Muslim World
    This collection will include digital editions of more than 500 manuscripts and 827 paintings from the Islamicate world broadly construed. Together these holdings represent in great breadth the flourishing intellectual and cultural heritage of Muslim lands from 1000 to 1900, covering mathematics, astrology, history, law, literature, as well as the Qur’an and Hadith. The bulk of the collection consists of manuscripts in Arabic and Persian, along with examples of Coptic, Samaritan, Syriac, Turkish, and Berber. The primary partners are Columbia University, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the University of Pennsylvania with signifiant contributions from Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College. This collection is funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources.
  • PACSCL Diaries
    The PACSCL Diaries Project will allow researchers an intimate view into a wide variety of personalities, largely from Philadelphia, as they went about their daily lives and commented on the world around them. The project will ultimately provide an online archive of diaries drawn from PACSCL member collections. OPenn currently hosts a pilot group of 53 diary volumes.

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