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Pennsylvania State University Libraries

Library Overview

The Special Collections Library of the Pennsylvania State University Libraries contains a large quantity of primary source material in many formats. Reflecting its geographical location in the center of Pennsylvania, there is a strong concentration of Pennsylvania German printing, extensive Amish and Mennonite materials, and German literature in translation (the Allison-Shelley Collection); Pennsylvania Railroad materials and historical records of other lines in Pennsylvania; documents and periodicals of labor unions, including those of the United Mineworkers, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, photoengravers, and full-fashion hosiery workers, among others, as well as the comprehensive international archives of the United Steelworkers of America. There are also Pennsylvania county histories, atlases, and regimental histories.

In addition, there is a large collection of emblem books, English literature, and a very strong collection of utopian literature in a variety of languages. There are also important collections of the personal papers of the writer John O'Hara, an extensive collection of the literary critic and philosopher of language, Kenneth Burke, a cache of family correspondence of Ernest Hemingway, and the papers of Conrad Richter.

There has also been an ongoing effort to re-form the 18th-century Williamscote Library, originally gathered by several members of the Loveday family and their descendants in Caversham near Banbury. There are now nearly 3,000 volumes, hundreds of pamphlets, and about 30 manuscript volumes.

The extensive holdings of the University Archives include papers of Fred Waring, a grandson of a founder of Penn State, containing correspondence, recordings of radio and television programs, as well as music by the Pennsylvanians, scrapbooks, and 20,000 photographs. The University Archives also has strong holdings on nuclear engineering, art education, athletics, and campus publications.

For the numerically minded, there are some 130, 000 volumes, 26,500 cubic feet of manuscript and archival material, 23,000 films and videos, several thousand maps, including Sanborn maps of Pennsylvania communities, and hundreds of thousands of photographs.

Pennsylvania State University
Special Collections Library
Room 104
Paterno Library
University Park, Pennsylvania
(814) 865-1793 (t)
(814) 863-5318 (f)