The University Archives is the place to learn Penn history and to do research in primary source materials related to the University.

Founded in 1945 as the University's official permanent repository for historically significant documents and other materials that reflect the University's origins as well as the development and the activities and achievements of its officers, staff, faculty, students, alumni, and benefactors. University Archives holdings deal with history of the University of Pennsylvania and of prominent persons associated with the University and also with the history of institutions of higher learning in the United States, American intellectual life, and the Philadelphia community in which the University lives.

The University Archives strives to ensure the timeless preservation of these historically significant materials and to make these materials available to researchers. The University Archives is open to the University community and the scholarly public.



At the University Archives, researchers may find collections of primary documents containing more than:

  • 14,000 cubic feet of paper archives and manuscripts
  • 35,000 images, photographs, drawings, prints, and other visual materials
  • 150 cubic feet of memorabilia and other objects.

Most collection guides and many primary documents are accessible on-line.



Online features provide context for the institutions, activities, campuses, and people so important in Penn's history since its founding in 1749. Onsite researchers may also consult over 2,500 volumes and 450 current and retrospective titles related to Penn history.