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Holy Land Collections

Penn's libraries are home to a wide range of special and general collections related to the Holy Land.

Dramatic view of Jerusalem looking toward the Mosque of Omar / Temple Mount.

Collection Overview

This collection includes primary sources such as rare manuscripts, early modern printed books, travelogues, early photographs and printed postcards, engraved and hand-illustrated maps and atlases, original archeological artifacts, field reports, and extensive circulating secondary sources. Among the most important are the Lenkin Collection of Photography, which consists of over 5,000 early photographs of the Holy Land, dating from 1850-1937 and the Paola and Bertrand Lazard Holy Land Print collections, including hundreds of early printed books, postcards, maps, drawings, and watercolors. Recent acquisitions include the Moldovan Family Digital Holy Land Map Collection and the Zucker Holy Land Travel Manuscript. Related materials at Penn are found in the University of Pennsylvania Museum's rich collection of early photographs, including nearly 1,500 original Maison Bonfils photographs, as well as in the Museum's historical records and field reports of archeological excavations at places like Bet Shean in Israel.

The Penn Libraries' Holy Land Collections are located on campus at the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, the Museum Library and the Library at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, which is home to the historic Holy Land collections assembled at the Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning. The Katz Center is a global leader in the study of Jewish civilization, supporting a fellowship program that attracts scholars in Jewish studies from around the world for research on a common annual theme.


Photo showing a group of Bedouins in front of one of their homes.
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L. Fiorillo (fl. 1870-1889). A group of Bedouins. The shadow of the photographer appears in the photograph.

Photo showing scaffolding for the dome with nearby structures in the foreground.
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Peter Bergheim. Building the dome over the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. 1868.
Photo of workers silhouetted against the sky, balancing wheat on their heads as they walk across a wall of bags of wheat.
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Zoltán Kluger. Loading of wheat in the Emek. Jerusalem, 1938

Dramatic view of Jerusalem looking toward the Mosque of Omar / Temple Mount.
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Mosque Of Omar / Temple Mount. Album title is in Hebrew and Arabic.