The core of the Penn Libraries’ outstanding linguistics collection is the library of August Friedrich Pott (1802-1887), professor of general and comparative linguistics at the University of Halle and first librarian of the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft.
This collection of approximately 18,000 items includes books and periodicals on German literature, linguistics, philology, folklore, and related disciplines. Materials date from the 15th through the 19th centuries. The Bechstein Library was acquired by the University of Pennsylvania in 1896.
The Caroline F. Schimmel Fiction Collection of Women in the American Wilderness comprises over 6,000 works of fiction by women writers, including novels, short stories, poetry, works by Native American authors, travel writings, narratives of polar expeditions, captivity narratives, and works for children. The Collection was donated in 2014 to the Penn Libraries by Penn alumna Caroline Schimmel (CW’67) and has been augmented by subsequent gifts.
Significant examples of Benjamin Franklin's work as a Philadelphia printer are preserved in the Curtis Collection, donated by the Curtis Publishing Company in 1920 and containing more than 300 titles printed by Franklin and his associates between 1719 and 1786.
The Robert Dechert Collection includes over 1600 printed books focusing on American travel, exploration, and Native American relations with settlers. Materials date from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. French Americana and the writings of Las Casas are particular strengths of the collection. A Dechert fund supports ongoing acquisitions.