New BiblioPhilly interface, powered by the Penn Libraries -- click to reach the site

The new interface to PACSCL’s online archive of manuscripts. Click the image to reach the site.

NOTICE: THE UNDERLYING INTERFACE WILL BE OFFLINE DECEMBER 26-JANUARY 1. Some metadata on the interface may be searchable, but the images will not be available. Researchers are recommended to download manuscript images prior to December 26. Instructions for downloading bulk images are here.

Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis is proud to announce the new interface to the hundreds of manuscripts now online. Click the image to the right to reach the site.

Launched during the Penn Libraries’ eleventh annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age (November 15-17, 2018), the new interface offers faceted searching (by book type, century, holding institution, and more), a page-turning interface, collation diagrams, download capabilities, and more.

New manuscripts are being added regularly. When the project is completed, in spring 2019, it will include approximately 475 manuscripts and 1,000 leaves. The project was organized by the Free Library of Philadelphia, Lehigh University, and the Penn Libraries and involves a total of sixteen institutions.

The interface is powered by OPenn, the Penn Libraries’ open access digital repository. Users who want to download images and metadata for an entire manuscript, or group of manuscripts, can do so at OPenn via ftp or rsynch. As Dot Porter, one of the drivers of this interface, noted on Twitter recently, “This is just one possible interface. The data is in the public domain and anyone can access it (yes, this means you!) on OPenn.”

Browse and enjoy the new interface and to download entire collections on OPenn from these links:


Council on Library and Information Resources Logo

The Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis project, which involves sixteen PACSCL partners, has been funded by a generous grant from the Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives initiative of the Council for Library and Information Resources.

The PACSCL Board of Directors recently accepted the membership application of the John J. Wilcox, Jr. Archives of the William Way LGBT Community Center, welcoming the organization as its thirty-ninth member.

“Philadelphia has been a city of firsts in the struggle for equal rights for LGBT individuals, and the John J. Wilcox, Jr. Archives has been instrumental in documenting these efforts.” observed PACSCL board chair Ronald Brashear (Science History Institute), in announcing the Board’s decision. Current PACSCL members, including the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and Temple University, also have collections that complement those of the Archives.

“The John J. Wilcox, Jr. Archives is Philadelphia’s most extensive collection of personal papers, organizational records, periodicals, audiovisual material, and ephemera documenting the rich history of the area’s LGBT community,” said John Anderies, Director of the Archives, whose mission is to collect, describe, interpret, and provide access to publications, personal papers, organizational and business records, audiovisual materials, and ephemera created by, dealing with, or of special interest to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals. “Our collections include materials from around the world, but preference is given to items that document the lives of sexual minorities in Delaware, New Jersey, and Eastern Pennsylvania.”

The Archives serves a broad range of users, including the LGBT community of Philadelphia and  the Delaware Valley, scholars/researchers from around the world, activists and artists, students from area K-12 schools, undergraduate and graduate students, teachers at area schools, local history researchers, journalists, writers, and documentarians, and William Way LGBT Community Center staff.

Topics represented in the collections include LGBT history and culture, generally; LGBT history in the City of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, specifically; the homophile and early LGBT rights movements; feminism and feminist organizations; and HIV/AIDS and its impact on the local LGBT community. The primary formats collected include manuscripts, printed texts, photographs, graphics, artifacts and objects, textiles, audiovisual materials, artworks, and born-digital materials. The time period of the collection ranges from the 1920s to present, with heaviest emphasis from the 1960s on. The collection is approximately 800 linear feet and growing.

The Archives makes use of ArchivesSpace as an archival management and access system ( and have recently launched an Islandora-based digital repository ( The Archives mounts between 3-4 material exhibitions each year in the Archives Gallery located in the lobby of the Center. Its online exhibit, “Speaking Out For Equality,” is based on the groundbreaking exhibit the Archives mounted at the National Constitution Center in 2014-2015 ( A second traveling version of “Speaking Out For Equality” was mounted in collaboration with the Independence National Historical Park at the Liberty Bell Center during the summer of 2018.
The Archives are open to all by appointment during the general operating hours of the William Way LGBT Community Center ( Monday-Friday, 11 am – 10 pm; Saturday-Sunday, 12 pm – 5 pm).