This article was originally published in the Almanac, 04/05/2016. It can be viewed here in its original form. 

The Penn Libraries is excited to announce the debut of the online home for their Holy Land Collections. The Holy Land Collections website features a wide range of special and general collections related to the Holy Land, including rare manuscripts, original archaeological artifacts, engraved maps and many other fascinating primary and secondary source materials.

Among the most important collections in the series is the Lenkin Family Collection of Photography. This collection, purchased in 2009 with a generous donation from Edward J. Lenkin, C’71, PAR’12, consists of over 5,000 early photographs of the Holy Land dating from 1850 to 1937. These photographs serve as primary source materials for teaching and research across a broad spectrum of disciplines, including the history of photography, architecture, regional planning, religious studies, history and political science. The rich images in the collection provide glimpses of the early landscape, architecture and history of Palestine, allowing viewers to transport themselves to a time before the state of Israel was founded.

The Lenkin Family Collection of Photography also includes 813 additional photo-reproductions, a reference library of nearly 100 secondary sources, and an extensive archive of notes and documents. Among the photographs are dozens of images of the Western Wall and stunning panoramas of Jerusalem as seen from the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus.

The Libraries’ Holy Land Collections also include 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.

This project was made possible through the leadership of Vice Provost and Director of the Penn Libraries Carton Rogers, an ongoing partnership with the National Library of Israel and its Director General, Oren Weinberg, who supported the digitization of the entire Lenkin Family Collection; and the invaluable vision and advice of Dean of the Faculty of the Humanities and Vigevani Professor of European Studies at the Hebrew University, Dror Wahrman.

Kislak Center digitization specialist, Dennis Mullen; digital photographer, Ardon Bar Hama; and devoted Penn Libraries’ volunteer and cataloger, Louise Strauss, C ’82, were also integral partners to the project.

Explore the Holy Land Collections at: