January 26, 2022

Penn Libraries to Launch New Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies with $20 Million Manuscript Collection Gift

From an Announcement:

The Penn Libraries have received a major collection of 280 Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts, valued at over $20 million, from long-time benefactors and Library Board members Lawrence J. Schoenberg (C’53, WG’57, PAR’93) and Barbara Brizdle Schoenberg. To promote the use of this and other manuscript collections at Penn, the Libraries will create the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies.

“We’re enormously grateful to Larry and Barbara for this gift that is sure to attract scholars from across disciplines and from around the world.”

“Through their extraordinary philanthropy and vision, Larry and Barbara have helped build the foundation for a strong medieval studies program at Penn,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “This new gift of an unparalleled collection of Medieval and Renaissance artifacts builds on that foundation. For generations to come, the collection and Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies will have a profound impact on the study of human knowledge and creative invention.”


A principal reason behind the Schoenbergs’ decision to donate their collection to Penn was the Libraries’ reputation for providing digital access to rare materials and for supporting the hands-on use of primary sources in research and teaching. In response to this gift, the Penn Libraries will create the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies. Through collaboration with faculty and scholars, and led by a future Schoenberg Curator, the Institute’s mission will be to promote the active use of manuscripts in the Schoenberg Collection and in Penn’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, and the Penniman-Gribbel Collection of Sanskrit Manuscripts. The Schoenberg Institute and Collection, and the Special Collections Center currently under construction at Penn, reflect the Libraries’ support of collaborative humanities research and a strategic decision to leverage historical collection strengths by investing heavily in the area of the study of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts.

The gift of the Schoenberg Collection to the Libraries represents a high point in years of philanthropy and counsel by the Schoenbergs. Previous financial and material gifts include support for the creation of the Libraries’ Digital Humanities presence through the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image (SCETI); the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts, which tracks manuscript sales and provenance; as well as the annual Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscripts in the Digital Age; and the Lawrence J. Schoenberg & Barbara Brizdle Manuscript Initiative, established in 2006 to support the acquisition of manuscripts, preferably produced before 1601.

Read the Complete Announcement

See Also: Other Gifts from the Schoenberg’s Have Funded:

+ Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image (SCETI)

+ Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.