The Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) is the principal repository for and steward of Temple University Libraries’ rare books, manuscripts, archives and University records. We collect, preserve, and make accessible primary resources and rare or unique materials, so as to stimulate, enrich, and support research, teaching, learning, and administration at Temple University and beyond.
First time visitors should create an SCRC Researcher Account. To do that follow this link and click on either “Temple University Affiliates” or "Non-Temple Affilates." You’ll need this account in order to request materials for your own research in the future.
Below are selected resources that are available for research in the Special Collections Research Center. It is by no means exhaustive and there are a variety of other possibilities.
Each link goes to the “Finding Aid”, or guide to the collection of records and documents. Here you will find more information about each collection, including a history of the organization or individual who created the materials, as well as notes on the scope, content, type of materials that can be found in the collection (manuscript materials, official documents, photographs, scrapbooks, etc).
What you won’t find is actual digitized content. These guides are just the starting point to access the materials. You will have to come into the SCRC reading room in person to view the materials.
Before you come in you will have to register by creating an SCRC Researcher Account. With this account you can request for us to pull materials for you to view in the reading room.
Established in 1967, Temple University’s Urban Archives documents the social, economic, political, and physical development of the greater Philadelphia region throughout the 19th, 20th, and 21stcenturies. Resources housed in the Urban Archives, now a part of the Special Collections Research Center, document the development of an urban region through a wide variety of organization records including local businesses. Two relevant collections are:
Friends Neighborhood Guild Records
The records of a settlement house in the East Poplar section of Philadelphia, where generations of immigrants from all over the world have used the services provided by this organization.
Nationalities Service Center Records
The Nationalities Service Center is a non-profit agency that provides information and guidance to immigrants, refugees and other non-English speaking peoples who have come to reside in the United States. Services provided by the agency include counseling to individuals and families in matters, areas of housing, education, employment immigration and naturalization matters, interpreter services, English classes, and intergroup services incorporating various nationality and ethnic programs. These programs and activities are aimed at helping new immigrants to bridge gap and thus make it easier for them adapt to their new environment. The Center also aims at promoting and conserving the cultural values of various ethnic groups for the enrichment of American life.
Newspaper Clippings and Photographs
Philadelphia Evening Bulletin (photographs and clippings) and the Philadelphia Inquirer (photographs and clippings) are great resources for getting up to speed on how a particular topic was covered in the popular press at the time. You can search by subject (“Puerto Ricans” or “Germantown”) or personal names, ("Frank Rizzo.")
For a tutorial on how to request news clippings and photographs see this link.
The Special Collections Research Center contains several pamphlet collections. These consist of published and unpublished materials dealing with Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.
The Urban Archives Pamphlet Collection contains approximately 10,000 items filed in document boxes and assigned a box/item location number. A guide to this collection can be found here.
Digitized photographs from our collections can be found here. The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin Photographs, the Housing Association of The Delaware Valley Photographs, the City Parks Association Photographs are good starting places for historical photographs of Philadelphia and the surrounding region.
Secondary Sources and Non-Temple Materials
For help locating secondary sources, search terms, or subject headings, I recommend contacting your History subject specialist, Rebecca Lloyd.