The University of Pennsylvania possesses the largest collection of Sanskrit and vernacular Indian languages in the Western hemisphere. In 2014, UPenn was awarded a three-year Preservation and Access Grant (PW-51547-15) from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), entitled “Providing Global Access to Penn’s Indic Manuscripts.” The project was completed in 2017, within the scheduled three-year period for the award. The original terms of the grant stipulated that staff at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (now absorbed by the Kislak Center) at Penn Libraries was to catalog, rehouse and digitize its Indic manuscript collection, building on efforts from previous years. The collection highlights Penn’s historical commitment to traditional Sanskrit studies and also includes a broad range of vernacular sources including Pali, Prakrit, Hindi, Awadhi, Bengali Marathi, Gujarati, Marwari, Persian, Tamil, and Telugu. In this article I outline some of the recent history leading up to the NEH project, including my own involvement as project cataloger and collection consultant. I will then give an overview of the project and highlight some of its scope, content, and significance. Finally, I will consider some possibilities for promoting the collection in the future.
Fleming, Benjamin J.
"Digitizing Penn’s Indic Manuscripts,"
Manuscript Studies: Vol. 3:
2, Article 9.
Available at: https://repository.upenn.edu/mss_sims/vol3/iss2/9