The current exhibition in the library’s Gateway highlights significant people and events in the history of Biddle Law Library.
“Great libraries are essential resources of great universities.”
-Claire Fagin, Former Interim President of the University of Pennsylvania
The Biddle Law Library was originally known as the Biddle Memorial Library after the death of George Biddle on April 6, 1886.
George Biddle was the eldest son of George Washington Biddle who was considered one of Philadelphia’s most influential lawyers of his time and counsel to the University of Pennsylvania in the 1880s. George Washington Biddle’s donation of his large private collection of books to the university in memory of his son was the catalyst for Penn Law’s first library.
In 1910, Biddle Law librarian, Margaret Center Klingelsmith, traveled to Europe on a mission to purchase books in order to broaden the library’s collection and support for faculty and students. This influential trip and Klingelsmith’s leadership marked a departure from Biddle’s past as a small repository and opened the door for the Biddle Law Library as we know it today.
From its beginnings as a private collection and through the historic efforts of Margaret Center Klingelsmith, the Biddle Law Library has grown into one of the most robust law libraries in the world.
The collections have continued to grow with specific strengths in the areas of American primary sources and secondary sources, federal legislative histories, foreign and international law, digital collections, and archives.
As technology continues to expand the limits of information access and delivery, so too, do the services of the Biddle Law Library to meet the needs of the law school’s students, faculty, and staff.
This display of rare books, archives, and current collections will be in the Biddle Gateway until the end of summer. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.