>> Special Collections Department

Special Collections Department

The Paul J. Gutman Library maintains separate collections in certain specialized subject areas.

Current Holdings

Textile Industry Historical Collection

  • Textile Books, Manuscripts and Ephemera
  • Victorian Trade Cards advertising Textile Products
  • Textile Company Histories and Catalogues
  • 19th Century Historic Textile Journals

Philadelphia Collection

  • Centennial Exhibition 1876 - period publications
  • Historic Postcards of the changing Built Environment


  • Archive of his 30 years in the Senate (1980 to 2010).


    Description of Collections

    Textile Industry Historical Collection

    The Textile Historical Collection is comprised of material related to the development of the textile industry in the United States

    Picture of Textile Factory

    This collection contains a full range of materials documenting the social, technological and economic vicissitudes of the American textile industry.  Presently, over 5,000 volumes, ranging from 18th century European texts on dyeing to contemporary doctoral theses on textile history, are included in this collection.  Over 100 journal titles, published before 1945, are held; of this number, over 30 titles include issues published before 1900. The Library actively pursues original manuscript documents relating to the history of textiles.  These papers include business records of over 20 different companies and the personal papers of at least 30 individuals important in the development of the textile industry.  There is also a separate collection of over 300 volumes of textile company histories.  The acquisition of textile related ephemera; for example, trade cards, letterheads, advertising material, posters, handbills, and photographs is also an ongoing activity.

    While the main focus of the collection is the American textile industry, holdings of material published in other countries is substantial. Contemporary English publications on the history of the British textile industry are purchased and in many instances only held by our library in this country. This is particularly true of British textile company histories, which are often privately published by the company. Also noteworthy is the extensive amount of late 19th century material available on the French textile industry. Over 200 volumes and a large number of French textile machinery catalogs are included in the collection.

    Over 500 trade catalogs for all types of textile machinery are held. Along with this industry material is a group of over 1000 dyeing catalogs from various United States dyestuff companies. Although, the emphasis of the collection is given to material relating to the production of fabric; the collection is also well represented in the areas of design and apparel. Highpoints include: a French counter-book of the 1800's, a number of shirting catalogs from the late 1800's, a manufacturer's display kit of baseball uniforms from the 1930's, original fashion drawings with fabric swatches from the 1940's and long runs of specialized fashion magazines.

     Digital Collections

    Victorian Trade Cards related to Textile Industry in Philadelphia are actively sought by the Special Collections Department. These advertising cards were a primary marketing tool in the later part of the 19th century.  Due to the high quality of design and abundant use of color, many individuals, at the time, actively collected these marketing giveaways. Beside being eye catching, in many instances, valuable information regarding products products and production techniques were included on these cards.

    For a time, starting in the early 20th century post cards were a popular means of daily communication and a memento of recreational activities. Many post cards were adorned with images of local buildings and scenery. The Special Collections Department has acquired a number of these cards and through electronic reproduction provides access to these images.  This collection provides our students and the general  community with a visual history of change in Philadelphia.


    The Arlen Specter Center for Public Policy fosters greater understanding of political science, government and history through research, educational programming, and exhibits inspired by Senator Arlen Specter’s career and reflected in the permanent collection of the Senator’s historic papers.

    University Archives

    The Archives are intended for the use of University community. The contents consists of  material relating to the history of the school since its founding in 1884.

    Picture of University Building

    circa 1890, Textile School, Philadelphia.

    Types of Publications

    • Complete set of School Yearbooks.
    • Complete set of School catalogues.
    • Complete run of all alumni publications.
    • Class notes both by students and faculty.
    • Minutes of the Broad of Trustee Meetings.
    • Annual Reports of the School and Departments.

    An appointment must be made with the School Archivist, Stan Gorski, at gorskis@philau.edu, for access to this material.

    Online Collections

    Architectural History of School Buildings

    Images and information on the history of each building presently owned by the University.  Included is material related to the various land purchases that have been made by the University.

    History of Philadelphia University

    A chronological history of the University is available with images; this presentation shows the physical and educational development of the institution since its founding in 1884.

Digital Collections


For Access to Special Collection materials, contact

  • Stan Gorski

  • Head of the Special Collections Department

  • gorskis@philau.edu

  • Phone.215.951.2581

CONTACTCirculation Desk Phone: 215.951.2840Reference Desk Phone: 215.951.2848MORE