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Alumni Services: E-Resources


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The Penn Libraries are pleased to provide University Alumni from degree granting programs with access to a suite of library-licensed e-resources for personal, non-commercial use.  All users are expected to abide by University policies regarding acceptable use. An Alumni PennKey is required in order to access these resources, Current faculty, students and staff do not have access to these resources and are encouraged to use our full suite of academic research materials.

Alumni who visit campus are welcome to access the library's full suite of subscription electronic resources within library buildings. Details and restrictions may be found here.

If you already have a PennKey and know your password, click on the desired resource below and you will be prompted to authenticate. 

Newly created PennKeys enter the Penn Library's authentication system the following business day, so there may be a 24 to 48 hour delay in activation.

Available Resources

Adam Matthew Resources

  • American Consumer Culture - Provides a unique insight into the American consumer boom of the mid-20th century through access to the market research reports and supporting documents of Ernest Dichter; the era’s foremost consumer analyst and market research pioneer.
  • Archives Direct - Archives Direct is a suite of collections sourced from The National Archives, Kew, the official archive of the United Kingdom. Containing diplomatic correspondence, letters, reports, surveys, material from newspapers, statistical analyses, published pamphlets, ephemera, military papers, profiles of prominent individuals, maps and many other types of document, it consists of the history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries from the British state’s point of view.
    • Apartheid South Africa 1948-1980 - makes available British government files from the Foreign, Colonial, Dominion and Foreign and Commonwealth Offices spanning the period 1948 to 1980.
    • Confidential Print: Africa 1834-1966 - The documents in Confidential Print: Africa begin with coastal trading in the early nineteenth century and the Conference of Berlin of 1884 and the subsequent Scramble for Africa. They then follow the abuses of the Congo Free State, fights against tropical disease, Italy’s defeat by the Abyssinians, World War II, apartheid in South Africa and colonial moves towards independence. Together they cover the whole of the modern period of European colonisation of the continent from the British Government’s perspective.
    • Confidential Print: Latin America 1833 - 1969 - This collection consists of the Confidential Print for Central and South America and the French- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Topics covered include slavery and the slave trade, immigration, relations with indigenous peoples, wars and territorial disputes, the fall of the Brazilian monarchy, British business and financial interests, industrial development, the building of the Panama Canal, and the rise to power of populist rulers such as Perón in Argentina and Vargas in Brazil.
    • Confidential Print: Middle East 1839-1969 - This collection consists of the Confidential Print for the countries of the Levant and the Arabian peninsula, Iran, Turkey, Egypt and Sudan. Beginning with the Egyptian reforms of Muhammad Ali Pasha in the 1830s, the documents trace the events of the following 150 years, including the Middle East Conference of 1921, the mandates for Palestine and Mesopotamia, the partition of Palestine, the 1956 Suez Crisis and post-Suez Western foreign policy, and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
    • Foreign Office Files for China 1919-1980 - Due to the long-unique nature of the relationship between Britain and China, these formerly restricted British government documents, consisting of diplomatic dispatches, letters, newspaper cuttings, maps, reports of court cases, biographies of leading personalities, summaries of events and diverse other materials, provide unprecedented levels of detail into one of the most turbulent centuries of Chinese history.
    • Foreign Office files for India, Pakistan and Afghanistan 1947-1980 - consists of the complete run of documents in the series DO 133, DO 134 and FCO 37, as well as all documents covering the Indian subcontinent in the FO 371 series. Events covered include independence and partition, the Indian annexation of Hyderabad and Goa, war between India and Pakistan, tensions and war between India and China, the consolidation of power of the Congress Party in India, military rule in Pakistan, the turbulent independence of Bangladesh and the development of nuclear weapons in the region.
  • Church Missionary Society - From its roots as an Anglican evangelical movement driven by lay persons, this resource encompasses publications from the CMS, the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society and the latterly integrated South American Missionary Society. Documenting missionary work from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century, the periodicals include news, journals and reports offering a unique perspective on global history and cultural encounters.
  • Colonial America - will make available all 1,450 volumes of the CO 5 series from The National Archives, UK, covering the period 1606 to 1822. CO 5 consists of the original correspondence between the British government and the governments of the American colonies.
  • Defining Gender - explores the study and analysis of gender, leisure and consumer culture; one of the most vibrant areas of social, cultural and intellectual research, transcending traditional disciplinary boundaries.
  • Eighteenth Century Journals - brings together rare journals printed between c1685 and 1835, illuminating all aspects of eighteenth-century social, political and literary life.  Many are ephemeral, lasting only for a handful of issues, others run for several years. Topics covered are extremely wide-ranging and include: colonial life; provincial and rural affairs; the French and American revolutions; reviews of literature and fashion throughout Europe; political debates; and London coffee house gossip and discussion.
  • Empire Online - brings together manuscript, printed and visual primary source materials for the study of 'Empire' and its theories, practices and consequences. The materials span across the last five centuries and are accompanied by a host of secondary learning resources including scholarly essays, maps and an interactive chronology.
  • First World War - showcases a wealth of primary source material for the study of the Great War, complemented by a range of contextual secondary features. Modules include: Personal Experiences, Propaganda and Recruitment, and Visual Perspectives and Narratives.
  • Food and Drink in History - From feast to famine, explore five centuries of primary source material documenting the story of food and drink throughout history. The materials in this collection illustrate the deep links between food and identity, politics and power, gender, race and socio-economic status, as well as charting key issues around agriculture, nutrition and food production.
  • Global Commodities - brings together manuscript, printed and visual primary source materials for the study of global commodities in world history. The commodities featured in this resource have been transported, exchanged and consumed around the world for hundreds of years. They helped transform societies, global trading operations, habits of consumption and social practices.
  • India, Raj and Empire - This collection drawn from the National Library of Scotland consists of documents relating to Indian history from the foundation of the East India Company in 1615 to the granting of independence for India and Pakistan in 1947.
  • Jewish Life in America - This database provides online access to digital images of collections from the American Jewish Historical Society in New York. The materials included are letters, scrapbooks, autobiographies and notebooks, as well as supplementary resources selected to support the collections.
  • Medieval Family Life - Provides online access to the Paston, Cely, Plumpton, Stonor and Armburgh Papers. The database contains full color images of the original medieval manuscripts that comprise these family letter collections along with full text searchable transcripts from the printed editions, where they are available.
  • Medieval Travel Writing - presents manuscripts of some of the most important works of European travel writing from the later medieval period. The chief focus is on journeys to central Asia and the Far East, including accounts of travel to Mongolia, Persia, India, China and South-East Asia.
  • Popular Medicine - documents the history of ‘popular’ remedies and treatments in nineteenth century America, through primary source materials drawn from the extensive collections at the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
  • Shakespeare in Performance: Prompt Books from the Folger Shakespeare Library - Shakespeare in Performance showcases rare and unique prompt books from the world-famous Folger Shakespeare Library. These prompt books tell the story of Shakespeare’s plays as they were performed in theatres throughout Great Britain, the United States and internationally, between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries.

PennKey Information

If you do not have a PennKey:


  • and you are a graduate or former student of a degree-granting program and your most recent term was in 1975 or later, click here to access PennKey-ASAP, the automated online PennKey request system exclusively for Penn alumni.

  • and you are a graduate or former student of a degree-granting program and your most recent term was *before* 1975 you will need to contact the office of Development and Alumni Relations to request a PennKey. They can be reached by email at, or by phone at 215-898-8136 Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. The credentialing process involves receiving a code via US Mail that can be used to create a PennKey.



If you already have a PennKey:


  • and you want to check to see if you are using the right password, click here.

  • and you want to reset your password, click here for instructions.

Need Help?

PennKey Assistance

Development and Alumni Relations

Database Assistance

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Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources

The University, through the Penn Libraries, has licensed these scholarly resources for the exclusive use and convenience of our alumni. Use of these resources requires that you abide by the University's Acceptable Use Policy, which requires that you agree to:

  • Respect the rights and intellectual property of others;
  • Conform to the University's mission of education, research, and service in the use of these resources;
  • Not systematically harvest or download excessive portions of resources;
  • Not redistribute content to non-subscribing persons or non-subscribing institutions.

Violation of this policy can result in the suspension of this privilege and can result in suspension or cancellation of access to a resource for the entire University.

Use of these resources indicates your agreement to abide by the Acceptable Use Policy.

The University and the Libraries are committed to protecting your privacy. Information collected through your use of this service is governed by the Privacy Policy: Development and Alumni Relations.