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Fisher Fine Arts Library Rare Book Room

A guide to consulting rare books at the Fine Arts Library of the University of Pennsylvania

History of the Perkins Library

For more information about G. Holmes Perkins and the evolution of the rare book collection, please refer to William Keller's chapter, "Architecture Books in the Service of Learning: Persuasion and Argument in the Perkins Library," from The Penn Library Collections at 250 (University of Pennsylvania Library, 2000).

The Perkins Rare Books Library

The Fisher Fine Arts Library's rare books room, formally called the Perkins Rare Books Library, is a collection of monuments of architectural publishing.  It is located on the main level of the Fine Arts Library and holds approximately three thousand rare books as well as drawings and historic maps. The foundation of the collection is the single great book of Vitruvius Pollio (ca. 90-20 B.C.E.) together with works by the five figures from the Renaissance period: Alberti, Scamozzi, Serlio, Vignola, and Palladio.  The original collection was established in 1965 by G. Holmes Perkins who served as Dean of Penn's Graduate School of Fine Arts (as it was known then) from 1951 to 1971. 

Location in Fisher, first floor

Map of Fischer Fine Arts Library with rare books library circled

      Perkins Library sign

Perkins Library Consultation Hours

Patrons are welcome to request Perkins Rare Book Library materials via the Special Collections Research Account Monday through Friday. Then, contact us at to schedule an appointment. Please wait for confirmation before visiting the reading room.