Temple University Libraries – The Special Collections Department
Preserving everyday life – and a few special highlights
Temple University thrives two miles north of City Hall on Broad Street. Nestled inside the Paley Library, a modern building at the heart of the campus, are collections that continue to tell the story of the people and the neighborhoods of Philadelphia.
The Urban Archives holds oral histories, media and newspaper morgues chock full of 20th-century history. The Contemporary Culture Collection preserves thousands of journals, newsletters, books, pamphlets and posters on grass-roots social causes and radicalism. See the exhibitions near the library’s entrance, in a lower level gallery, and on the mezzanine where the special collections department resides.
Temple’s premise is simple: wealth is at hand. Founder Russell Conwell spread the word in his signature sermon, “Acres of Diamonds,” a parable of a man whose worldwide search for riches ends in failure. Digging the man’s grave on his own land, his family finds he owned acres of diamonds all along. This people’s university extends Conwell’s message and mission with its special collections.
Open Mon – Fri
Be sure to visit the 1890s Baptist Temple at Berks Walk and Broad Street. This building houses the Chapel of the Four Chaplains, a memorial to the military clerics who handed out life jackets, including their own, on a torpedoed troop ship off Greenland in 1943.
In the neighborhood
Museums & Attractions
Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center
Urban Archives, Paley Library
1210 Polett Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19122
- The Village of Arts and Humanities
- Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center
- Wagner Free Institute of Science
- The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection
- View more attractions
Restaurants & Dining