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Archives and Special Collections at Penn State Harrisburg

This guide provides an overview of the resources available from Archives and Special Collections in the Madlyn L. Hanes Library, part of the Penn State University Libraries, at Penn State Harrisburg.

Previous Exhibitions (2021-2024)

Gross Breesen ExhibitionJanuary 15, 2022 - January 31, 2024, Exhibition

"Gross Breesen:  Jews Escaping Genocide Through Agricultural Education"

Curated by Steve Strauss and recently acquired by Penn State Harrisburg's Center for Holocaust and Jewish Studies, this multimedia exhibition documents Gross Breesen, which was a training farm and school created by Jewish leadership in the mid-1930s.  The exhibition highlights this uniquely underrepresented aspect of Jewish life under Nazi rule—a lifesaving farming school that trained Jewish youth in the skills needed for emigration.  Featuring facsimiles of photographs, tributes about Gross Breesen students, and a 45-minute documentary film, Gross Breesen is on display in the Linda Schwab Holocaust Gallery and Reading Room at the Madlyn L. Hanes Library now through the end of January 2024. 

In conjunction with the exhibition, a public lecture was held in the library's Morrison Gallery on Thursday, January 27, 2022, from 12 NoonGross Breesen Exhibition until 1:00 pm, featuring Heidi Landecker, Deputy Managing Editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education, who will present a discussion of her father’s experience as a student at Gross Breesen.  Mr. Steve Strauss, a noted photographer from New York City and curator of the “Gross Breesen” exhibit, was also in attendance.  A Kosher reception was provided.

The exhibition and lecture were both generously supported by a grant from the Penn State University Spring 2022 "Humanities in the World" Commonwealth Campus Initiative, as well as funding from the Center for Holocaust and Jewish Studies Endowment, the School of Humanities, the School of Behavioral Sciences and Education, and the Madlyn L. Hanes Library at Penn State Harrisburg.

Recording Personal Histories: When History Becomes PersonalSeptember 13, 2023 - December 22, 2023 Exhibition

"Recording Personal Histories: When History Becomes Personal" 

Curated by Elizabeth McIlhenney, Archives Processing Assistant, “Recording Personal Histories: When History Becomes Personal” focused on how we have recorded our lives over history. This included a study of personal and family letters, postcards, diaries, scrapbooks, and more. Why did we connect these materials together? In this exhibition, the study of “Recording Personal Histories” sought to draw a parallel between how we record our lives today, and how they are and are not like the ways people did years ago. 


Much More Than The Splendid Little WarApril 4, 2023 - September 1, 2023 Exhibition
"Much More Than The 'Splendid Little War': Exploring the Spanish-American War's Legacy on Its 125th Anniversary" 

Curated by American Studies graduate student and archives intern, Dustin T. Smith, this exhibition was the second in our series of outreach activities that highlighted the 125th anniversary of the Spanish-American War of 1898 and its close connections to Middletown, Camp Meade, and present-day Penn State Harrisburg.  According to the curator, "The Spanish-American War was a truly complex conflict that involved more belligerents than simply Spain and the United States.  However, these complexities have been forgotten over time, resulting in the Spanish-American War's gradual oversimplification."  This exhibition seeks to correct this and draws attention to the contributions of African American servicemen of the U.S. military and the revolutionary forces from Cuba and the Philippines.  Generously on loan to the library and archives from the NGP History Project, the display featured rare and unique items, such as a Model 1874 canteen used by a member of the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment's Company A and a wool, U.S. Army Volunteers fatigue blouse, ca. 1898.  If you missed this wonderful exhibition, please visit our Flickr album to see some of the objects that were on display.


January - April 2023 Black History Month and LGBTQIA+ Exhibition and Displays

MLK Poster 2015Display "Honoring Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." 

Since 2008, Penn State Harrisburg's Diversity and Educational Equity Committee (DEEC) honors Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s memory by sponsoring a student Poster Design Contest. The deadline for the contest this year is February 3, 2023.  The winning submission is always printed in a limited run of posters. Archives and Special Collections preserves copies of the winning posters and pinback buttons and has selected several from our collection to share in this display.  The theme for the contest in 2023 is “Emerging Voices; Inspiring Leaders.”  Please stop by to see the display near the Reference Desk in the library. Or, to view the collection of winning posters from the archives, visit our Flickr album.


Black History MonthFebruary 8, 2023 -  April 1, 2023:  "Beyond Black History Month:  Showcasing African Art, African Textiles, and the Creative Accomplishments of Black People in America," curated by Dr. Wanda B. Knight, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Penn State Harrisburg), and Professor of Art Education, African American Studies, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (University Park). Dr. Winston Richards (1935-2022)

In conjunction with this exhibition, the library is featuring a display that celebrates and highlights the publications and creative accomplishments by current and former Black teaching faculty at Penn State Harrisburg, including Dr. Reuben Selase Asempapa, Dr. Lewis Asimeng-BoaheneDr. Beatrice N. Epwene, Dr. Aderaw Workneh FentaDr. Shaun Gabbidon, Distinguished Professor of Criminal Justice; Dr. Clemmie Gilpin, Dr. Peter B. Idowu, Dr. Harris E. ImadojemuDr. Shauntey James, Dr. Rhoda C. Joseph, Professor Dorothy E. KingDr. Wanda B. Knight, Professor C. Oliver LaGrone, Dr. Roderick L. Lee, Dr. Tony N. K. Lynch, Dr. Anita Mareno, Dr. Dassou NagassouDr. Yonatan Tewelde, and Dr. Winston Richards, Associate Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Sciences, who recently passed away in December 2022 at age 87. 


"Out on Campus:  A History of LGBTQ+ Activism at Pennsylvania Colleges and Universities"February 20, 2023 - March 3, 2023: The Madlyn L. Hanes Library, part of the Penn State University Libraries, was proud to host the traveling exhibition, "Out on Campus:  A History of LGBTQ+ Activism at Pennsylvania Colleges and Universities." The exhibition was a collaborative project of the Pennsylvania LGBT History Network and the LGBT Center of Central PA History Project, the records for which are located in Dickinson College's Archives and Special Collections in Carlisle, PA. Co-founder and Chair of the LGBT Center of Central Pennsylvania History Project and Coordinator of the Pennsylvania LGBT History Network, Barry Loveland, also served as the exhibition's organizer and curator. Two Penn State Harrisburg School of Humanities teaching faculty, Dr. Mary Zaborskis, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Gender Studies, and Jeremy Boorum, American Studies Ph.D. Candidate and Lecturer, also contributed to the exhibition.  It was located on the first floor of the Hanes Library and was free and open to the public during regular library hours. 


Commemorating Camp MeadeOctober 3, 2022 - February 1, 2023  

"Commemorating Camp Meade:  Honoring the 125th Anniversary of the Formation of Camp Meade During the Spanish-American War of 1898"

Archives and Special Collections is honored to curate and preserve Mr. Fred M. Greguras' extensive Camp Meade Collection and presented it to the Penn State Harrisburg community for the first time since its acquisition in 2018.  This exhibition featured over twenty items that were donated by Mr. Greguras, a long-time collector and expert on Spanish-American War Camps.  Materials on display included numerous artifacts, photographs, postcards, and a rare copy of the Camp Meade Gazette (October 20, 1898) from the collection.  The exhibition also commemorated the 125th anniversary of the Spanish-American War that began in April of 1898, following the explosion of the battleship, U.S.S. Maine, which led U.S. President William McKinley to declare war on Spain.  The war lasted for just 110 days until December 10, 1898, when the Treaty of Paris was signed.  The Treaty established Cuba's independence, ceded Puerto Rico and Guam to the U.S., and allowed the U.S. to purchase the Philippine Islands from Spain for $20 million.  On August 14, 1898, two days after Spain agreed to an armistice, Camp Meade opened when two companies of the 2nd U.S. Volunteer Engineers arrived from Fort Sheridan, Illinois.  Camp Meade occupied 140 acres of farmland owned by Colonel James Young and the adjoining property owned by George Cumbler, now the current location of Penn State Harrisburg.


Jell-O AdvertisementJanuary - February, and May - October 2022 

"Food as Comfort:  Advertising and Consumer Culture in American Foodways"

As we entered year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, preparing food at home, streaming tv shows about food from around the globe, and examining the way that people thought about and enjoyed food remained ever popular.  Drawn from graphics in the Alice K. Marshall Women's History Collection, this exhibition showcased "Food as Comfort" advertisements from 1911-1956, such as Jell-O, a warm bowl of Campbell's tomato soup, and a refreshing bottle of Coca-Cola. If there is anything the world needed during the pandemic, it was a little comfort. So, we enjoyed feasting on this fun and wholesome exhibit and explored how food advertisements have grown over time!  The Alice Marshall Collection contains over 80 boxes of original graphics.  For more information about these graphics, explore the collection's finding aid here and digitized portions of the collection on our Flickr albums.


Madlyn L. Hanes Library, Penn State HarrisburgMarch 1-May 16, 2022
"The Library at the Heart of Our Campus: A Retrospective of Photographs and Documents for the Newly-Named Madlyn L. Hanes Library at Penn State Harrisburg"

This exhibition provided a glimpse into the history of the library building at Penn State Harrisburg.  In July 2021, the building was named by the Penn State Board of Trustees to honor Dr. Madlyn L. Hanes for her years of service as Chancellor of Penn State Harrisburg from 2000 until 2010.  Photographs, documents, ephemera, as well as articles from the college's student newspaper highlighted the library's evolution from its original location in the Olmsted Building in 1966, through the detailed planning and construction of a new building between 1978-2000, and, finally, to the library building that is at the heart of our campus today.


FArt and Architecture Self-Guided Walking Tour of Campusall and Winter 2021

"We are 55:  Art and Architecture at Penn State Harrisburg"

This exhibit, which was on display from September through December 17, 2021, featured photographs, postcards, and ephemera from the College History Archives located in Archives and Special Collections on the 3rd floor of the library. It commemorates the 55th anniversary of the college, which was officially established on February 8, 1966. It also provides a fascinating visual history of the art and architecture of the campus and its tremendous growth over more than half a century.  Take a trip through campus—both past and present—via this exhibit. And when you are done viewing the digital exhibit, get outside, and take an actual tour of our beautiful campus!  We have prepared an "Art & Architecture Self-Guided Walking Tour of Campus" that, at a moderate walking pace, takes approximately one hour to complete.


smithsonian exhibitApril through December 2021

Picturing Women Inventors

This poster exhibit, courtesy of SITES (Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service), featured a series of eight posters that explored the inventions of 19 highly accomplished American women. Astronauts, computer pioneers, and businesswomen join athletes, engineers, and even teenagers in this remarkable group of inventors. It was developed by Smithsonian educators at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.  


Dear heart what a peach you areMarch 22 - May 14, 2021

"Through Alice’s Eyes: A Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Alice K. Marshall Women's History Collection at the Penn State Harrisburg Library (1991-2021)" celebrated thirty years of curating and preserving Alice Marshall’s extensive archives that focuses on women from the 18th through the 20th centuries.  This exhibit showcased only a small portion of the thousands of items—books, magazines, sheet music, photographs, pinback buttons, and postcards—that comprise the Alice K. Marshall Women’s History Collection (AMC) at the Penn State Harrisburg Library. Her vast collection was given to Penn State Harrisburg in 1991 and has been a springboard for teaching and learning across the curriculum. Most of the items featured have never been exhibited before and not only demonstrate the diverse scope of the collection, but also celebrate Women’s History Month.

Previous Exhibitions (2011-2020)

Sound of Suffrage

March 12 - July 9, 2020

"The Sounds of Suffrage:  Songs and Sheet Music from the American Suffrage Movement"

In honor of National Women’s History Month during March 2020 and in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, “The Sounds of Suffrage” exhibit highlighted women’s struggles―as expressed through songs and music―to gain the right to vote and to enact social and political reform in the United States.  The exhibition featured ten rare and previously unexhibited music scores and songs from the 1850s through 1970.  These items are a small portion of the over 1,260 pieces of sheet music in the Alice K. Marshall Women’s History Collection that is housed in Archives and Special Collections at the Penn State Harrisburg Library.   


Everybody Play Ball! August 1 - December 20, 2019

"Everybody Play Ball! Highlighting Gender and Racial Diversity in America’s Favorite Pastime (1845-1947)  

This exhibition featured artifacts, books, baseball collectibles and clothing, magazine advertisements and covers, and postcards.  The materials were displayed in three categories and explored the formation, struggle, and success of early baseball athletes and celebrated the forgotten achievements of African Americans, Native Americans, and women who endeavored to play their favorite game.  Baseball has a long and complex history.  There are many legends of how the modern game came to be, with traces of a baseball-like game as far back as the mid-1700s.  Baseball emulated the times, and often reflected as well as influenced the social, cultural, and political themes that predominated in America.  From 1865 through the early decades of the 1900s, baseball boomed in popularity throughout the United States.  However, African Americans were banned from playing in major league baseball.  The formation of the Negro Leagues gave African American baseball players the opportunity to travel or “barnstorm” around the country and compete against both black and white teams, even beating major league teams during off-season expedition games.  Women found their place in the sport with the Bloomer Leagues and achieved individual success on men’s minor league teams.  By contrast, Native American athletes played in the major leagues despite racist attitudes and culturally insensitive treatment from the media and fans.  


field to front exhibit

Fall 2019

"Field to Front: Nittany Lions at War, 1917-1919"

Traveling exhibit, courtesy of Penn State All-Sports Museum


smithsonian exhibitFall 2019

Poster exhibits, courtesy of SITES (Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service) 



Her Stamp on History June 3 - July 26, 2019   

 "Her Stamp on History:  Notable and Quotable American Women from the World of Philately"

This exhibition highlighted nineteen, prominent American women, who are featured on postage stamps officially issued by the United States Postal Service (USPS), between the years 1936 through 1986.  These women came from different backgrounds and became famous for a variety of reasons, including their pioneering work as abolitionists and suffragists, to “Medal of Honor” recipients, and First Ladies of the United States.  As part of honoring these notable and quotable women, the USPS issued special edition postage stamps commemorating their accomplishments.  The exhibition also celebrated philately, or the study of stamps and stamp collecting.  All of the postage stamps—exhibited for the first time—are part of the Alice Marshall Women’s History Collection in Archives and Special Collections at the Penn State Harrisburg Library.  


Winter GreetingsDecember 8, 2017 - February, 28, 2018

"Winter Greetings: Paper Ephemera from the Alice Marshall Collection, ca. 1850-1950"

We put the joy of the season on display with great vintage greeting cards and postcards in this exhibition.  Also featured in this holiday display were sheet music and magazines. The exhibit is on display now through February 28, 2018.




pumpkins peeps exhibitOctober 13, 2015 - March 31, 2016

Pumpkins to Peeps: Holiday Postcards from the Alice Marshall Women's History Collection.  One of our "all-time favorite exhibits" that was as much fun to research and install as it was to view!  This exhibition showcased some of the 6,000+ postcards that Alice Marshall collected over her lifetime.  As described by Dr. John Haddad, Professor of American Studies at Penn State Harrisburg, these postcards are "little units of culture."  We couldn't agree more!  Postcards became a nation-wide phenomenon in the United States in the early 20th century as a quick and convenient way to keep in touch with friends and loved ones. During the “Golden Age” of postcards, about 1907-1910, nearly 300 billion postcards were produced and sold in the United States alone. To put that number into perspective, from June 1907 to June 1908 nearly 668 million postcards were mailed, or about seven postcards for every American.


got advertising exhibitOctober 9, 2013 - February  28, 2014

Got Advertising? Magazines & Consumer Culture in America, 1890-1984






Witchy WomenFall 2011

Witchy Women: Be"witch"ing Halloween Ephemera and Texts from the Alice Marshall Women's History Collection