Penn Libraries News Center

Penn Libraries’ 2015-2016 Schoenberg Institute Graduate Fellow Explores Thai Manuscript Culture in New Exhibit


The Penn Libraries is proud to announce the opening of “‘Siamese Sampler’: 19th Century Manuscripts of Scripture, Poetry, and Decree” in the Snyder-Granader Alcove on the sixth floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. This exhibit highlights a sampling of the rich variety of Thai Manuscripts held at the Penn Libraries and will run from August 8th-October 7th 2016.

Although the exhibit does include what is considered to be one of the most exquisite specimens of an illuminated Thai manuscript—the Abhidhamma Chet Kamphi (Ms. Coll. 990, Item 5), Curator Susanne Ryuyin Kerekes, 2015-2016 Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies (SIMS) Graduate Fellow and PhD candidate in Religious Studies at Penn, wanted to focus her exhibit on the beauty of historical importance rather than

The SIMS Graduate Fellowship was established to encourage emerging scholars to engage with the rich manuscript resources at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, including the Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection. Working closely with SIMS staff members, the fellows have the opportunity to develop a project and gain experience working in a collaborative, digital humanities environment. Kerekes credits the welcoming, expert staff at SIMS with helping her discover the true merits of this fellowship— its unintended by-products. Not only was Kerekes able to research rare, never-before translated Thai manuscripts, but she was given the independence to sharpen her skills as a scholar by embarking on her first foray into curating and organizing an exhibition and conference. “It is with the utmost gratitude and respect that I acknowledge all the opportunities this fellowship afforded me,” Kerekes explains, “I should only be so fortunate in the future to be able to work with encouraging and positive mentors like those of the SIMS family.”

As mentioned before, an accompanying conference and reception will be held Tuesday, September 6th, from 2:00-7:00pm with Penn professor Dr. Justin McDaniel serving as keynote speaker. For more information and to register for the conference, please visit: .


About the Penn Libraries
The Penn Libraries serve the world-class faculty and students of Penn’s 12 schools. The Libraries’ collections comprise more than 7 million volumes, over 100,000 journals, some 2 million digitized images, and extraordinary rare and unique materials that document the intellectual and cultural experience of ancient and modern civilizations. Through our collaborative relationships, we supplement Penn’s great local collections with physical access to the Center for Research Libraries (approximately 5 million items), the combined holdings of the Ivies (more than 70 million volumes), and exclusive electronic access to some 2 million public domain titles in the HathiTrust. Today, the Libraries play an instrumental role in developing new technologies for information discovery and dissemination and are noted for groundbreaking work in digital library design.  To learn more about the Penn Libraries, visit


About the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies

In response to the gift of the Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection, the Penn Libraries founded the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, (SIMS). The mission of SIMS is to bring manuscript culture, modern technology and people together to bring access to and understanding of our intellectual heritage locally and around the world. SIMS is a teaching and research center devoted to the study of manuscripts in their material and digital forms. Housed at the Penn Libraries, SIMS emphasizes hands-on work with these unique witnesses to the past through the practical study of paleography, codicology, illumination, book arts, book history, and the history of science and medicine, among many other fields. These primary source materials offer the Penn community and scholars everywhere unprecedented opportunities for collaboration in multidisciplinary research and scholarship. SIMS engages with regional and international institutions to foster study and use of the collection through lectures, symposia, publications and digitization programs, and holds a firm commitment to develop and promote digital technologies that instruct and inspire scholars and students around the world through forward-thinking open access policies.

To view the collection, go to: