The 25,000 items included in this collection were amassed during and shortly after the Revolution by William S. Maclure. Social reformer, Philadelphia merchant and the United States' first scientific geologist, Maclure was for many years president of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Science, to which he left his library. The library was acquired by the University of Pennsylvania in 1949 and now occupies one entire tier of the Van Pelt Library's Rare Book room.
Probably the most interesting and useful feature of the collection is that nearly two-thirds of the volumes are bound by topic. Thus, scholars can easily find the information they seek on a particular subject rather than wading through the usual alphabetical listing of authors and titles.
The rest of the collection, 677 volumes out of the total 1,436, is made up of 39 serials covering the years between 1768 and 1815. The types of serials range from royal almanacs to reactionary anti-Jacobean journals and the milieu from pre-revolutionary salons and theaters to the assemblies of Napoleon.
Adding to the value of the Maclure Collection is the catalog index, The Maclure Collection of French Revolutionary Materials by Hardy, Jensen and Wolfe. The collection holdings have been filmed in the same order as listed in the catalog-index and each item has been identified on the film by the number assigned it in the index. The catalog-index also contains an Index of Deputies, an Index of Authors, and an Index of Committees and Commissions, each annotated with location references to the main body of material.