Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This day in history:

On December 14, 1799 General George Washington died in Mount Vernon at the age of 67 breathing his last words: "Tis' well".

In our collection:

Caldwell, Charles, An elegiac poem on the death of General Washington (Philadelphia: Samuel F. Bradford at the office of "The True American.", 1800.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Laurel Hill Cemetery Exhibtion

Laurel Hill Cemetery is celebrating their 175th year with an exhibition at the Library Company. "Building a City of the Dead: The Creation and Expansion of Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill Cemetery" was highlighted in a piece by Jon Snyder of the Daily News. Click here to see the video.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Early Book Structures and the Nag Hammadi Codices

Friday, October 29

Program at 6:00 P.M.

Julia Miller, former senior conservator on the staff of the University of Michigan conservation lab, will discuss the Nag Hammadi Codices. These are the manuscripts discovered in Egypt in 1945 that date from the third and fourth centuries AD and contain numerous early Christian Gnostic texts. Ms. Miller will focus on these manuscripts along with related discoveries in terms of bookbinding history and materials.

This event will be held at 1314 Locust St. in Philadelphia.

Click here to RSVP or call 215.546.3181.

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18th in History

William Henry Seward, secretary of state under President Andrew Johnson, championed the purchase of Alaska from Russia for two cents an acre resulting in the United States taking possession of the territory on this day in 1867.

In our collection:

Seward, William Henry, Alaska : Speech of William H. Seward, at Sitka, August 12, 1869. (Washington, DC : Philp & Solomons, 1869.)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Octavius Catto Event

Octavius Valentine Catto was a teacher, activist, and orator as well as second baseman on Philadelphia’s best black baseball team. The nation lost a civil rights pioneer when Catto was murdered at an election-day race riot in 1871. Daniel Biddle and Murray Dubin, authors of the recently published book Tasting Freedom from Temple University Press, will discuss the life of this charismatic black leader. Co-sponsored with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the Union League of Philadelphia.

This event will take place at 1300 Locust St. please RSVP on the Historical Society’s website (www.hsp.org) or call 215-732-6200.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 23rd in History

September 23rd, 1806

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark returned to St. Louis, Missouri, from their nearly 3 year long exploratory journey of the Louisiana Purchase.

In our collection:
Meriwether Lewis, History of the expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark, :to the sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky Mountains and down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean. Performed during the years 1804-5-6. By order of the government of the United States. Prepared for the press by Paul Allen, Esquire. In two volumes. Vol. I[-II]. (Philadelphia,Pa Published by Bradford and Inskeep; and Abm. H. Inskeep, Newyork. J. Maxwell, printer., 1814.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13th in History

September 13th, 1814

Francis Scott Key wrote a poem entitled “The Defense of Fort McHenry” after witnessing the attack on the fort during the war of 1812. The poem was renamed “The Star Spangled Banner” and became the United States National Anthem in 1931.

In our collection:
Key,Francis Scott “The star-spangled banner: national song” (1814).

Search our catalogs: http://www.librarycompany.org/catalogs/index.htm

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September 1st in History

September 1, 1807
Former U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr is acquitted. Burr was charged with treason for plotting to annex parts of Louisiana and Spanish territory in Mexico to be used toward the establishment of an independent republic. Though he admitted to conspiring against the U.S., he claimed he was innocent of the charge of treason because he didn't engage in an "overt act".

In our collection:

Aaron Burr, The trial of Col. Aaron Burr, on an indictment for treason, before the Circuit Court of the United States, held in Richmond, (Virginia), May term, 1807, including the arguments and decisions on all the motions made during the examination and trial, and on the motion for an attachment against Gen. Wilkinson, taken in short-hand by T. Carpenter (Washington, D.C.: Westcott & Co., 1807-08).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August 18th in History

Aug 18, 1795: George Washington signs Jay Treaty with Britain

From the LCP Collection:
Dallas, Alexander James, 1759-1817. Features of Mr. Jay's treaty. To which is annexed a view of the commerce of the United States, as it stands at present, and as it is fixed by Mr. Jay's treaty. Philadelphia: Printed for Mathew Carey, by Lang & Ustick, 1795.

Search our catalogs: http://www.librarycompany.org/catalogs/index.htm

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Stewardship Program

Become a Steward of the collections of the Library Company and sponsor your own piece of history! Through our Stewardship Program, you can support the purchase of interesting and important rare books, pamphlets, prints, and photographs. Each month, we will list new items available for stewardship on our website. Click here for more information about the program and to see the complete list of stewardship opportunities.

Above Images:
Love and Death in a Barn; or, the Sad, Sorrowful Life of Beautiful Kate Harrington... . (Philadelphia, 1876).

The Stranger’s Illustrated Pocket Guide to Philadelphia … . (Philadelphia, 1876).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ben's Lens

In our current Ben's Lens, Philadelphia photographer James B. Rich has recorded his wife and daughter while on a trip to a popular New York State tourist destination. Does anyone recognize the location?

Email your answers to printroom@librarycompany.org.

Click here
to see our Ben's Lens archive.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Philadelphia on Stone in ImPAC

Following the excitement of the Philadelphia on Stone exhibition that opened in March 2010 and the submission of the manuscript of the illustrated book in May 2010, Project Assistant Linda Wisniewski focused on completing a final component of the project: the mounting of the Digital Catalog and the Biographical Dictionary of Lithographers.

Three years of research and survey work, between May 2007 and May 2010, yielded the Digital Catalog of approximately 1,350 records for lithographs, related ephemera, and prints compiled from the collections at the eight collaborating institutions. Illustrated by their respective digital surrogates, the catalog records are keyword searchable by artist (author), title, date, and subject, as well as browseable by repository.

The Biographical Dictionary of Lithographers contains more than 560 entries for artists, lithographers, printers, and publishers who worked in commercial lithography in Philadelphia between 1828 and 1878. The biographical entries include 155 images depicting portraits and advertisements of the more prominent lithographers, as well as views of their establishments gathered from the survey of the Library Company’s and partnering institution’s collections.

Many of the catalog records and biographical entries link to multiple digital images indicated by multiple digital file names in the record. To access these images, enlarge the visible thumbnail. Items from the Library Company of Philadelphia collections will contain the code “LCP” in the digital file name and items from the collaborating institutions will contain their respective code.

Although the official period of the grant-funded project, sponsored by the William Penn Foundation has ended, Philadelphia on Stone will continue its programming into the fall. On Friday October 15, 2010, at the close of the exhibition, the Library Company’s Program in Early American Economy and Society (PEAES) and the Visual Culture Program (VCP@LCP) will sponsor the conference, Representations of Economy: Lithography from 1820-1860. Information about the symposium and registration can be found on our website.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Online Exhibition


Philadelphia can claim many “firsts.” The birth of American lithography is one first that is not well known. Following years of experimentation by others, Philadelphia artist Bass Otis produced the first American lithograph in 1819. A flat-surface printing process on porous limestone invented in Germany circa 1798, lithography was the first new printmaking method to be discovered in 300 years. It was the first cost-effective method for printing in color, allowed long print runs and larger sizes, and facilitated more versatile and innovative design styles than engraving. Intrepid American artists and printers explored lithography as a new commercial printing process during the 1820s. Lithographic establishments emerged in New York, Washington, D.C., and Boston, and finally in 1828 in Philadelphia. Nineteenth-century Philadelphia lithographers produced prints of all genres, in all sizes, for the domestic and business consumer, including parlor prints, sheet music, advertisements, book illustrations, billheads, and certificates that often contained images depicting the city. Philadelphia on Stone examines the history of the first fifty years of commercial lithography in Philadelphia. This exhibition explores the history and technology of the printmaking process, the professional and personal lives of premier and journeymen lithographers, and the impact of their work on 19th-century and contemporary visual culture.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Please join us on Monday, June 21st at 6:00pm for our Juneteenth celebration. This year’s panel discussion will focus on the past eight years of controversy surrounding the discovery of the slave quarters and the nine slaves who served President George Washington at his Philadelphia home at 6th & Market Streets. Panelists include St. Joseph’s University historian Randall M. Miller; architectural historian Edward Lawler; and Philadelphia lawyer Michael Coard. Moderating the discussion is Temple University Journalism professor and award-winning columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune Linn Washington. This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to lpropst@librarycompany.org or call 215-546-3181.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Seeing Shylock: Images of Pawnbroking in Three Centuries

Thursday, April 22, 2010

6:00 p.m.

Wendy A. Woloson, independent scholar and consulting historian, will discuss her new book, In Hock: Pawning in America from Independence through the Great Depression. This illustrated talk traces the history of pawnbroking in America from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century, following the rise of the business form the dawn of capitalism through the industrial and consumer revolutions. Sponsored by the Library Company’s program in Visual Culture (VCP @ LCP).

This event is free and open to the public at 1314 Locust St. Please RSVP to lpropst@librarycompany.org or call 215-546-3181.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Philadelphia on Stone: The First Fifty Years of Commercial Lithography in Philadelphia, 1828-1878

Philadelphia on Stone: The First Fifty Years of Commercial Lithography in Philadelphia, 1828-1878, explores the history of 19th-century Philadelphia lithography and its impact on contemporary visual culture. Philadelphia on Stone explicates the history and process of lithography, documents the professional and personal lives of premier and journeymen lithographers, and includes lithographs from the collections of the Library Company and several other institutions whose collections were surveyed. In addition, the work of contemporary lithographers Kip Deeds and Roberta Delaney will be on display to represent the continuing influence of this trade on the printed arts.

Join us for the exhibition opening reception on Thursday, March 25 from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. featuring a talk at 6:15 by Nancy Finlay, editor of Picturing Victorian America: Prints bythe Kellogg Brothers of Hartford, 1830-1880 and Curator of Graphics at the Connecticut HistoricalSociety. Please RSVP to this event by emailing lpropst@librarycompany.org or calling 215-546-3181.

The Library Company is pleased to acknowledge generous funding of the Philadelphia on Stone project from the William Penn Foundation.

Philadelphia on Stone is an Independent Project of Philagrafika 2010, Philadelphia’s international festival celebrating print in contemporary art.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Horses at Work

Horses at Work:
Harnessing Power in Industrial America

Ann Norton Greene
University of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, March 2, 6:00p.m.

The Library Company of Philadelphia

This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to lpropst@librarycompany.org or call 215-546-3181.

Historians have long assumed that new industrial machines and power sources eliminated work animals from 19th-century America, yet a bird's-eye view of 19th-century society would show millions of horses supplying the energy necessary for industrial development. Indeed, the single most significant energy transition of the antebellum era may have been the dramatic expansion in the use of living, breathing horses as a power technology in the development of industrial America. Ann Greene argues for recognition of horses' critical contribution to the history of American energy and the rise of American industrial power. She suggests that focusing on horses changes our view of 19th-century American society, and undermines the notion of so-called "inevitable" technological change.

Ann Norton Greene is Lecturer and Administrator in History and Sociology of Science at University of Pennsylvania. Horses at Work: Harnessing Power in Industrial America (Harvard University Press, 2008) received the 2009 Fred B. Kniffen Award for best authored book from the Pioneer America Society.

This event is co-sponsored by The Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science (PACHS).