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Membership    ·    New Books    ·    Donate    ·    Current Exhibition    ·    Event Calendar

Banner Image: The Henry Paul Busch Room. Photo by Tom Crane, 2006.  From the book Historic Landmarks of Philadelphia by Roger W. Moss and Tom Crane (University of Pennsylvania  Press, 2008).


Henry Jonas Magaziner 

(September 13, 1911-December 25, 2011)


We note with sadness the passing last week of Athenaeum shareholder, Henry J. Magaziner, Philadelphia’s oldest architect. Born in 1911, Henry attended Philadelphia public schools, including Central High School. He entered the University of Pennsylvania school of architecture in 1929 where he studied under Paul P. Cret, but the Great Depression caused him to delay his schooling for a number of years, during which Henry sold Fels Naptha soap door-to-door. Following graduation in 1936 he worked in the offices of Day & Zimmermann, Albert Kahn and in partnership with his father, Louis Magaziner, until the latter’s death in 1956. Through the 1960s he practiced independently until joining the National Park Service in 1972 as Regional Historical Architect and Architectural Historian, Middle Atlantic Region, from which he retired in 1987. Long before it was fashionable, Henry was an outspoken supporter of the preservation of Victorian-era buildings and served as both board member and president of the 1859 Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion in Germantown. Henry continued practicing architecture until just a few years before his death, most recently with the firm of Campbell Thomas & Company. His first book, The Golden Age of Ironwork was published in 2000 when he was 89. His second, Our Liberty Bell, a children’s book, was published in 2007. Henry was a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and the Association for Preservation Technology.

Henry became a shareholder of the Athenaeum in 1972. His 1976 gift of his father’s architectural archives (including more than 10,000 drawings, 3000 photographs, and 50 cubic feet of job files) firmly established the Athenaeum as the major architectural repository in Greater Philadelphia. Henry’s own drawings are now in our collections as well. In 2003 Henry established a charitable fund at the Athenaeum which will benefit generations of researchers and shareholders alike.

Photo: Henry Magaziner, Dec. 2008. Hyman Myers, Photographer.


First Saturday Opening and Gallery Talk

The Athenaeum will be open for First Saturday, January 7th, from 11:00am-3:00pm

Join Executive Director Sandra Tatman and book artist Marilyn MacGregor for a gallery talk on The Decorated Book exhibition at 1:00pm.

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia presents an exhibition of contemporary book arts produced in response to the Athenaeum’s collections of decorated book covers by Margaret Armstrong, the Decorative Designers Studio, Alice Morse, Olive Lothrop Grover, and Frank Berkeley Smith. See the work of contemporary artists Libby Barrett/Jeff Raymond, Leslie Farber, Karen Hanmer, Marilyn MacGregor, John Magnan, Nancy Nitzberg, Claire Owen, Johanne Renbeck, and Lynn Skordal. 

RSVP is required for the gallery talk.  Contact Susan Gallo at or 215-925-2688.

Mystery Photo!  Help Us!

This photo was accessioned late last year from the collection of Hyman & Sandra Myers.  It shows an architects’ office c. 1900, but thus far we haven’t been able to determine who the architect and his staff are.  If you can help us identify any of the gentlemen in this photo, please let us know. Those who provide confirmable identifications will be awarded a gift from the architectural department, and will be congratulated in this space.

Clues: The cabinet in the center background is labeled “Keystone Telephone Company Returns” and the two portraits on the wall are Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.

Click the image for a larger version.

Contact Bruce Laverty at or 215-925-2688 with your answers.

Ancestry Library Edition Still Available

Members have access to Ancestry Library Edition at the Athenaeum. Fall is a wonderful time to work on your family history research. You can use our public computer in the Busch Room, or bring your own laptop and use our wireless connection. New to genealogy? No problem, Circulation Librarian Jill LeMin Lee and Intern Jasmine Clark will be happy to help you get started. Stop by, or feel free to make an appointment (215-925-2588) for some dedicated assistance. 

Member Critics

Ron Chernow, Washington: A Life.  New York: The Penguin Press, 2010.  

A masterly biography of George Washington.  Reaching beyond the Revolution and the first presidency, the author peeks into the great man's personal and emotional life, finding evidence of true humanity, despite Washington's lifelong effort to control open display of his feelings.  Considering the powerful (often unfriendly) forces with which he had to contend, America's first leader scores remarkably well.  This is a big book, and deserves a thorough and careful reading.

Submitted by Dr. Harold Rashkis.


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