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Banner Image: The Athenaeum embraces technology...bibliographer Keith Kamm inputs cataloging data into an OCLC terminal in 1979.

Membership    ·    New Books    ·    Event Calendar

Banner Image: The Athenaeum embraces technology...bibliographer Keith Kamm inputs cataloging data into an OCLC terminal in 1979.


Literary May Events


Full information and registration instructions for the following events can be found on the Athenaeum website at


Wednesday, May 8, 5:30PM

Athenaeum Literary Award



This year the Athenaeum's traditional Literary Award has been revised to include two committees so that Art & Architecture books could be considered on their own merit, aside from the usual fiction and non-fiction titles.


The traditional Athenaeum Literary Award, recognizing Philadelphia authors' literary achievement , will be presented to two local residents on May 8th.  The two Literary Award winners for books published last year are Steven Ujifusa, author of  A Man and His Ship: America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Quest to Build the S.S. United States; and Liz Moore, author of the novel Heft.


The awards selection committee praised Mr. Ujifusa's research and detail in telling the compelling story of visionary ship designer William Francis Gibbs.  Offering an eye-opening look at the history of passenger cruising and ship-building technology , the book is especially relevant as the fight to save (and reuse) this 1950s ocean liner continues.  The committee found Ms. Moore's moving novel of alienation and redemption to be strikingly original, poignant and stylistically superb.


The 2012 Literary Award Nonfiction and Fiction Committee was comprised of Louise Beardwood, Cordelia Frances Biddle, Linda Ellsworth, Gay Gervin, JoAnn Greco, Marilyn MacGregor, Dr. Faith Midwood, Ted Robb, Ned Scharff, Jim Scheck, Lea Carson Sherk, and Pamela Shropshire.


A separate committee reviews candidates for the Art and Architecture award. This committee, chaired by Satoko I. Parker, also included Marie Stuart, Samuel Streit, and Daniel Traister.  The award for Art and Architecture books will be given to A Glorious Enterprise: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and the Making of American Science, by Robert McCracken Peck and Patricia Tyson Stroud.



Wednesday, May 15, 5:30PM

M. Elias Keller,

Strange Case of Mr. Bodkin & Father Whitechapel 

Free for Athenaeum Members, All others $10


Wednesday, May 22, 6:00PM

Saturnalia Books Poetry Reading


Philadelphia Hospitality Inc. Presents Philadelphia Open House Tours

Get up close and personal with Philadelphia’s architectural, historical and cultural landmarks, museums, and private homes, during Philadelphia Open House Tours – a week’s worth of behind-the-scenes and special-access tours organized by Philadelphia Hospitality, designed to engage visitors and residents alike with the some of the city’s hidden treasures.

More than a dozen special on-site tours are being offered throughout the week of May 13-19, including “Past, Present and Future of the Philadelphia Navy Yard”; an insider’s tour of the historic Wanamaker Organ at Macy’s Center City; North Broad Street’s sites relating to Philadelphia’s African American history; Pharaoh’s Flowers: Botanical Treasure from the Fabled Tomb of Tutankhamun at the Penn Museum; an 18th-century operating amphitheatre at Pennsylvania Hospital, medical books from the 13th century at the College of Physicians; historic book preservation at the Library Company of Philadelphia; a photo “safari;” wine tasting; receptions with architects and designers in their homes and studios; and a brewery tour, among others. All tours are led by knowledgeable experts, including architects, designers, and historians.

Tours are ticketed and vary in price. For more information including tour description, times and tickets, visit, or call 1-800-714-3287, ext. 11.

The Athenaeum is participating on May 13th with self-guided tours all day, and a guided tour at 2:00pm.  Registration is required for the guided tour.

Athenaeum to be Hidden City Festival Site

The Athenaeum is pleased to join eight other sites in this year’s Hidden City Festival.  The Chess Room will be the location of an art installation entitled “Through the Pale Door.”  As recounted in an earlier newsletter article, one day in 1838, struggling author Edgar Allan Poe signed the Athenaeum’s “book of strangers,” when visiting our rooms in Philosophical Hall. That visit and the discovery by artist Ruth Scott Blackson of a book in the Athenaeum's reference collection analyzing the paint colors of Poe's Seventh Street house, are the inspiration for her site-specific art installation. See the Hidden City site for a description of the project and a video of the artist. 

This year’s festival will run from May 23 through June 30.   Details on hours and visitation will be provided soon.

In conjunction with the Hidden City Festival, the Athenaeum will host Edward G Pettit for his talk "Edgar Allan Poe, His Legacy, His Body.

Thursday, May 30, 2013, 5:30PM

Free to Athenaeum and Hidden City Members. RSVP to Susan Gallo at or 215-925-2688.  All others $10, Full program description and online payment.

Right: Edward G Pettit, Photo by Kyle Cassidy. 


Society Hill's 35th Annual Open House and Garden Tour

Society Hill’s 35th Annual Open House and Garden Tour will take place on Sunday, May 19, 2013, from 1 to 5 PM. Tickets are now on sale for this most enjoyable, self-guided tour of over ten private homes and gardens in one of our nation’s most historic neighborhoods. Imagine walking on the same brick sidewalks frequented by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin!

Each year, the Society Hill Tour offers a new selection of exceptional homes and gardens that range in style and décor from the 18th and 19th century periods to the most contemporary. According to event coordinators Martha Levine and Linda Skale, “Some people attend the tours for inspirational design ideas they may use in their own homes.” 

Dining With Discounts: After the tour, enjoy dinner at one of four fine area restaurants that offer a 15% discount exclusively for house tour ticket holders. 

Sponsored by the Society Hill Civic Association in Center City Philadelphia, the tour’s proceeds are used for neighborhood improvement and beautification projects. For more tour information, visit and click on the link for Society Hill Open House & Garden Tour.

Advance ticket purchases are encouraged. To purchase a ticket, to receive a brochure, or to get more information, please contact Society Hill Civic Association at 215-629-1288, or email: Tickets can also be purchased on the day of the tour at Old Pine Community Center, 401 Lombard Street, Philadelphia.

Date: Sunday, May 19, 2013
Time: 1 to 5 PM.
Cost: $30 per ticket in advance, $35 at the door
Group rates available
Complimentary light refreshments
Rest rooms available
Comfortable shoes encouraged


Member News: Eli P. Zebooker Celebrates 100th Birthday


The Athenaeum congratulates Dr. Eli P. Zebooker on the celebration of his 100th birthday.  As our readers may remember, in 2011 Dr. Zebooker's donation of his extensive collection of maps formed the basis for the very popular exhibition Philadelphia Places on Paper.  Dr. Zebooker has been a shareholder of the Athenaeum since 1976.

The catalog of Philadelphia Places on Paper is still available in our bookstore.

Left: Eli Zebooker with Athenaeum Executive Director Sandra Tatman.

New Philadelphia: The Great Experiment Trailer


There is a new trailer available for the documentary film series Philadelphia: The Great Experiment.  It can be viewed on the Athenaeum website at


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First and Third Saturdays:  11:00am-3:00pm (excluding the summer months)



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Philadelphia, PA  19106 


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