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Banner Image: Patrick Connors accepts first prize in the Athenaeum's 200th Anniversary Art Competition.

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Banner Image: Patrick Connors accepts first prize in the Athenaeum's 200th Anniversary Art Competition.


July Events

Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 12:00-1:00PM - Exploring The Athenaeum, Tips of The Iceberg: Join Gladys Brooks Curator of Architecture Bruce Laverty for the next talk in this monthly series.  July will focus on the drawings of architect Benjamin Linfoot (1840-1912).  Free.  RSVP by calling 215-925-2688 or email

Thursday, July 17, 2:30 PM - Society Hill-Hot and Healthy: “Brain Attack: All About Strokes,” Dr. Larisa Syrow.  Free.  Additional Information.  RSVP by calling 215-925-2688 or email

Above: Sitting Room, Bardwold, Residence of Mrs. A. W. Baird.  Benjamin Linfoot, Architect, 1886.

Preservation Alliance Recognition Award 

On June 4th the Athenaeum received a Special Recognition Award in honor of its 200th Anniversary and the contributions made by the Athenaeum to the preservation community.  On the same evening Athenaeum member Janet S. Klein received the James Biddle Award for Lifetime Achievement in Historic Preservation, and Robert P. Thomas, AIA, received the  Public Service Award for Preservation in the Public Interest.  Congratulations to all of the recipients of honors at the Preservation Alliance program.

Top Right: Robert Thomas.
Bottom Left:
(L-R) Bruce Laverty, Sandra Tatman, Michael Seneca
Below Right: Lew and Janet Klein

The Athenaeum and Art

In another celebration of the 200th Anniversary, Athenaeum members Ted Lewis and John Schmiechen volunteered to co-chair an art competition which required that artists produce two-dimensional work depicting either the Athenaeum (inside and out) or any of a number of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.  On June 29th over 200 people crowded into the the Haas Gallery and beyond to see the 45 works which were accepted for the exhibition by jurors John Blatteau, Sandra Tatman, and William Valerio (of the Woodmere Art Museum).  Although It was a difficult task to choose prizewinners, after much deliberation the jury awarded First Prize to Patrick Connors, Second to Robert Reinhardt, and Third to Edward Snyder.  An Honorable Mention went to Gerard Di Falco.  This exhibition will continue through August 8, 2014, and all items are for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Athenaeum's Building Fund.

Left: Patrick Connors, After A Spring Storm: Columbia Bridge.
Center: Robert Reinhardt, Weather Permitting
Right: Edward Snyder, Laurel Hill Scene.

This Month In 1814:  A Look Back At The Athenaeum's Founding Year

July of 1814 was mostly an uneventful month for the Athenaeum. The primary topic of the July Board meeting was keeping track of the day to day expenses of the janitor. However, there were a few notable visitors recorded in the Stranger's Book. On July 8th, James Booth of Newcastle, Delaware visited the Athenaeum as the guest of Athenaeum Secretary Robert H. Smith. Booth was an important figure in Delaware politics, having served as Secretary of Delaware's Constitutional Convention in 1776, as privy councilor (1783), Secretary of State (1778-1797), and Chief Justice of the Delaware Court of Common Pleas. 

On July 20th, Samuel Breck made what appears to be his first visit to the Athenaeum, and at the next Board meeting after his visit, he was elected as a subscriber. Breck became one of the Athenaeum's early benefactors and held several positions including President. As president, he spoke at the 1847 opening of the Athenaeum building. Besides being successful in business, Breck also served in the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives (1817-1820), the Senate (1832-1834), and in the United States Congress (1823-1825). You may have seen the Athenaeum's exhibition on Breck and his legacy at the Athenaeum last winter.


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