In this issue:


Banner Image: Athenaeum Grand Stair with new carpet.

Membership    ·    New Books    ·    Event Calendar

Banner Image: Athenaeum Grand Stair with new carpet.


October Events

The Athenaeum will be closed Monday, October 13 for Columbus Day

Treasures Lecture

Wednesday, October 8, 2014, 6:00PM.  Alexandra Kirtley, “The Classical Ideal of A.G. Quervelle: Fashioning French Furniture in Early 19th Century Philadelphia.”  Free for Athenaeum Members.  To RSVP, call 215-925-2688 or email All others $10 More Information.


Friday, October 10, 2014, 1:00-3:0pm.  Workshop for Philly Photo Day 2014. Limited to 15 Participants. Free. More Information.

Socrates Cafe Discussion Group

Tuesday, October 14, 11:00AM.  More information.  RSVP to

Genealogy Workshop

Saturday, October 18, 12:00-2:00PM.  More information.  To RSVP, call 215-925-2688 or email

Treasures Lecture

Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 6:00PM.  Andrew Lins, “From Small Beginnings to a Colossal Undertaking: A. M. Calder’s sculpture of William Penn.” Free for Athenaeum Members. To RSVP, call 215-925-2688 or email All others $10 More Information.

Society Hill-Hot and Healthy

Friday, October 24, 2014, 2:30PM.  Dr. Sarah Mathews, “How to Combat Anxiety and Depression.”  Free. More InformationTo RSVP, call 215-925-2688 or email

Treasures Lecture

Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 6:00PM.  Medill Higgins Harvey, “Invaluable Treasures: The Philadelphia Athenaeum’s Fletcher and Gardiner Silver and Archives.”  Free for Athenaeum Members.  To RSVP, call 215-925-2688 or email All others $10 More Information.

PHL17 Hotlist of Philadelphia Museums

The Athenaeum ranked 15 out of 20 in the 2014 PHL17 HotList of Philadelphia Museums. The Franklin Institute came in first, closely followed by the Mutter Museum. Click here for the complete list.


The Athenaeum is excited to announce that we will soon be offering access to a collection of electronic books that members may download to borrow. Watch the e-newsletter for an announcement when they go live. In the meantime, stop by the circulation desk and pick up your attractive new Athenaeum library card. It will be required to borrow e-books, but in the meantime you may begin using it to check out print books, audiobooks, and DVDs.

Right: Athenaeum Library Card.

200 Years: Treasures Capstone Party 

Please join us for the Treasures Capstone Party.

Program Highlights:

Premiere showing of History Making Productions’ Film Athenaeum followed by remarks from Sam Katz, Director of Athenaeum

Roger W. Moss will make remarks and sign copies of his latest publication Athenaeum Profiles: A Not-For-Profit Education. (Each attendee receives a complimentary copy). 

Incidental music provided by students from The Curtis Institute of Music.

Cocktail Reception.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 

Time: 6:00 PM 

Tickets: $50.00 per person 

Dress: Business Casual

Athenaeum members will soon receive an invitation in the mail, but in the meantime, members and non-members may register online.

Treasures Capstone Party Registration

Member News

Athenaeum stockholder Cynthia Connolly, PhD, RN, PNP, FAAN, received the 2014 J. Worth Estes Prize from the American Association for the History of Medicine. She shares this honor with Janet Golden and Benjamin Schneider for their 2012 article regarding pediatric infectious disease at Baltimore's Sydenham Hospital. Connolly is the first nurse to receive AAHM's Estes Prize, and we heartily congratulate her on this distinguished citation.

Former Athenaeum Board member John Milner was the focus of an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer regarding his work in Dalian, China. Milner's client, Dalian Common Property Development, wants to build 200 houses evoking 18th-century Philadelphia residences, but in downtown Dalian. To read the article and see images of the houses, click this link.  “A Philadelphia Touch in China Project”

Above Right: Cynthia Connolly.

Above Left: A house in Dalian, China designed by John Milner.

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

The October 1814 minutes of The Athenaeum report that John McAllister, Jr. became an Athenaeum subscriber that month.  His father, John McAllister, Sr. (1753-1830), a Scottish immigrant, opened a whip and cane shop on Chestnut St. in 1796.  He happened to purchase some imported spectacles and began selling them in his shop as well.  George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were among McAllister’s early customers.  The junior McAllister (1786-1877), took the business to the next level by offering vision testing and diagnosis in addition to supplying spectacles.  He ground the first cylinder lens in 1828, making it possible to correct astigmatism for the first time, and served as the manager of Wills Eye Hospital.   The company was the leading manufacturer of spectacles in the United States until about 1880, and three more generations of the family would serve as optometrists.

Left: McAllister's spectacle shop.  From the Baxter Panoramic Business Directory, 1859.


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First three Saturdays of the month: 11:00am-3:00pm (excluding July and August).



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Philadelphia, PA  19106 


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