In this issue:

Banner Image: Detail of a watercolor of the Athenaeum by Frederick Fermor, c. 1981.

Membership    ·    New Books    ·    Event Calendar

Banner Image: Detail of a watercolor of the Athenaeum by Frederick Fermor, c. 1981.

Upcoming Events

Socrates Cafe Discussion Group
Tuesday, August 11, 11:00 AM. More Information. RSVP to

Socrates Cafe Discussion Group
Tuesday, September 8, 11:00 AM. More Information. RSVP to

Grandparent’s Day Workshop
Saturday, September 12, 1:00-3:00 PM.  Exploring Books-Telling Your Story with Mary Elizabeth Nelson. Free for grandparents (or parents) accompanied by a child, but reservations are required and space is limited.  RSVP to or 215-925-2688.   More Information.

Laurel Hill Cemetery Tour
Sunday, September 13, 2:00-4:00 PM  “Lovers of Learning: The Athenaeum and Laurel Hill Cemetery" A Tour of Laurel Hill Cemetery with an emphasis on Athenaeum members, led by Athenaeum member and Laurel Hill volunteer Kerry Bryan. $12. More Information and registration.

Genealogy Workshop
Wednesday, September 16, 2:00-4:00 PM. More Information. RSVP to or 215-925-2688.  Athenaeum Members Only.

Writers' Group
Wednesday, September 16, 6:00-8:00 PM.  This is an opportunity for writers of fiction (short stories, novels, novellas) and creative non-fiction (memoirs, personal essays).  Please contact Concha Alborg for further information and to RSVP

Summer Building Repairs

As you know, summer has been the traditional time for the Athenaeum to undertake major repairs to the building. Last year the Grand Stair was repaired, repainted, and re-carpeted, and this year we plan to tackle refinishing the floors in the Reading and Chess Rooms. Movers will arrive on August 17th to begin the heavy task of moving furniture from the two rooms into the Busch Room. A painter will re-paint the Chess Room that week, also. Then, on August 24th, the main work on the Reading Room floor will begin with the arrival of heavy plastic protection for the bookshelves. We anticipate that the challenge of these two floors will take most of two weeks, with movers returning after Labor Day to reset the furniture.

During this time book circulation will be moved to the DuBarry Conference Room on the first floor. However, if fumes become too strong, the Athenaeum may be forced to close for a few days so that staff can be protected.  Please watch your e-mail for any notifications during that time.

The first Athenaeum program for the fall season will be the opening of the "City Abandoned" exhibition on Friday, September 11th, 5 - 7 PM, with remarks by the author/photographer Vincent Feldman. All floor work should be finished by that date.

Thank you for your patience.

Exhibition Opening: City Abandoned: Selected Photographs by Vincent D. Feldman

Based on his book City Abandoned, Philadelphia photographer and Pew Fellow Vincent D. Feldman, has selected 28 large-format black and white prints to illustrate the stories of local buildings erected in one age, then neglected in another. Also included in the exhibition will be several Feldman installations that address the on-going urban themes of monotony, migration, violence, and disaster. 

Opening Reception: September 11, 5:30-7:30PM

Remarks by Vincent Feldman at 5:30pm. Free. RSVP to or 215-925-2688.

Exhibition Dates: September 11- October 31, 2015.

National Education Association Founded in the Athenaeum

On August 26th, 1815, the Athenaeum hosted a meeting spearheaded by the Philadelphia Board of Public Instruction, which rented what was then our large back room, a space now divided into offices. According to the NEA website []: 

"On a summer afternoon in 1857, 43 educators gathered in Philadelphia, answering a national call to unite as one voice in the cause of public education. At the time, learning to read and write was a luxury for most children—and for many children of color, it was actually a crime."

Even in this early period, only 10 years after the Athenaeum moved into its permanent home, the organization was supporting the cause of education and community welfare.



The Athenaeum has received special funding for the following memorials:

Irvin J. Borowsky Book Fund, established by Laurie Wagman,

Donations in honor of Evelyn Cleff, established by Bernie Cleff and with donations from friends and family.

If you would like to add your own donations to these funds, please contact Rebecca Daniels, Membership Assistant, at 215-925-2688 or

Top: Irvin Borowsky and Laurie Wagman.

Bottom: Evelyn Cleff



Monday-Friday:  9:00am-5:00pm

Saturday: 11:00am-3:00pm (excluding July and August).



219 S. 6th Street

Philadelphia, PA  19106 


The building is accessible to persons with disabilities.  

Group tours and research visits are by appointment only. 


The Athenaeum does not share this mailing list.  

You can Subscribe or Unsubscribe at the Athenaeum website.

To read past issues, visit the Newsletter Archive.