from the Executive Director,
Well, the hot days of July are upon us, and many Athenaeum members have left the city for cooler climates. Replacing the footsteps of our members, however, are the many tourists who flock to the Athenaeum during the summer to see the building and to enjoy the gallery exhibition. This year’s exhibition “Enchanting Simplicity: Children’s Book Illustration Past and Present” has so far attracted viewers from Boston, Iowa City, Alberta, Canada, and Paris, France. In addition to the expected procession of parents and children, we have found a number of adults who write in our Visitors’ Book that they remember some of the books and illustrations from their own childhood and value this opportunity to re-visit a happy time. Some are even spurred to go home and search out their old books, long shelved or boxed to be out of the way. We are delighted to offer this opportunity for reminiscence and re-discovery, but we are also extremely pleased to hear comments from our members and others who have discovered collections for reading and research that they did not know existed in the Athenaeum. Athenaeum legacy and donated collections encompass much more than just the architectural research items for which we are best known. We have literary scholars visiting us for our holdings on Jane Austen, as well as cultural historians who are delighted to find books of household tips, menus, and recipes. We have book artists discovering inspiration for their contemporary work by examining specific books here. The scope of our collections is really quite broad and quite searchable through our Online Public Access Catalog found on the Athenaeum website. If you have discovered a “hidden treasure” at the Athenaeum, please share your experience, and we might want to publish your story in our e-newsletter. Send your stories to Sandra L. Tatman, at
Tall Case Clock, Seneca Lukens, 1828.
The Athenaeum will be closed on July 3
and 4 for Independence Day. Also, first Saturday hours are suspended for
the summer and will resume with the first Saturday in October.
Athenaeum Member Wins Book Award
Lost in the Museum: Buried Treasures and the Stories They Tell (AltaMira Press) by Athenaeum member Nancy Moses has received a 2008 Book of the Year Gold Medal in the Popular Culture category in
ForeWord Magazine's annual competition. ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Awards were established to bring increased attention to the literary and graphic achievements of independent publishers and their authors.
ForeWord is the only review trade journal devoted exclusively to books from independent houses. One of the chapters in
Lost in the Museum features the dome of the United States Capitol, part of the Athenaeum’s Thomas Ustick Walter Collection. This chapter recounts the story of the Walter Collection’s journey from a Colorado bunkhouse to the archival collections of the Athenaeum. Other chapters visit the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Historical Society of
Pennsylvania, the Barnes Foundation, and the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. Our congratulations to Nancy Moses!
of Capitol Dome, Thomas Ustick Walter, architect, 1855. Thomas Ustick Walter
Collection, The Athenaeum of Philadelphia.
St. Mary's Students Visit The Athenaeum
In late May Donna Bridy, art teacher for St. Mary Interparochial School, brought her classes over to see the “Enchanting Simplicity” exhibition of children’s book illustration in the Athenaeum’s gallery. St. Mary Interparochial School is located at 5th and Locust streets and is an easy walk for students to reach the Athenaeum. Ms. Bridy last brought an eighth grade class to the Athenaeum in fall 2008 when Athenaeum member Gordon Converse introduced them to the intricacies of our Lukens clock in the Busch Room. For this visit Dr. Tatman discussed children’s book illustration, especially showcasing The Library Battle, a book produced by Michael Pisano when he was 14 years old. Inspired by the work from the gallery, St. Mary students designed Father’s Day cards in the style of book illustrations. The Athenaeum welcomes small classes from community schools to its gallery and building.
Athenaeum Executive Director Sandra Tatman with the St. Mary's students.
Courtesy Donna Bridy.
Athenaeum Hosts "Tracing The
On June 30, The Athenaeum, in cooperation with the Philadelphia Department of Records and the Philadelphia Archaeological Forum, made a series of presentations entitled “Tracing the Land: Review and Introduction of on-line resources for property research in Philadelphia.” The meeting included presentations of the Athenaeum’s
Greater Philadelphia GeoHistory Network www.philageohistory.org; the
Philadelphia Parcel Explorer, which provides digital access to historic deed registry maps; a new subscription based system for accessing
Philadelphia Land and Vital Records and www.PhillyHistory.org for City Archives photos. In addition, presentations were made by James Duffin and Torben Jenk, who demonstrated how the new digital resources support their research on colonial Philadelphia. With attendance limited
to 50, the meeting was subscribed within 24 hours of the announcement. As
a result, additional information sessions are planned for the fall so that our
diverse projects may be integrated to expand our understanding and
interpretation of Philadelphia history.
Athenaeum Staff Member Exhibits Art in
staff member Denise Fox will be displaying her quilts in The Art of the Quilt,
an exhibition at the Home Fine Art Gallery in Mount Holly, New Jersey. The
exhibition also includes the work of Kathryn Morrison and Lynne Blackman. All
are members of the Moorestown Area Quilter's Guild. The show will feature a variety of styles from the quilters, from traditional self-created patterns to contemporary works.
exhibit will run from July 1-26, 2009. For more information visit: www.homefineart.org
14: Socrates Cafe, 11:00am
Calendar for details and additional