I have just returned from Cincinnati where I joined nine other directors of membership libraries from across the country to share ideas, triumphs and failures, all in the cause of pooling our knowledge to make our libraries better.
The nine other directors included representatives from the Charleston Library Society (SC, established 1748); New York Society Library (NY, est. 1754); Boston Athenaeum (est. 1807); Salem Athenaeum (MA; est. 1810); Portsmouth Athenaeum (NH, est. 1817); Cincinnati Mercantile Library (OH, est. 1835); Providence Athenaeum (RI, est. 1836); Lanier Library Association (Tryon, NC, est. 1889); and the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library (La Jolla, CA, est. 1899). The group meets every year in the fall, and this year Albert Pyle from Cincinnati showed off the renovation of the Mercantile Library space in downtown Cincinnati.
Next year we will meet at the New York Society Library, where Mark Bartlett will tour us through the oldest library in New York City.
If you are interested in learning more about the history of membership libraries in the United States, read
America’s Membership Libraries, edited by Richard Wendorf, the former director of the Boston Athenaeum.
Our own Athenaeum is represented by an essay by Roger W. Moss, beautifully illustrated with Tom Crane photographs as well as images from our collections.
Reminder: The Athenaeum will close at noon on November 24th, and will be
closed on the 25th and 26th for Thanksgiving.
Image: Rendering of the U. S. Treasury Building, 1838. Thomas Ustick Walter,
Architect. T. U. Walter Collection.
Group photo of the directors of the nine libraries represented at the 2010
Membership Libraries Group meeting in Cincinnati.
New Books for November
to Philadelphia in 1794, William Russell Birch (1755-1834) would become the
first artist successfully to publish engraved view books in the United
States. He arrived with a letter from Benjamin West and with a successful
publication, Delices de la Grande Bretagne, a series of 36 engraved views
of picturesque settings after such artists as West, Joshua Reynolds, and Thomas
Gainsborough. Although he immediately found some success as a copyist of
portraits by the reigning portrait painters of the time, Birch never lost his
desire to create picturesque views based upon the American experience, and in
1800 he published The City of Philadelphia, a series of 28 views which
would become the touchstone for future artists, engravers, and architects
desiring to present images of the city. The success of this set of
large-format prints encouraged Birch to undertake The Country Seats of the
United States of North America, published in 1808. Birch's reputation
has chiefly rested on these two publications, but there is much more to learn
about his life and career.
When: December 3, 2010
Program: 9:15am - 5:00pm
Reception and exhibition opening to
General Registration: $100
with valid ID: $25
here to register and view the full invitation
Detail of Frontispiece, "The City & Port of Philadelphia on the River
Delaware from Kensington." From William Birch, The City of
Philadelphia...(W. Birch, 1800).
Rybczynski Lecture and Book Signing
Rybczynski, Makeshift Metropolis: Ideas About Cities
Prize-winning author, Meyerson Professor of Urbanism at the University of
Pennsylvania, and architecture critic Witold Rybczynski draws upon a lifetime of
observing cities to craft an insightful book that is both an intellectual
history and a provoking critique. In Makeshift Metropolis, he
describes how current ideas about urban planning evolved from several movements:
City Beautiful, Garden City, and the influences of both Frank Lloyd Wright and
Wednesday, November 17, 2010, 5:30 PM
Free to members. RSVP to Susan Gallo at 215-925-2688 or firstname.lastname@example.org
click here to register
latest work by noted architectural historian Pamela Scott was released this fall
by the Treasury Historical Association. Fortress
of Finance: The United States Treasury Building is a comprehensive history
of the building that sits just a few feet east of the White House in Washington
DC. Ms. Scott did extensive research
for the book in the Athenaeum’s Thomas Ustick
Walter Collection where she found the photograph that graces her book’s
cover. In addition, she verified
that a long-unidentified watercolor architectural rendering in the Walter
Collection was in fact an 1838 unexecuted design for the Treasury Building (See
the banner image of this newsletter).
Da Vinci Art Alliance Presents:
A Reading Between The Lines:
Prose, Poetry and the Power of One Voice
Athenaeum member Jax Peters Lowell, a poet, novelist and winner of the 2010 Leeway Foundation Transformation Award,
will read from her forthcoming memoir An Early Winter.
Introduction by Novelist Cordelia Frances Biddle
Friday, December 10th, 2010
701 Catherine Street, Philadelphia
Above: Jax Peters Lowell.
6: First Saturday, Athenaeum open
6: Children's Programs, 1:00-4:00pm
9: Joan Roberts Lecture on architect T. P. Chandler at St. Asaph's Church,
here for details.
9: Socrates Cafe, 11:00am
17: Witold Rybczynski Lecture and Book Signing, Makeshift Metropolis: Ideas
Calendar for details and additional