NEWS: August 2010

Vol. 3, No. 8

In This Issue:

Banner Image: The Athenaeum in 1898.  From the book Chess in Philadelphia... by Gustavus Charles Reichhelm (Philadelphia, 1898).


Reminder: The Athenaeum will be closed for Labor Day on September 6th.


Banner Image: The Athenaeum in 1898.  From the book Chess in Philadelphia... by Gustavus Charles Reichhelm (Philadelphia, 1898).


New Books for August

Athenaeum Bookshelf  08-2010

Summer Interns And Volunteers

Summer remains a busy time for the Athenaeum, and again this year the Athenaeum has benefited from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) work study program administered by Temple University and from the Peterson Intern funds, which are part of a bequest to the Athenaeum from Charles E. Peterson. Temple University students Ashley Alberta, Brittany Koch, and Brittany Tracy have spent the summer helping with cataloging, circulation of books, and transcription of historical documents. Peterson Intern Susan Laverty has created an electronic version of our Share History ledgers. As of this writing, 900 of our 1500+ shares are now searchable by shareholder and date. A junior at Arcadia University, Susan also has inventoried and scanned 35mm slides in preparation for their posting to the PAB website.

Also from Arcadia University this summer is volunteer Hiroki Kato, who re-housed, inventoried and labeled more 300 rolls of drawings from the Albert W. Leh architectural drawing collection. Hiroki and all of our interns have pitched in to make room for growth in our reference collection by moving the architectural periodicals to the third floor and freeing up precious shelf space on the second floor. By summerís end they will have accomplished the first major shift of books and periodicals in the Busch Room since the reference collection moved there in 1993.

Our year round volunteers, members John Fatula and Mary Ellen Weber, continue to work regularly during the summer. John brings his book arts skills to preparing custom-made, acid-free boxes for the bound photographs in the T. P. Chandler, Jr. Collection. Mary Ellenís faithful work with PastPerfect and the object collection continues to aid us in recording and interpreting the Athenaeum museum collection.

Thank you to all of our volunteers!


Top: Brittany Tracy, Ashley Alberta and Brittany Koch.

Bottom: Hiroki Kato and Susan Laverty.

Photos by Jim Carroll.


Athenaeum Holdings To Be Included In ESTC

In late June, Henry Snyder, director, and Brian Geiger, Assistant Director of the Center for Bibliographical Studies & Research, were in Philadelphia prior to the annual meeting of the American Library Association. They met with Dr. Tatman and Athenaeum Cataloger Lois Reibach to discuss the possibility of the Athenaeum contributing holdings information to the English Short-Title Catalog (ESTC), which is a catalog of materials printed in English prior to 1801. The Athenaeum is delighted to be included in this project. In order to share our holdings, a file containing 1804 bibliographic records for items published in the appropriate time period was generated in MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloging) format and emailed to ESTC staff, where the file will be examined and holdings added. The ESTC can be explored at

This addition represents a major step in making the Athenaeumís rare book holdings accessible to researchers, many of whom would not necessarily think of the Athenaeum for 18th century books and periodicals.


Above: Plate 65 from A Parallel of the Antient Architecture with the Modern. London: D. Brown, 1707. 


Right: Title page from Britania: or, a Geographical Description of the Kingdoms of England, Scotland & Ireland...London: Richard Blome, 1673.

Member Critics

Margaret Atwood. The Year of The Flood. New York: Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2009.


With this book, prize-winning Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood has made a fine addition to the growing shelf of early 21st century post-apocalyptic novels. The setting is a bleak world in the throes of ecological, political, and economic disaster. If you donít believe Atwood is commenting on current events, you just havenít been paying attention to reports from the Arctic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, Wall Street, Washington, Moscow, or Brussels!

The novel revolves around a New-Age-y religious community called The Gardeners. The story advances in a succession of patterned blocks. Each block contains a hymn from The Gardnerís imagined hymnal, then a sermon by the sectís leader, then an event narrated by a chief character, next the same event (or an overlapping one) by another character. Slowly, the reader begins aware of change: an advancing storyline, maturation and growth in the characters. Early on, for instance, I found The Gardnerís founding guru something of a manipulative fraud; by the end, I experienced him as compassionate, forgiving, and wise. I suspect Atwood worked change not only in the character, Adam One, but also in me.

I found the book to be a page-turner. But not an easy read, and certainly not for a reader who does not enjoy being challenged. 


Submitted by Richard Ullman.


Do you have a book that you loved (or hated), and would you be willing to share that opinion on the Athenaeum e-newsletter?  If so, please send your short essay to


Save the Date:  

September 8: Opening Reception for Theophilis P. Chandler Jr., Portrait of An American Architect exhibition, 5:30pm

September 14: Socrates Cafe, 11:00am

September 30: Edmund De Waal, The Hare With Amber Eyes. Lecture and book signing, 5:30pm


See the Event Calendar for details and additional events.


The Athenaeum is open 9:00AM to 5:00PM, Monday-Friday and the first Saturday of the month from 10:00AM to 2:00PM (excluding the summer months). The building is accessible to persons with disabilities.  Group tours and research visits are by appointment only. Please visit our website for more information, or call 215-925-2688.


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