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Registration for Programs

LECTURE: Ben Yagoda, The B-Side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley and the Rebirth of the Great American Song

Wednesday, March 2, 2016, 5:30 PM

Ben Yagoda talks about his new book, The B-Side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley and the Rebirth of the Great American Song.

Everybody knows and loves the American Songbook. But it’s less widely understood that shortly after WWII, this stream of great songs more or less dried up. Suddenly, what came over the radio wasn’t Gershwin and Porter, but “Come on-a My House” and “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?” Drawing from his new book The B Side, author Ben Yagoda explains how and why these changes came about. The talk will include musical selections.

Ben Yagoda is Professor of Journalism at the University of Delaware and the author of such highly-praised books as Will Rogers: A Biography, About Town: The New Yorker and the World It Made, and Memoir: A History.  Reception and book signing to follow.

This event has received generous support from the Alice Beardwood Lecture Fund

Free for Athenaeum Members.  RSVP by calling 215-925-2688 or emailing  All others, $10.

Qty Description Price
Yagoda Lecture Non-Member

Alvin Holm Lecture

John B. Murray, “Context, Character, and Purpose: The Synthesis of Design”

Thursday, March 10, 2016, 6:00 PM

Murray will speak about his process in developing his signature, award winning designs. The concepts of context, character, and purpose will be brought to light through four diverse projects that embody the practice of classical invention. Murray’s firm is committed to the traditional aesthetic – a simplicity of form and supreme craftsmanship.

John B. Murray grew up in Philadelphia and moved to New York City in 1979 to begin his architectural career. During his tenure at Parish-Hadley Associates, he discovered a love for residential architecture and began to refine his understanding and appreciation of the vital relationship between traditional architecture, interior design and decoration. Murray embarked upon his own practice in 1988, with the formation of Ferguson Murray Architects. The growth of his firm evolved into the founding of his own independent practice in 1997, John B. Murray Architect, LLC.

Co-Sponsored by The Institute of Classical Architecture and Art-Philadelphia

Free for Athenaeum and ICAA Members.  RSVP by calling 215-925-2688 or emailing

Qty Description Price
Alvin Holm Lecture Non-Member

LECTURE: Thom Nickels, Literary Philadelphia: A History of Poetry & Prose in the City of Brotherly Love

Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 5:30 PM

This talk will focus on some of the important writers who have lived in and around Philadelphia over the past two centuries, as well as some of the city’s most eccentric and notable early booksellers. Why was Philadelphia known as “Sin City” in the 18th Century? What about the fierce literary competition between Bayard Taylor and Walt Whitman? Or the swashbuckler writer George Lippard, or Edgar Allan Poe’s unlikely friendship with the Jesuits of what is now Fordham University? Nickels will look at the career of James Michener (as a youth he was the Bucks County version of Jack Kerouac), and touch on the mostly ignored artistic legacy of Agnes Repplier, “the Jane Austen of America” who once shared a bit of whiskey with Whitman.

Thom Nickels is a poet and the City Beat editor at ICON magazine, a weekly columnist for Spirit Newspapers, a blogger for the Huffington Post and the author of 11 books. He was the 2005 recipient of the Philadelphia AIA Lewis Mumford Award for Architectural Journalism. Reception and book signing to follow.

This event has received generous support from the Francis R. and Jean L. Grebe Lecture Fund

Free for Athenaeum Members.  RSVP by calling 215-925-2688 or emailing  All others, $10.

Qty Description Price
Nickels Lecture Non-Member

FILM AND DISCUSSION: Nathaniel Popkin (Hidden City) on “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment”

Wednesday, March 30, 2016, 5:30 PM

You may (or may not) have seen the latest episode in the Emmy-winning television series, “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment.” This chapter of the story, called “Disorder,” reconstructs the city in the 1830s and 1840s. Here is your opportunity to see it in the company of the principal writer, Nathaniel Popkin. Join us for a viewing followed by a discussion of “Disorder” and the entire “Great Experiment” project.

Nathaniel Popkin is the co-founder and co-editor of Hidden City Daily, an indispensable resource for anyone interested in Philadelphia, past, present, and future, and senior writer of the film documentary “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment.” He is the author of Song of the City: An Intimate History of the American Urban Landscape and the novel Lion and Leopard. His literary criticism appears regularly in the Wall Street Journal and the Kenyon Review. Joining Mr. Popkin in a panel discussion following the film will be Sharon Ann Holt, History Department, Penn State Abington, Caryn Hunt, President, PA NOW, and Dan Biddle, author of Tasting Freedom.  Reception and book signing to follow.

This event has received generous support from the Edith Ogden Harrison Lecture Fund.

Free for Athenaeum Members.  RSVP by calling 215-925-2688 or emailing  All others, $10.

Qty Description Price
Popkin Program Non-Member

201st Annual Meeting

Paul Hendrickson reports on his current book project: “Frank Lloyd Wright”

Monday, April 11, 2016, 5:30 PM

Paul Hendrickson teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Pennsylvania. For thirty years he worked in daily journalism, mostly at The Washington Post. He has won the National Book Critics Circle Award for his 2003 Sons of Mississippi. His most recent book, Hemingway’s Boat, was both a New York Times and London best-seller. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. His current project is a biographical portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright--not a conventional biography so much as selected storytelling pockets in a controversial life that spanned nearly a century.

This event has received generous support from the William Strickland Lecture Fund

Shareholders will receive an invitation.

Saturnalia Books Poetry Reading

Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 6:00 PM

Daisy Fried is the author of three books of poetry: Women's Poetry: Poems and Advice (University of Pittsburgh, 2013), named by Library Journal one of the five best poetry books of 2013, My Brother is Getting Arrested Again (University of Pittsburgh, 2006), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and She Didn't Mean to Do It, (University of Pittsburgh, 2000), which won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Award. For her poetry, she's received Guggenheim, Hodder and Pew Fellowships, as well as a Pushcart Prize and the Cohen Award from Ploughshares. She is a member of the faculty of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers, and also offers private workshops, tutorials, mentorships and manuscript critiques. She lives in South Philly.

Sandra Simonds is the author of Steal It Back (Saturnalia Books, 2016), The Sonnets, Mother Was a Tragic Girl, and Warsaw Bikini. Her poems have been anthologized in the Best American Poetry 2014 and 2015. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Granta, American Poetry Review, Chicago Review, Fence, and elsewhere. She is an assistant professor of English and humanities at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia.

Jason Zuzga is the author of Heat Wake (Saturnalia Books, 2016). He was born in Camden, NJ and grew up in the Philadelphia suburb of Cherry Hill, NJ.  His work has appeared in numerous journals including Paris Review, Tin House, and The Yale Review. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the English Department at the University of Pennsylvania, working on a dissertation about nature documentary and media.

Robert Ostrom is the author of Ritual and Bit (Saturnalia Books, 2016) and The Youngest Butcher in Illinois (YesYes Books, 2012). He teaches at New York City College of Technology and Columbia University, and lives in Ridgewood, New York.

Free.  RSVP by calling 215-925-2688 or emailing

SOCIETY HILL-HOT & HEALTHY!: Preventive Health and Nutrition

Thursday, May 5, 2016, 2:30 PM

Fran Burke, M.S., R.D.
Clinical Dietitian, Preventive Cardiology Program
University of Pennsylvania Health System

John J. Stern, M.D., F.A.C.P.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Pennsylvania Hospital
Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System

Lisa D. Unger, M.D., F.A.C.P.
Founding Director, Society Hill- Hot and Healthy!
Founding Director, Philly Is Walking In The Park

Free.  RSVP by calling 215-925-2688 or emailing

Accepted Credit Cards