208th Annual Report
2022 - 2023
To Shareholders, Subscribers, and Friends of The Athenaeum of Philadelphia:
As your new Board President, I am pleased to present this Annual Report for The Athenaeum of Philadelphia for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2023. I am honored to help lead The Athenaeum at this exciting juncture of its 209-year (and counting!) history as one of Philadelphia’s finest institutions for cultural exploration and on-going learning.
During this past fiscal year, we completed our renovations and the restoration of the exterior of our National Historic Landmark to much fanfare and awards. The growth in membership, volunteer engagement and enthusiastic participation in the Athenaeum’s daily life and regular programs attest to the success of these efforts. The reports contained in this online Annual Report provide compelling evidence of the vitality of The Athenaeum’s mission.
The Athenaeum’s staff, led by the incomparable Beth Hessel continues to provide a wide array of services to our shareholders, members and the public. Library circulation is growing. Access to our archives is increasing and our programming is dynamic and innovative. Our building is well and carefully maintained. We are fortunate to have staff leadership that is dedicated to ensuring The Athenaeum is a welcoming and valuable resource to our community.
At our April Annual Shareholders Meeting, we welcomed five new members to our board: Jeffrey Cohen, Ph.D., who has been faculty in the Growth & Structure of Cities Department at Bryn Mawr College since 1990; Nancy Moses, who recently finished a long stint as Chair of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission; Matt Rader, 37th President of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society; Bernard M. Resnick, Esq., an entertainment attorney; and Ralph Rosen, Ph.D., the Vartan Gregorian Professor of the Humanities and Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania since 1983. These five new members join a strong board of dedicated Athenaeum shareholders with a wealth and breadth of experience. It is a pleasure to serve with all of them.
During the coming year, the board and staff will be offering you new opportunities to grow with The Athenaeum and to support its unique role as a nurturer of communities of intellectually engaged learners.
With deep appreciation for your continued engagement,
Jeffrey Cooper, President
The Athenaeum of Philadelphia
Dear Athenaeum Members and Friends,
The Fiscal Year that ended June 30, 2023 and is represented in this annual report was one of growth and celebration.
With your support of the 21st Century Athenaeum Campaign, we completed interior renovations designed by KieranTimberlake on time and on budget (whew!) and celebrated our reopening with a marvelous 21st Century Athenaeum party. With support from a generous grant from the William B. Dietrich Foundation and the skilled leadership of Kreilick Conservation, LLC, our beloved National Historic Landmark building’s exterior received much needed care - a restoration that has since received many kudos and awards from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia and Preservation Pennsylvania.
These efforts made clear that making space for community, for connection, for learning and for study is so important. You have made The Athenaeum a uniquely active home, bustling with students, readers, writers, knitters, artists, adventurers and more on your intellectual pursuits. Your enthusiasm for the music, movies, lectures, learning and small group encounters that happen at 219 encourages your staff to provide the very best for you and our wider community.
From expanded eBook, juvenile, book-in-translation and graphic novel collections, to new exhibition space, new events like Member Mondays and a member lounge that welcomes you with good coffee, the daily papers and gracious staff, there is more than ever to explore and enjoy at The Athenaeum.
Deep gratitude to each of you who supported The Athenaeum this past year. Your historic library depends on your financial gifts to support staff, infrastructure and programming. Although The Athenaeum was affected by the nationwide downturn in charitable giving last year, so many of you continued to give generously to the Fall Annual Appeal, the special Spring Matching Gift Campaign, and throughout the year to ensure we ended the year on budget. Thank you!
A Shout out to all of our wonderful Student Interns and Volunteers!
MLIS student intern Caitlyn Stewart, Drexel Co-op student Erin White and Mt. Holyoke student Anastasia Branas contributed to our collections work this past year.
Bonnie Slobodien with Allegro Music Consultants, Michele Brogan, MK Carmichael, Francine Cohen, Irene Connolly, Jonathan Eells, Elena Flynn, Lisa Flynn, Barbara Gold, Barbara Gorman, Fred Manfred, Ryan Miller, Liz Murray, Marion & Mike Pulsifer, Joan Rollins Tropp, Dane & Joan Wells and Sherley Young helped make our 2nd Annual Sunday in the Square Concert in Washington Square a success.
Thank you to the many members and friends posed for our professional post-renovation photos in March 2023: Damarius Amaya, George Demiris, Barbara Grabias, Jixin Jia, Sylvia Lieberman, JoAnne Miller, Lynn H. Miller, Nancy Moses, Lisa Primavera, Judith Robinson, Carol Rosenblat, Yael & Soloman Salama, Paul L. Schraeder and Court van Rooten.
Not least are the many members whose service on Board committees in Fiscal Year 2023 increased our ability to fulfill our mission to nurture curiosity and strengthen community: Helen-Ann Comstock; Mike Eeley; Jane Fischer; Tim Haas; Adrienne Hart; Mary Hawkesworth; David Hollenberg, FAIA; Jean Hollowell; Ed Jakmauh, FAIA; William Jantsch; Eva Loeb; Ted Robb; Franklyn “Lee” Rodgers; Nancy Rogo, FAIA; Suzanne Root; Kathy Moses Shelton; Samuel Streit and Daniel Traister.
If I have missed any names, please let me know. If you would like to join our growing team of volunteers who help at the front desk and events, please reach out to our staff and see your name in the Fiscal Year 2024 report.
The reports contained in this report provide a snapshot of life and work at The Athenaeum from July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023. Enjoy!
Beth Shalom Hessel
Beth Hessel, Ph.D., Executive Director
‘Pemi Aguda, Front Desk Assistant
Jim Carroll, Director, Regional Digital Imaging Center
Fiona Dawson, Development Database Administrator
Christina Doe, Building Supervisor
Tess Galen, Administrative and Events Assistant
Bruce Laverty, Gladys Brooks Curator of Architecture
Jill LeMin Lee, Librarian
Miranda Meketon, Assistant Librarian
Alexa Perillo, Development & Membership Associate
Lois Reibach, Resource Description and Access Librarian
Valerie Roche, Front Desk & Membership Assistant
Jeffrey Cooper, President
Joan Countryman, Vice-President
Adele Gorrilla, Vice-President
Michael Horgan, Treasurer
Lynn Schwartz, Secretary
Richard Bartholomew, FAIA, FAAR
Jeffrey Cohen, Ph.D.
F. Scott Donahue, Esq.
Robert E. Linck
Hon. Gregory P. Montanaro
Bernard M. Resnick, Esq.
Ralph Rosen, Ph.D.
David B. Rowland
Lea Carson Sherk
Robert Morris Steiner, M.D.
John Otto Haas
James F. O’Gorman, Ph.D.
Francis R. Grebe