Slavery’s Constitution: From Revolution to Ratification
(October 14, 2009)
David Waldstreicher, Professor of History at Temple University and author of Runaway America and In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes, will discuss his new book which explores the impact of slavery on the United States Constitution.
This event, presented by the Library Company’s Program in African American History and co-sponsored by the National Constitution Center, is open to the public free of charge. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-546-3181.
Juneteenth Freedom Forum
(June 19, 2009)
This Juneteenth Freedom Forum event featured three area scholars discussing the African American struggle for freedom in the era of the Civil War and beyond.
Dr. Robert Francis Engs, Professor of History (retired) University of Pennsylvania, “Who Freed the Slaves? The black Revolutionary Struggle for Freedom.”
Dr. Elizabeth Varon, Professor of History and Associate Director, Center for the Humanities, Temple University, “From Appomattox to Juneteenth: Lee’s Defeat and the End of Slavery.”
Dr. Randall M. Miller, Professor of History, St. Joseph’s University, “Juneteenth, Before and After: African American Freedom Celebrations, Historical Memory, and Contemporary Activism.”
LCP 2009 Annual Meeting
(May 12, 2009)
Same Old or New Old? Twenty-first Century Thinking About Nineteenth-Century Collections
(May 12, 2009)
Kenneth Finkel, Distinguished Lecturer in Temple University’s American Studies
Program and former Library Company Curator of Prints and Photographs, presents a talk with slides entitled “Same Old or New Old? Twenty-first
Century Thinking About Nineteenth-Century Collections”
Watch Video Online (FLV) - with corresponding slides.
Peter Collinson and the Eighteenth-Century Natural History Exchange
(April 15, 2009)
Elizabeth P. McLean, garden historian and Library Company Trustee (and former President), speaks about her new biography of Peter Collinson, co-authored by Jean O’Neill. Collinson -- a London Quaker, a draper by trade, and a passionate gardener and naturalist by avocation -- was a facilitator in natural science, disseminating botanical and horticultural knowledge. He found clients for the Philadelphia Quaker farmer and naturalist John Bartram at a time when the English landscape was evolving to emphasize trees and shrubs, and the more exotic the better. Thus, American plants came to populate great British estates as well as the Chelsea Physic Garden. Collinson was a member of the Royal Society who encouraged Franklin’s electrical experiments and had the results published, he corresponded about myriad natural phenomena, and he was ahead of his time in understanding the extinction of animals and the migration of birds. Though a man of modest Quaker demeanor, because of his passion for natural science, he had an unprecedented effect on the exchange of scientific information on both sides of the Atlantic.
Co-sponsored by the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania
Clash of Extremes: The Economic Origins of the Civil War
(March 19, 2009)
Author Marc Egnal challenges the orthodoxy that the Civil War began for moral reasons, contending that more than any other concern, the evolution of the Northern and Southern economies explains the sectional clash. Egnal is Professor of History at York University and the author of several books, including A Mighty Empire: The Origins of the American Revolution.
The Women of the Republican Court Revisited
(March 11, 2009)
An evening event in the spirit of Martha Washington! As part of the Library Company's Visual Culture Program, Curator of Women's History Cornelia King brings to lfe the women depicted in Daniel Huntington's painting The Republican Court; or, Lady Washington's Reception Day (1861). The group portrait includes Martha Washington, Dolley Madison, Anne Willing Bingham, Harriet Chew Carroll, and many others who had public roles in the 1790s, when Philadelphia was the nation's capital. The image captures a nostalgic understanding of the early years of the country, and continues to stimulate interest in women's public roles in early American history. This Women's History Month event also celebrates the publication of Re-framing Representations of Women, edited by Susan Shifrin, whose "Picturing Women" exhibition inspired us to study the portraiture of these remarkable women.
Ed Pettit, the “Philly Poe Guy”: Edgar Allan Poe and the Philadelphia Gothic Tradition
(February 19, 2009)
An intriguing glance into the world of Philadelphia Gothic literature, where writers such as Charles Brockden Brown, George Lippard, Robert Montgomery Bird, and Edgar Allan Poe flourished. Ed Pettit, a freelance writer, book reviewer and literary provocateur, will examine the connections these writers had with one another and reveal how Philadelphia Gothic became one of the most influential sub-genres in American Literary History.
Presented in conjunction with the Library Company’s exhibition Philadelphia Gothic: Murders, Mysteries, Monsters, and Mayhem Inspire American Fiction, 1798-1854.
Maurice Jackson: Let This Voice Be Heard: Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism
(February 5, 2009)
(February 5, 2009)
In celebration of Black History Month, the Library Company’s Program in African American History and the University of Pennsylvania Press present Maurice Jackson, Assistant Professor of History at Georgetown University, to discuss his new biography of the man who led Quaker antislavery sentiment into a broad-based transatlantic movement.
Christopher Looby, "The Paradox of Philadelphia Gothic"
(October 29, 2008)
In the first half of the 19th century, Philadelphia spawned a literary tradition of Lurid Crime, Weird Hallucination, Brooding Supernatural, and Sheer Horror - largely the work of three forgotten novelists. This exhibition resuscitates Charles Brockden Brown, Robert Montgomery Bird, and George Lippard through early editions of their works and oil portraits never before exhibited, and puts them in the company of Edgar Allan Poe, who absorbed their themes and obsessions while he lived in Philadelphia - the birthplace of the Gothic tradition in American literature. Speaker: Christopher Looby, Professor of English, University of California at Los Angeles.
Thomas Slaughter, The Beautiful Soul of John Woolman
(October 14, 2008)
John Woolman (1720-1772), a Quaker tailor from New Jersey, had an extraordinary commitment to attaining self-purification through the rejection of slavery, war taxes, and rampant consumerism. Though not a famous politician, his persuasive ideals influenced the likes of fellow Quakers, social reformers, labor organizers, and peace advocates. Through Woolman’s essays and Journal, first published in 1774, historian Thomas P. Slaughter illuminates Woolman’s transformation from a humble idealist to a prophetic voice for the Anglo-American world.
Thomas P. Slaughter is Professor of History at the University of Rochester and is the author of several books, including The Whiskey Rebellion and Exploring Lewis and Clark. He is the Editor of the Library of America edition of William Bartram: Writings and Drawings and of Thomas Paine: Common Sense and Related Writings.
Juneteenth Event: Featuring Richard Newman (June 19, 2008)
Freedom’s Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers by Richard S. Newman is a long-overdue biography of Richard Allen (1760–1831), founder of the first major African American church and the leading black activist in the age of Washington and Jefferson. A tireless minister, abolitionist, and reformer, Allen inaugurated some of the most important institutions in African American history and influenced nearly every Black leader of the 19th century, from Frederick Douglass to W.E.B. Dubois. The book restores Allen to his rightful place in history as one of America’s “Black Founders.”
2008 LCP Annual Dinner: Dr. Richard J. Blackett (May 5, 2008)
Richard J. Blackett is a historian of the abolitionist movement in the U.S.
and particularly its transatlantic connections and the roles African Americans played in it. He is the author of Building an Antislavery Wall: Black Americans in the Atlantic Abolitionist Movement, 1830-1860 (1983); Beating Against the Barriers: Biographical Essays in Nineteenth-Century Afro-American History (1986); Thomas Morris Chester: Black Civil War Correspondent (1989); and Divided Hearts: Britain and the American Civil War (2001).
At present he is working on a study of the ways communities on both sides of
the divide organized to support or resist enforcement of the 1850 Fugitive Slave
Law, and the ways that slaves, by escaping, influenced the politics of slavery.
Blackett has taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Indiana University, and the
University of Houston, where he was the John & Rebecca Moores Professor of
History and African American Studies. He has been Associate Editor of the Journal of American History and is also past president of the Association of Caribbean Historians.
Talking Prints: a Conversation With Donald Cresswell & Christopher Lane (April 3, 2008)
The Library Company’s Visual Culture Program got off to a rousing start with our April 3rd program, “Talking Prints: A Conversation with Donald Cresswell and Christopher Lane.” Seventy-five people spent the evening at the Library Company enjoying food and drink and the company of others who share an interest in historical prints. Don and Chris, owners of the Philadelphia Print Shop in the Chestnut Hill section of the city, provided lively commentary about their quarter-century in the print business and their experiences as experts on the Antiques Roadshow program on PBS, and each spoke eloquently about his favorite historical American print. Don described the significance of “The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation before the Cabinet,” a large engraving executed in 1864, while Chris captured the audience’s attention with his discussion of John Hill’s 1808 “Plan of the City of Philadelphia and Environs.” Questions and comments from audience members enlivened the conversation. The success of the Visual Culture Program’s inaugural event has set a high standard for our future programs to meet.
2007 LCP Annual Dinner: Dr. Francois Furstenberg
Former Library Company Fellow François Furstenberg speaks about his book, In the Name of the Father: Washington’s Legacy, Slavery, and the Making of a Nation, released in paperback by The Penguin Press.
François Furstenberg grew up in Boston and Washington, D.C. After graduating from Columbia University, he worked for several years in Paris before earning a Ph.D. at The Johns Hopkins University. He was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in U.S. history at Cambridge University for one year, after which he moved to Montreal, where he is currently assistant professor of history at the Université de Montréal.
In the Name of the Father is Professor Furstenberg’s first book. It draws on the research he conducted at the Library Company and on many images from the collections of the print department and examines how the young American nation was bound together by the words, image, and myth of George Washington. It immerses us in the rich, riotous world of “civic texts,” the patriotic words and images circulating throughout the country in newspapers, almanacs, books and primers, paintings, and even the homeliest domestic ornaments.
In the Name of the Father teems with vivid stories of American print culture, including a consideration of Parson Weems, the hack biographer-cum-bookseller who authored the first blockbuster Washington biography. Professor Furstenberg shows us how the civic texts of the early republic infused Americans with national spirit and how they created what Abraham Lincoln so famously called “the mystic chords of memory.” But he also examines the darker side of the process of nation-creation: how early American nationalism ultimately reconciled itself with slavery, with consequences that haunt us still.
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