Library Company of Philadelphia Upcoming Events


Current Exhibition in the Library Company’s
Louise Lux-Sions and Harry Sions Gallery:

From November 11, 2016 through April 21, 2017, the Library Company of Philadelphia will have on display the exhibition Together We Win: The Philadelphia Homefront During the First World War. Co-curated by Reference Librarian Linda August and Curator of Prints and Photographs Sarah Weatherwax, this exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of America’s entrance into the war and the sacrifices and contributions Philadelphians made to the Allied cause. More specifically, the exhibition examines the role that the Library Company, its staff and its shareholders, played in supporting the war effort. Books, photographs, audio clips of World War I era music, home-made Allied flags, a scrapbook, and other ephemera will explore the story of the city and its residents during the war years and their immediate aftermath.


Save the Date

Thursday, June 22, 2017

4th Annual Lecture in Honor of John C. Van Horne
Ulysses S. Grant: A Fresh Look at American Leadership

5:30pm: Reception

6:30pm: Lecture with Ronald C. White

8:00pm: Private Dinner with Ronald C. White*

The Union League of Philadelphia
140 S. Broad Street

Ronald C. White refocuses American hero Ulysses S. Grant for the 21st century. Decisive yet self-effacing, overcoming multiple trials as a young man, Grant led the North to victory in the Civil War and then offered a surprisingly magnanimous peace to Robert E. Lee and the defeated South. In the politics of our day, full of cynicism and oversized personalities, White examines the life of the American Ulysses who points beyond himself to a panoply of enduring values.


*To attend the private dinner contact the Chief Development Officer, Raechel Hammer, at or 215-546-3181 for details

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Annual Business Meeting for Library Company Shareholders

5:00pm - 6:00pm

Shareholders will approve current nominations to the Board of Trustees, celebrate past year’s accomplishments and catch a glimpse of future initiatives.


Collector’s Discussion Featuring Michael Zinman & The Living Book: Exhibition Opening

6:00pm - 7:00pm

Reception to follow


The Library Company welcomes you to an evening featuring special remarks from renowned book collector and Library Company Emeritus Trustee Michael Zinman for his talk Life and Loves: adventures with books and booksellers (highly enjoyable and often successful); with women (entertaining but a non-starter in this environment); and with my epiphanies du jour (invariably disastrous); in all, a merry dessert for a merry evening.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Medical History Collection Tour


Free for Library Company Members/ $10 for Non-Members

Join us and the Library Company co-Director of the Visual Culture Program and Associate Curator of Prints & Photographs, Erika Piola has she shares some treasures from the medical history Collections. Graphic materials on display document over one hundred years of the visual culture of the history of American medicine between the 19th and 20th centuries. Visitors will see trade cards and other patent medicine novelty advertisements from our William H. Helfand Popular Medicine collection; a Civil War-era Southern cartoonist’s derisive perception of Northern medical practices; and the turn-of-the-twentieth-century personal album of early female physician Dr. Annie L. Conner (1876-1918) while a student at the groundbreaking Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Living Book Symposium

1:00pm - 5:00pm

Reception to follow

Free for Library Company Members / $15 for Non-Members

This half-day symposium, being held in conjunction with The Living Book exhibition, will bring together three experts to share their unique perspectives on the book. Mark Dimunation, Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress will present Ten Moments in the Stacks: A Curator’s View. Alice Austin, book conservator at the Library Company of Philadelphia will present Book Theater: The History of the Tunnel Book, and Russell Maret, a type designer and private press printer working in New York City will present Hungry Bibliophiles: An Experiment in Utilitarian Bookmaking.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Book Club: On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks

By: Simon Garfield

5:30pm - 6:30pm

Free for Library Company Members/$10 for Non-Members

Join us as we explore the unique way that maps relate and realign our history—and reflect the best and worst of what makes us human. In his book, Simon Garfield follows the history of maps from the early explorers’ accounts and the awe-inspiring medieval Mappa Mundi to Google Maps and the satellite renderings on our smartphones. Conservator Alice Austin will lead the discussion on select chapters from On the Map. There will also be a pop-up exhibition featuring some of the Library Company’s most fascinating maps. Light refreshments will be provided.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Juneteenth Freedom Seminar
Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge

6:00pm - 8:00pm

Reception to follow

This year, the Library Company will commemorate Juneteenth with a lecture by Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar, our own Director of the Program in African American History and the Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Black American Studies and History at the University of Delaware. Never Caught is the powerful narrative of Ona Judge, George and Martha Washington’s runaway slave, who risked everything to reach freedom. Though she lived a life of relative comfort, this was nothing compared to freedom, a glimpse of which she encountered first-hand in Philadelphia. So, when the opportunity presented itself, Judge left everything she knew to escape to New England. Yet freedom would not come without its costs. At just twenty-two years old, Ona became the subject of an intense manhunt led by George Washington, who used his political and personal contacts to recapture his property.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Civil War, Civil Rights: African American Women in Civil War-Era Philadelphia

5:30pm - 6:30pm

Reception to follow

In conjunction with the Library Company’s NEH Summer Seminar “What Did Independence Mean for Women: 1776 – 1876?” the Library Company is hosting a public lecture presented by prominent scholar Judith Giesberg, Professor of History at Villanova University. Professor Giesberg is the author of several books and the project director and lead editor of Emilie Davis’s Civil War: The Diaries of a Free Black Woman in Philadelphia, 1863-1865. Her presentation will discuss black women’s activism on the homefront during the Civil War, specifically addressing the variety of ways that African American women pushed civil rights and freedom of movement onto the wartime agenda of U.S. lawmakers.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Book Club: Author Talk: Literary Philadelphia

By: Thom Nickels

12:00pm - 1:00pm

$10 for Library Company Members/ $15 for Non-Members

The Library Company welcomes author Thom Nickels to discuss and answer questions about his book. Literary Philadelphia maps the history of several talented and well-known writers from Philadelphia and the places they lived, spent time, and set their literary works. From Quaker novelist Charles Brockden Brown to 1973 U.S. poet laureate Daniel Hoffman, Nickels explores Philadelphia’s literary landscape. Bring your lunch, and join us for this interesting author talk. Light refreshments will be provided.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

African American Musicians Collection Tour


Free for Library Company Members/ $10 for Non-Members


Library Company Print & Photograph Department Curator, Sarah Weatherwax, and Associate Curator of Prints & Photographs, Erika Piola will present special collection items highlighting the rich history of African American music in the late 19th century. Portraits, playbills, and programs providing a snapshot of the life and career of blind African American musician Thomas Wiggins, one of the most popular entertainers of the Victorian era will be on display. Visitors will also see a manuscript music book and published sheet music will illuminate the career of Frank Johnson, an African American musician from Philadelphia whose career included composing and performing music for audiences ranging from Queen Victoria’s court to the local black community.

The Library Company will observe the following
holidays in 2017:

Friday, April 14* Good Friday

Monday, May 29 Memorial Day

Tuesday, July 4 Independence Day

Monday, September 4 Labor Day

Thursday–Friday, Nov 23-24 Thanksgiving

Monday-Friday, Dec 25-29 Christmas




For more information on these events please call 215-546-3181 or email Clarissa Lowry,


For membership information, visit