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Exhibitions and Events

Together We Win: The Philadelphia Homefront during the First World War. November 11, 2016 to April 21, 2017. Free and Open to the Public. Monday through Friday, 9:00AM to 4:45 PM. Description: Poster Image of soldier holding a stack of books.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 

Reception: 5:30pm

Lecture & Book Signing: 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Lecture and Book Signing

Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America, Harvard University Press, 2016

David J. Silverman, Professor of History, George Washington University

The Library Company of Philadelphia

This event is co-sponsored by the American Philosophical Society's Center for Native American and Indigenous Research.
The adoption of firearms by American Indians between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries marked a turning point in the history of North America’s indigenous peoples—a cultural earthquake so profound that its impact has yet to be adequately measured. Thundersticks reframes our understanding of Indians’ historical relationship with guns, arguing against the notion that they prized these weapons more for the pyrotechnic terror they inspired than for their efficiency as tools of war. Native peoples fully recognized the potential of firearms to assist them in their struggles against colonial forces, and mostly against one another.

“A good measure of a work of history is whether it changes the way we understand its subject. By that measure, David J. Silverman succeeds admirably in Thundersticks” -- Thomas E. Ricks, The New York Times Book Review

“Silverman’s compelling rediscovery of the ‘gun frontier,’ imaginatively conceived and deeply researched, is must reading.  -- Daniel K. Richter.

Research for Thundersticks was supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Library Company, and by a Library Fellowship and a grant from the Phillips Fund for Native American Research at the American Philosophical Society.    

Copies of the book  will be available at 20% off!


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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Reception: 6:30pm

Lecture & Book Signing: 7:00pm - 8:00pm

"God Never Meant for Me a Slave": The Soul Value of American Slavery

Daina Ramey Berry, Ph.D.

From the moment of birth and before, those invested in buying and selling human beings put a price tag on enslaved people. This fiscal marker served as a projection of future worth as well as a monetary value of a market price.  Regardless of what the figure meant, enslaved people created their own system of valuation that neither the auctioneer nor enslaver could control. Exploring enslaved people’s inner spirits expressed in plantation records, newspapers, testimonies, and letters brings us to an entirely different system of values which are the focus of this presentation.

About the Speaker

Professor Daina Ramey Berry, award-winning author and historian, is an Associate Professor of History and African and African Diaspora Studies and the Oliver H. Radkey Regents Fellow in History at the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining the faculty at UT Austin, she taught at Michigan State and Arizona State Universities. She completed her BA, MA, and PhD in History, African American Studies, and US History at UCLA. Dr. Berry is a specialist in the history of gender and slavery in the United States with a particular emphasis on the social and economic history of the nineteenth century.

  In addition to her scholarly writing and editing, Dr. Berry has appeared on several syndicated radio and television shows including NPR, NBC, PBS, C-SPAN, and the History Channel. In 2010 she was on the season finale of “Who Do You Think You Are?” (NBC) where she reconstructed the genealogy of director, actor, and producer Spike Lee. In 2013 she appeared with Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Harvard University) on Episode Two of “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” (PBS). She is an advocate for public history and served as one of the technical advisors for the remake of the Roots mini-series, which aired in the summer of 2016.

Copies of Dr. Berry's most recent book, The Price for their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from the Womb to the Grave, in the Building of a Nation (Beacon Press, 2017) will be on sale after the lecture. 


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Saturday, February 11, 2017 2pm

PAFA Performances: The Music of World War I

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts,
118 North Broad Street

$10 Library Company and PAFA members. $25 general admission

Co- sponsored by the Library Company and the 
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Public radio host and Peabody Award winner Michael Lasser, who has been talking about popular music as social history for over thirty-five years, turns his expertise to the time of World War I, when songs like the military-themed anthem "Over There" reflected the imaginations of a country newly at war. Accompanied by live performances of some of the most notable songs from the period, his approach is richly musical, anecdotal, insightful, often amusing, and just as often emotional.


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Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12pm - 1pm

Book Club: Regeneration

The Library Company of Philadelphia

Free for Library Company Members

$10 for Non-members

Join us for our first Library Company book club! Together We Win exhibition curators will lead the discussion on Pat Barker’s Regeneration. In 1917, the decorated war hero, Siegfried Sassoon, publicly refused to continue fighting in World War I. Classified as "mentally unsound," Sassoon was sent to a war hospital to regain his "sanity." This work of historical fiction explores the psychological effects of World War I and medical and mental health treatments during the era. We invite you to bring your lunch and spend an hour with us examining this powerful book.

Purchase Regeneration

Borrow Regeneration


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Saturday-Sunday, March 11-12, 2017

Citizen Artists: World War I and the Creative Economy Symposium

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts,
118 North Broad Street

Saturday March 11, 9am - 5pm
Sunday March 12, 10am - 1pm
$50 for PAFA members. $75 general admission
Registration includes a Saturday evening reception with cash bar and hor d'oeuvres. Choice of tour can be made during the registration process.

In partnership with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

This two-day symposium examines the creative contributions of American artists and citizens before, during and after World War I. Conversations will consider the relationship between military conflict and visual culture, the deployment of everyday citizens in the pursuit of national agendas through art and art-making, evolving racial and gender roles, and the interminglings of memory and mythology in understanding our own history. Tours with local cultural partners will expand the conversation into other disciplines through the examination of special World War I related collections around the city in smaller groups. Interested attendees will have the opportunity to visit the Library Company and participate in a curator-led tour of the Together We Win exhibition from 4 to 5pm on Saturday.


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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Private gallery tour of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ exhibition World War I and American Art

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts,
118 North Broad Street

Library Company members are invited to a special tour of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ groundbreaking exhibition which explores the ways in which American artists reacted to the First World War. Seventeen posters from the Library Company’s collection will be on display in the exhibition.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Women Visionaires and the Care of Older Persons, 1817 to the Present

Historical Society of Pennsylvaina

1300 Locust Street

Pop-up exhibition, “Women Growing Old in America” will be open until 6:30 p.m., before the program at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. This program is co-sponsored by the Ralston Center and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Go to the Historical Society of Pennsylvaina's calendar to learn more.

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The Library Company will observe the following holidays in 2016/2017:

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - Monday, January 18
George Washington's Birthday - Monday, February 15
Good Friday: March 25
Memorial Day - Monday, May 30
Independence Day - Monday, July 4
Labor Day - Monday, September 5
Columbus Day - Monday, October 10
Thanksgiving - Thursday, November 24 & Friday, November 25
Holiday Closure: Monday, December 26, 2016 to January 1, 2017 (normal hours resume Monday, January 2, 2017)


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