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Exhibitions and Events


Logo for Common Touch: The Art of the Senses in the History of the Blind is a multimedia exhibition that looks at historical embossed and raised-letter documents for the visually impaired as a starting point for a multi-sensory exploration of the nature of perception. Inspired by her research in the Library Company’s Michael Zinman Collection of Printing for the Blind, artist-in-residence Teresa Jaynes will curate an exhibition on display April 4 – October 21, 2016 that combines her own original works with historical collections that document the education of the blind in the 19th century.

April 4 - October 21, 2016

Exhibition Hours: M-F, 9:00 am to 4:45 pm

Major support for Common Touch: The Art of the Senses has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Pew Logo WHYY Logo


The T in LGBT

Monday,Octoboer 17, 2016

Reception: 5:30pm -6:15pm

Library Company of Philadelphia,

1314 Locust Street

Lecture: 6:30pm -7:30pm

William Way Center,

1315 Spruce Street

Jen Manion, Associate Professor of History at Amherst College, is researching transgender and gender-nonconforming people in early America for a new book tentatively titled, “Born in the Wrong Time: Transgender Archives & The History of Possibility, 1770-1870.” People designated female at birth challenged the boundaries of gender in every sphere of life: at home and at work, at war and at play, at sea and on the road. Only on the eve of Civil War did such actions become increasingly criminalized, laying the legal foundation for the devastating psychological stigma that sexologists and criminologists would impose on transgender and gender-nonconforming people in the 20th century.

Jen believes that knowledge of the past is an important tool for social justice movements in the present. Their first book, Taking Back the Academy: History of Activism, History as Activism (Routledge, 2004) looks at colleges and universities as sites of social justice work, both inside and outside the classroom. Their second book, Liberty’s Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America (UPenn, 2015) examines the way racialized and gendered ideologies of freedom, resistance, and dependency shaped the nation’s first penitentiary. Manion has published essays in TSQ: Transgender Studies QuarterlyQED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, and Radical History Review.

Join us on Monday, October 17th for a reception at the Library Company followed by Prof. Manion’s talk at the William Way Center. Don James McLaughlin, who collaborated with Connie King on the Library Company’s 2014 exhibition “That’s So Gay,” will be the commentator in the Q & A session after the talk.


This program is part of #PastPresentPride, a free two-part lecture series exploring sexual identity in literature and media, and the history of transgender and gender-nonconforming people, hosted by the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. You can learn more about the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s lecture at


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,