Art & Artifacts

Discover the Library Company's Art and Artifact Collection

The Logan Room

Click Here for Panoramic View of the Logan Room courtesy of photographer Will Brown


About the Logan Room Art & Artifacts:



This bookcase is filled with the books most commonly imported from   England by colonial Americans. The collection of over 500 volumes was   assembled by Edwin Wolf 2nd (Librarian, 1955-1984) in the process of   writing The Book Culture of a Colonial American City: Philadelphia Books, Bookmen, and Booksellers (Oxford University Press, 1988) and given by him to the Library Company in 1989.  To be included in the collection, a book had to be ubiquitous in the estate inventories, booksellers’ advertisements, and private library catalogs on which he based his research. All of these titles were already in the Library Company, but in other editions which had long ago been rebound, whereas all the books in Wolf’s  collection are in original bindings.


The labels reflect the order in which the objects appear on the wall from left to right


Unknown maker

Lion’s Mouth Suggestion Box, ca. 1750. Painted tin.

Made for the Library Company in the 18th c.


Unknown maker

Seal of the Union Library, 18th century.

Acquired when the Union Library merged with the Library Company, 1769.


Philip Syng, Jr. (1703-1789) engraver; Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), designer.

Seal of the Library Company of Philadelphia, ca. 1731-1733. Brass.

Made for the Library Company, ca. 1731-1733.


Unknown maker

Magnifying mirror.

Made in London, 18th century.

Glass with mahogany frame.

Gift of Benjamin Franklin, 1743.


François Dumont (1751-1831)

Snuffbox with portrait of Benjamin Franklin.

Made in Paris, 1779.

Watercolor on ivory, tortoiseshell.

Gift of Stuart E. Karu, 2008.


Edward Duffield (1720-1801), engraver ; Joseph Richardson (1711-1784), struck by.
Peace Medal (from the Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with the Indians), 1757.
Purchase of the Library Company, 1962.


Unknown maker
Anti-slavery medallion.
Made in New Jersey, 1838.
Gift of Chris McCauley, 1996.


American Company of Booksellers
Silver medal award for the second best specimen of printing in 1804.
Purchase of the Library Company with the help of Joseph Felcone, 1997.


R & J Beck
Telescope. Brass, leather.

Source unknown.


G. Adams
English calipers or gunner’s compass.

Made in London.

Brass with steel tips.

Gift of Dr. Anthony N.B. Garvan, 1988.


Unknown maker
Proportional divider, scissors type.

Steel (or iron) with brass center pin.

Gift of Dr. Anthony N.B. Garvan, 1988.


Unknown maker

Folding artillery foot level.

Made in Paris.


Gift of Dr. Anthony N.B. Garvan, 1988.


Unknown maker

Three-part folding sector or Gunter’s scale. Brass.

Gift of Dr. Anthony N.B. Garvan, 1988.


Unknown maker

Drafting compass or dividers.

Iron or steel with brass tension knob and ivory top knob.

Gift of Dr. Anthony N.B. Garvan, 1988.


Unknown maker
Bi-fold ruler. Possibly Cooper’s rule or liquid volume measure.
Boxwood with brass hinges and point.
Gift of Dr. Anthony N.B. Garvan, 1988.


Young & Son
Diamond scale, balance type.      
Made in England.
Brass bowls and weights, steel balance with string. Mahogany box with a walnut or mahogany burl lid.
Gift of Dr. Anthony N.B. Garvan, 1988.


Anna Claypoole Peale (1791-1878)
Jacob Ridgway (1768-1843); Phoebe Anne Ridgway Rush (1799-1857); James Rush (1786-1869), 1829. Watercolor on ivory.

Bequest of Dr. James Rush, 1869.

Portrait miniatures of Library Company shareholder Dr. James Rush, son of Benjamin Rush, who bequeathed nearly a million dollars to the institution in 1869, his wife Phoebe, and his father-in-law Jacob Ridgway.



Coins from the cornerstone, ca. 1773-1788.

Deposited into the cornerstone at the Library Company’s Fifth Street building, 1789.


East Wall:

Thomas Birch (1779-1851)
New York Harbor- View of New York from Upper Bay Near Bedloes Island. Oil on canvas.

Bequest of Dr. James Rush, 1869.


Thomas Birch (1779-1851)

Philadelphia Harbor from the South, ca. 1840.  Oil on canvas.

Bequest of Dr. James Rush, 1869.


Thomas Sully (1783-1872) after Gustavus Hesselius (1682-1755)

James Logan (1674-1751), 1831. Oil on canvas.

Commissioned by the Library Company directors, 1831.

In addition to being William Penn’s secretary, he was a scholar and scientist. His library of 3,000 books reside in the Library Company.


Unknown maker

Meschianza Mirror, ca. 1760.

Walnut and gilt mirror with beveled edge.

Gift of Mrs. John Meredith Read, 1900.


Edward Duffield (1720-1801)
Tall case clock.
Made in Philadelphia, ca. 1760. Walnut.
Gift of  Pamela and Dr. Richard Alan Mones, 2003.


Unknown maker
Library tables.
Made in Philadelphia, ca. 1740. Pine.
Purchased by the Library Company, ca. 1740.


Peter Cooper  (w.c. 1698-1725)
South East Prospect of the City of Philadelphia, ca. 1718.

Oil on canvas.

Gift of George Mifflin Dallas, 1857.

This is the oldest surviving oil painting of any North American city. A numbered key identifies landmarks, and the artist has depicted himself sketching the scene in the lower left corner.


North Wall:

Unknown maker
Electrostatic machine (used by Benjamin Franklin), 1742-1747.
Glass, walnut, iron, leather.
Gift of Benjamin Franklin Bache, 1792.
Franklin discovered that lightning was a form of electricity by studying static discharges generated in this machine. The spinning glass globe produces a static electrical charge in the globe, creating miniature lightning flashes.


Samuel Collings (d. 1795)
Magnetic Dispensary,1790.

Oil on canvas. Source unknown.


John Harrison II (d. 1760), builder; John Winters,

painter, varnisher, and gilder

Air pump case, 1738-1739.

American white pine and glass.

Ordered by Benjamin Franklin and Hugh Roberts in  1738 to house the air pump given by John Penn.

William Penn’s son John (1700-1746) sent the library an air pump, in which experiments could be conducted in the vacuum created in hollow glass tubes. The following year the directors ordered this case to house the equipment.


Unknown maker
Glass tubes used in electrical experiments, ca. 1739. Glass.
Gift of John Penn, 1738.


Joseph Henzey (1743-1796)
Windsor chair. Made in Philadelphia, 1792.
Maple, mahogany, oak, poplar, hickory.
Purchased by the Library Company from Henzey, 1792.


Unknown maker
Music stand or reading desk (owned by John Dickinson), ca. 1775-1790.
Gift of Albanus C. Logan II, 1870.


Unknown maker
Library Company fire bucket, 1797. Leather.
Purchased by the Library Company, 1797.


Thomas Sully (1783-1872)
Joseph Fisher, Optician, 1828. Oil on canvas.
Bequest of Joseph Fisher, 1864.
Library Company shareholder Joseph Fisher was an optician. In 1864 he bequeathed this portrait, his private library, and $50,000.



South Wall:

Unknown maker
Urn, ca. 1789.
Taken from the Library Company’s 5th Street building (1789-1888).


Unknown maker
William and Mary secretary desk (owned by William Penn).
Made in England, ca. 1680.
Oak with mahogany veneer.
Gift of John Jay Smith, 1873.
This writing desk, with small drawers and cubby holes for documents, was owned by William Penn. In 1827, while owned by Nathaniel Coleman, a silversmith of Burlington, New Jersey, it was seen by antiquarian John Fanning Watson. He described it as “in very old & unsightly condition,” but it still had its mirrors, ball feet, and drop-handle pulls. [See illustration on the back.]


Thomas Sully (1783-1872)

Charlotte Cushman (1816-1876), 1843. Oil on canvas.

Bequest of Anne Hampton Brewster, 1892.

Cushman was the first internationally acclaimed American actress. She commissioned this portrait when she was the stage manager of Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre.



West Wall:


James Peale (1749-1831)
Still Life with Peaches, ca. 1824-1831.

Oil on canvas.

Bequest of Dr. James Rush, 1869.


George Bacon Wood (1832-1910)

Philadelphia Library (Library Company at 5th Street), 1875.

Oil on canvas.

Deposit from the Atwater Kent Museum/Historical Society of Philadelphia, 2009.


Unknown maker

Breakfront bookcase.


Gift of Mrs. Louis Brugiere, 1965.


William Rush (1756-1833)

Dr. Benjamin Rush (1746-1813).

Painted plaster.

Bequest of Dr. James Rush, 1869.

Library Company shareholder Dr. Rush was a noted

physician, statesman, and abolitionist.


Thomas Sully (1783-1872)

Zachariah Poulson (1761-1844), 1843. Oil on canvas.

Commissioned by the Library Company directors, 1843.

Poulson was a printer, newspaper publisher, and Library Company director from 1785-1806.


John Neagle (1796-1865)

Mathew Carey (1760-1839), 1825. Oil on canvas.

Gift of Mrs. Mary Hudson, 1991.

Library Company shareholder Matthew Carey was a prominent Philadelphia publisher and economist.


William Rush (1756-1833)

Dr. Philip Syng Physick (1768-1837), before 1813. Painted plaster.

Source unknown

Library Company shareholder Physick was a physician and teacher born in Philadelphia and is often called the father of American surgery.


Benjamin West (1738-1820)

The Reverend Samuel Preston (c. 1717- 1803), 1797. Oil on canvas.

Gift of Elizabeth West (Mrs. Benjamin West), 1804.

In 1803, the Rev. Dr.  Preston, rector of Chevening in Kent, bequeathed over 2,500 volumes to the Library Company. It is possible that the artist of this portrait, Benjamin West, may have induced him to give his library to our institution, or he may have met Benjamin Franklin, who visited Chevening in 1774.


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