Thursday, November 3, 2011

On-line Exhibition Celebrates 40 Years of the Print Department

On September 13, 1971, Stephanie Munsing began work as the Library Company’s first Curator of Prints and Photographs. The library had been collecting graphics for a long time and Ms. Munsing’s appointment was public recognition of the significance of our visual materials and the need to provide intellectual and physical control over these collections. Forty years later the Print Department is an integral part of the library with knowledgeable staff offering assistance to both scholars and the general public in the use of graphic materials, researching and publishing about the collection, and leading the library into the digital age.  Most recently, the Visual Culture Program was created to further support the use of visual material in historical scholarship and interpretation.  

To celebrate this 40th anniversary, Curator of Prints and Photographs Sarah Weatherwax put together an on-line exhibition that looks back over the last four decades. This exhibition highlights important gifts received, as well as purchases made, and celebrates the many exhibitions and projects spearheaded by the Print Department. The collection has grown, the staff has increased, and our accomplishments have multiplied. The next 40 years are promising!

Above: Benjamin F. Smith, Jr. and John W. Hill.  Philadelphia from Girard College - 1850 . Tinted lithograph. New York, Francis Smith, 1850.

Click here to view Celebrating 40 Years: The Library Company’s Print and Photograph Department, 1971-2011.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Two Emmys for “A Taste of History”

For “A Taste of History,” the television series that explores America’s culinary roots, City Tavern Chef Walter Staib immerses viewers in the dishes and cooking techniques of the nation’s founders as a way into the historical context. Prints, maps, broadsides, pamphlets, and engravings from the Library Company’s collections are used extensively to help illustrate the show’s larger themes. The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences acknowledged Staib’s skill with a Best Host Emmy Award in September and bestowed an additional award upon show director James Davey. 

“We use food as a way to bring history to life,” says producer Ariel Schwarz. In each episode, Staib explores the origins of featured recipes and ingredients to unearth their stories. Past episodes have been taped in significant historic locations, such as Philadelphia’s Rittenhousetown, the banks of the Delaware River at Washington’s Crossing, and Monticello. In each case cooking leads to a larger examination of such subjects as Martha Washington’s contributions at Valley Forge, the Washingtons’ well-known slave-chef Hercules, or the operation of Jefferson’s gardens and kitchen.

“A Taste of History” airs Sunday afternoons on WHYY and PBS NJN.

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