Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Open Saturdays

To celebrate the popularity of our current exhibition “Genius of Freedom:  Northern Black Activism and Uplift after the Civil War” and to make it possible for more people to visit our gallery, the Library Company will be open from 10 am to 3 pm on the last Saturday of the month from February to June. Include the Library Company in your weekend plans on February 28, March 28, April 25, May 30, and June 27 and visit our newest exhibition focused on the strategies of African Americans in the North to claim their proper place in the post-slavery nation following the Civil War. 

Gutekunst Album Gift

In December, the Greer family gave the Library Company an oversized album of 19th century photos taken by Frederick Gutekunst. A native of Germantown, Gutekunst was a celebrated post-bellum photographer whose subjects included Walt Whitman, Thomas Eakins, and Woodrow Wilson.

The Greer album focuses on Gutekunst’s images of the Pennsylvania Railroad in the 1870s. These pictures magically capture the evolving Pennsylvania landscape during Reconstruction, especially the built environment of bridges, telephone poles, and train stations taking shape across the Quaker State. This gift extends our impressive Gutekunst holdings, which already include 142 stereographs of the Pennsylvania Railroad following the Civil War.

The photographs were in David Greer’s hands for more than two decades before he decided to donate them to Franklin’s library. “This is the right place for them,” he believes. “They will get the proper attention and use here.” The family was pleased with LCP’s plans to digitize the album and make its indelible images easily available online. This, Greer added, would offer a nice tribute to his father, David St. John Greer, a Navy Veteran and Drexel graduate who spent his entire working life on the Pennsylvania Railroad. 

February 28 Teachers Workshop

The Library Company is pleased to partner with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania for a teachers workshop that examines African American agency in procuring equal rights and freedom before and after the Civil War. First, teachers will examine Underground Railroad sources at the Historical Society and will then move next door to view “The Genius of Freedom” exhibition at the Library Company.  Throughout the morning, staff of both institutions will facilitate discussions on how to integrate primary sources into the classroom. Lunch, to be accompanied by a keynote address, is included. Teacher materials tied to the PA Core will be offered free of charge, as well as a new poster “Deep Roots, Continuing Legacy: Philadelphia in the Struggle for Civil Rights” produced by History Making Productions. Participants will be eligible for discounts on "The Genius of Freedom" T-shirts.

Saturday, February 28, 2015
9:30 am to 1:00 pm
$15 for nonmembers
$10 for HSP and LCP members, or with voucher from February Created Equal program.
Act 48/CEU Credits Offered

Guide to the Stranger Gets Noticed

When Wendy Woloson, guest curator of the Library Company’s 2012 Capitalism by Gaslight exhibition, selected an 1849 guidebook to Philadelphia’s seamy underbelly—A Guide to the Stranger —to exhibit, she may not have realized how much attention it would get.  
Subtitled Pocket Companion for the Fancy, Containing a List of the Gay Houses and Ladies of Pleasure in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, the guide was intended for men visiting Philadelphia.  It helpfully provides the locations and descriptions of the city’s brothels and rates the prostitutes who work in each. 
Once the exhibition was put on line in September, the Guide was featured in Slate.com’s history blog, the Vault and received recognition on PhillyNow.comPhiladelphia Magazine went so far as to post current photographic views of some of the spicier locations mentioned in the guide.

In December, the Philadelphia Daily News followed up with an interview of Curator of Printed Books Rachel D’Agostino about the Guide, the related items in our collections, and the ways the volume was distributed, understood, and used by contemporaries.  Read the complete text of the article.

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