Monday, February 23, 2015

2nd Annual Library Company Lecture in Honor of John Van Horne

On April 8, Library Company members will gather at the Union League of Philadelphia for the 2nd Annual Library Company Lecture in Honor of John Van Horne. The annual series honors the former Library Company director who served for over 29 years at the helm of the organization. This year’s speaker will be historian Margaret MacMillan whose recent book The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 was written to coincide with the 100th anniversary of World War I.

John Van Horne served as the chief executive officer of the Library Company from 1985 to 2014. During his tenure, he established a Research Fellowship Program for doctoral candidates and senior scholars, oversaw the automation of the library’s catalogs, and expanded the physical plant with the renovation of the Cassatt House. He has published more than a dozen articles and has edited or co-edited numerous books, including several volumes of The Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, an edition of the journals, correspondence, and drawings of the great early American architect and engineer published by Yale University Press. Dr. Van Horne has been President of the Independent Research Libraries Association and has served on the boards of the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary and the National Humanities Alliance. He is an elected member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Antiquarian Society.

Margaret MacMillan is one of the world’s leading authorities on World War One. She is the Warden of St Antony’s College and a professor of international history at the University of Oxford. Her books include Women of the Raj (1988, 2007); Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World (2001) for which she was the first woman to win the Samuel Johnson Prize; Nixon in China: Six Days that Changed the WorldThe Uses and Abuses of History (2008); and Extraordinary Canadians: Stephen Leacock (2009). Her most recent book is The War that Ended Peace. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Senior Fellow of Massey College, University of Toronto, Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, University of Toronto and of St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford, and sits on the boards of the Mosaic Institute and the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, and the editorial boards of International History and First World War Studies. She also sits on the Advisory Board Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation and is a Trustee of the Rhodes Trust.

She has honorary degrees from the University of King’s College, the Royal Military College, The University of Western Ontario, Ryerson University, Toronto and Huron University College of the University of Western Ontario. In 2006 Professor MacMillan was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Save the date for this special celebration. Library Company members will receive a printed invitation with more details shortly. We hope to see you there!

Teacher's Guide to The Genius of Freedom

Although exhibitions rotate through our Louise Lux-Sions and Harry Sions Gallery, many find new lives as online exhibitions. K-12 teachers reference and utilize these online resources, and to encourage further classroom use, we are creating a teacher’s guide for our current exhibition The Genius of Freedom: Northern Black Activism and Uplift after the Civil War.  

The guide will make selected items from the exhibition available to teachers to incorporate into their lessons. We have assembled a team of master teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels who are developing engaging, standards-based lessons inspired by the rich mix of artworks, documents, and books that comprise The Genius of Freedom.

Amy Cohen, who incorporated Library Company materials into Temple University’s recently released study guide for Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America, serves as the initiative’s project manager. Cohen,  Director of Education at the documentary film company History Making Productions, brings twenty years of experience as a social studies teacher to the project.

Our hope is that educators in and beyond Philadelphia will use the teacher’s guide as a way to focus students’ attention on African American in the North following the Civil War – a much overlooked topic. If you know a teacher who might benefit from this resources, please spread the word!

Library Company Shows Off its German-American Folk Art

Dieses Neue Gesang buch…..Watercolor and ink, Probably Bedminster Township, Bucks County, PA, ca. 1830.

As part of Philadelphia’s three-month long celebration Framing Fraktur, the Library Company has a small selection of our printed and manuscript fraktur on exhibition through May 22, 2015. From birth certificates to bookplates, these gems of folk art illuminate the German-American experience in early America. Other holdings from our German-Americana collections are showcased. Pennsylvania German liturgical bindings are on display to tell the story of Chief of Conservation Jennifer Rosner’s effort to create an historic model of these unique bindings.

Framing Fraktur, a city-wide initiative, will feature exhibitions at area institutions, workshops, and lectures. "Fraktur and the Everyday Lives of Germans in Pennsylvania and the Atlantic World, 1683-1850," a symposium sponsored by the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, will be held March 5-7, 2015. For a complete calendar of Framing Fraktur events, please visit:

Digital Humanities Outreach: Turning Library Records into Data Workshop

One of the hallmarks of the Digital Humanities is collaborative education and outreach. The Library Company continues to work with digital managers and support staff among area colleges, cultural organizations and museums. This past December LCP’s Information Technology manager Nicole Scalessa collaborated with Laurie Allen, Coordinator for Digital Scholarship and Services at Haverford College, to organize a program entitled “Turning Library Records into Data: A Conversation & Workshop.” Nicole and Laurie called upon their colleagues Doreva Belfiore, Digital Projects Librarian, Temple University; Nabil Kashyap, Librarian for Digital Initiatives and Scholarship, Swarthmore College; and Delphine Khanna, Head of Digital Library Initiatives, Temple University, in planning the workshop at the Cassatt House.

This half-day event invited librarians and archivists to discuss ways to expose their online collections to interpretation and analysis by digital humanities scholars, students, and local hackers, and to make those collections easily mappable.  The workshop began with a session featuring examples of discussion of data-sharing methods at various librarie and was followed by group discussion about planning and implementation strategies. “What is data?,” "What can we usefully export from our various systems?,” and “Once I’ve opened my data, where should I put it?” were just a few of the questions presenters addressed. Another session focused on using geospatial data to make collection records accessible to a wide array of online users.

The event was attended by nearly 30 participants and marked the first time that a Library Company event was available online via live stream. Comments from this event may be viewed on Twitter at #glamdataphilly, and portions of the broadcast will be published on our YouTube channel in the spring.

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