Film stills from Thomas Paine: Revolution in America by Rick Feist (Clockwise from top left: Lewis Lapham, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Brooke Gladstone)

Film stills from Thomas Paine: Revolution in America by Rick Feist (Clockwise from top left: Lewis Lapham, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Brooke Gladstone)

Since 2009, the Library Company has been assisting documentary filmmaker Rick Feist with a project entitled Thomas Paine: Revolution in America, which explores the life and writings of Founding Father Thomas Paine. Paine’s revolutionary writings inspired Feist to create a documentary to educate viewers about the contemporary relevance of his ideas. The film includes readings of poignant passages from Paine’s works by prominent individuals, including Lewis Lapham, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Brooke Gladstone, and Kwame Anthony Appiah.

Nicole Joniec assisting Rick Feist with document photography.

Nicole Joniec assisting Rick Feist with document photography.

Feist has been conducting regular photo shoots at the Library Company to collect images from original editions of Paine’s writings, as well as contemporary illustrations. He is moved by the thought that the imprints from our stacks were read and handled by Library Company members and patrons over the course of almost 250 years since they were first published. Feist says he “hopes that the film can convey a sense of the awesome beauty of these historic pamphlets and newspapers. These words in these very printings changed the world. They are inspiring treasures, particularly in this world of ubiquitous electronic media.”

To thank the Library Company for our role in this project, Feist has generously donated the LED lights he purchased for his shoots. These lights will greatly increase the Library Company’s in-house photographic capabilities.

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