Library Company Programs


The Library Company’s Program in Early American Economy and Society (PEAES) is dedicated to promoting scholarship in, and public understanding of, the origins and development of the early American economy, broadly conceived, encompassing business, finance, commerce, manufacturing, labor, political economy, households and gender, and technology. PEAES programs include research fellowships for both junior and senior scholars, a monograph publication series with Johns Hopkins University Press, publication of conference proceedings as special issues of scholarly journals, seminars throughout the academic year, a regional survey of manuscript and printed resources in economic history, and the acquisition, cataloging, and conservation of thousands of printed materials to augment the Library Company’s existing rich collections. With its public programs such as the annual conference PEAES wishes to extend these resources to as wide an audience as possible, and to engender a broad discussion of the Program’s themes.

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  • Promotes the use of historical images as primary source material in studying the past

  • Disseminates information about the collection, interpretation, and care of historic visual material

Scholars and the public are increasingly aware of how important visual images can be for understanding the past. No longer considered secondary to written texts, visual images are taking their rightful place as primary evidence documenting how people lived. The Library Company has a rich collection of visual materials ranging from the most humble pieces of printed ephemera to large and stunning hand-colored plates in books and panoramic photographs.

Through an ongoing series of events intended for collectors, dealers, historians, curators, and the interested public, the Visual Culture Program offers a forum for exchanging information and reflecting on historical images.

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Generously funded by a grant from The Albert M. Greenfield Foundation, our new Program in African American History is focused on making the history of the African American experience in the United States more accessible to the public. This initiative builds on one of our greatest subject strengths; our African Americana Collection comprises over 13,000 titles and 1,200 images from the mid-16th to the late-19th centuries. It includes books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, broadsides, and graphics documenting slavery and abolitionism in the New World; descriptions of African American life throughout the Americas; and the printed works of black individuals and organizations.

For almost forty years, the African Americana Collection has helped nurture and sustain the research and scholarship that has firmly established African American studies within academia and popular culture, and we look forward to this new initiative continuing and expanding that tradition.

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Women's History Program

The Library Company of Philadelphia’s Program in Women’s History promotes greater awareness of women throughout history. Program initiatives include:  offering research fellowships; identifying significant materials in the collections; acquiring additional materials; providing in-depth cataloging; developing exhibitions; organizing public programs; and working directly with researchers, educators, and public historians. In the Library Company’s collections, women are documented in every aspect of public and private life, as well as being the subjects in artwork and printed texts. The Women’s History Program is committed to the ongoing work of “recovering” women’s history since women often have been omitted or marginalized in historical narratives.

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