The Library Company of Philadelphia Reading Rooms
will be closed on the following dates:

Thursday, March 28, 2019 all day for the PEAES Conference

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 until 2:00 pm for the Stylish Books Symposium

The Library Company follows the policy of the School District of Philadelphia for all weather related closings and delayed openings. Please continue to check our website for current information.

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Upcoming Events

Mar
28
Thu
2019
Making a Republic Imperial
Mar 28 @ 9:00 am – Mar 29 @ 8:00 pm

Making a Republic Imperial 


Thursday, March 28, 2019


The Library Company of Philadelphia


1314 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA


Friday, March 29, 2019


McNeil Center for Early American Studies


3355 Woodland Walk, Philadelphia, PA




How and why did the newly independent United States become an empire?  The answer to this question is not obvious. Before the American Revolution, the colonies and the continent beyond them were spaces of contest, collaboration, and competition among European empires, Native American powers, and enslaved and free African Americans. The founding generation of the early republic added its own imperial ambitions to this mix, revealing competing visions for the new nation, intense debate in the new citizenry about whether and how quickly the republic should expand, what role it should play among international states, and what its character and purpose should be. Some began calling their nation an “empire” almost as soon as they started calling it a republic, while others wondered if the idea of an expansive republic was a contradiction in terms. Yet in just seven decades, the fledgling republic had become an imperial juggernaut with ambitions to rule a continent and beyond. By the 1840s, the United States had refined its tools for dispossessing Native peoples and asserted a political economy grounded in black enslavement. It had conquered an immense amount of territory and claimed the Pacific Ocean as its western boundary, while setting its imperial sights upon regions, peoples, and resources much further afield.


At this conference, six panels of scholars will use empire as an analytical framework for thinking and writing about the early republic. They will employ a wide variety of methods and approaches to investigate how and why the new nation became an empire, and to explore the meaning and utility of empire as a category of analysis for understanding the history of the early republic.




Conference Program


Additional Conference Details 




THURSDAY, MARCH 28


All sessions at the Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust Street, Philadelphia


9:00–9:45AM             Registration & Coffee


9:45–10:00AM           Welcome


Cathy Matson, PEAES and University of Delaware


Daniel K. Richter, McNeil Center and University of Pennsylvania


10:00–11:30AM         Indigenous Sovereignty and the Ambitions of U.S. Empire


Chair: Michael Blaakman, Princeton University


Emilie Connolly, New York University
“Strategies of Succession and the 1797 Treaty of Big Tree”


Lauren Brand, Southern Nazarene University
“Facing West in Indian Country”


Garrett Wright, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
“Ambassadors to the Federal City: Central Plains Indians Discover the American Empire”


Comment: Elizabeth Ellis, New York University


11:30AM–12:00PM   Break


12:00–1:30PM            Industry, Trade, and the Imperial State


Chair: Cathy Matson


Susan Gaunt Stearns, University of Mississippi
“Selling the West: Frontier Merchants and Imperial Authority, 1780-1811”


Lindsay Schakenbach Regele, Miami University of Ohio
“How the National Firearms Industry Helped Make an Early Republic Empire”


Alicia Maggard, Williams College
“Pacific Mail, Industrial Empire: Building U.S. Power in the Pacific”


Comment: Honor Sachs, University of Colorado, Boulder


1:30–3:00PM              Lunch on your own


3:00–4:45PM              Knowledge Production and the Tools of U.S. Empire


Chair: Alexandra Montgomery, University of Pennsylvania


Tisa Wenger, Yale University
“Making Settler Secularism: Morse’s Geographies and American Religion”


Sveinn Jóhannesson, University of Cambridge
“Scientific Knowledge and Empire in Jacksonian America”


Michael Verney, University of New Hampshire
“Selling Empire: Publishing and Presenting Naval Imperialism in the Early American Republic, 1842-1860”


Comment: Ned Blackhawk, Yale University


4:45–5:00PM              Keynote Introduction


Emily Conroy–Krutz, Michigan State University


Michael Blaakman, Princeton University


5:00–6:00PM              Keynote Speaker


Kathleen DuVal, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
“Debating Empire, Race, and Nation in the Early Nineteenth Century”


6:00–7:00PM              Reception


  


FRIDAY, MARCH 29


All sessions at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, 34th and Sansom Streets, Philadelphia


9:00–9:45AM             Registration & Coffee


9:45–11:30AM           Race, Slavery, and Geographies of Empire


Chair: Emily Conroy–Krutz, Michigan State University


Nancy Gallman, McNeil Center and Lewis & Clark College
“Unmaking an American Republic: Settlers, African Americans, and Constitutional Law in the Spanish Florida Borderlands”


Brandon Mills, University of Colorado, Denver
“From a Settler Empire to a Global Empire: Reconsidering the African Colonization Movement”


Scott Heerman, University of Miami
“Freedom in Chains: U.S. Empire, the Illegal Slave Trade, and the Case of East Texas, 1836-1845”


Comment: Rashauna Johnson, Dartmouth College


11:30–11:45AM          Break


11:45AM–1:30PM     Law and the Politics of Imperial Expansion


Chair: Bethel Saler, Haverford College


Jessica Choppin Roney, Temple University
“Inalienable: The Limits of an Empire Based Upon Natural Rights”


Julia Lewandoski, University of California, Berkeley
“An Empire of Indian Titles: Private Land Claims in Early American Louisiana, 1803-1840”


Camille Suarez, University of Pennsylvania
“This Land is Not Your Land: The Land Claims Act of 1851, Unratified Treaties, and the Dispossession of Californios and Native Americans”


Comment: Sarah Rodriguez, University of Arkansas


1:30–2:30PM              Lunch on your own


2:30–4:00PM              Imperialism and Its Discontents


Chair: Andy Shankman, Rutgers University-Camden


Margot Minardi, Reed College
“Pax Americana? The Imperial Ambivalence of American Peace Reformers”


Nick Guyatt, University of Cambridge
“Imperialism and the American Imagination”


Amy Greenberg, Pennsylvania State University
“When No Means No: The Question of Consent in the Ideology of Manifest Destiny”         


Comment: Rosemarie Zagarri, George Mason University


4:15–5:00PM              Closing Remarks                  


Michael Blaakman, Princeton University


Emily Conroy-Krutz, Michigan State University


5:00–6:00PM             Reception








The Program in Early American Economy and Society at the Library Company of Philadelphia, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Department of History at Princeton University, and Iona College’s Institute of Thomas Paine Studies are pleased to co-sponsor this two-day conference bringing together scholars of imperialism in its multiple early North American forms and spaces.








Apr
3
Wed
2019
Stylish Books Symposium
Apr 3 @ 8:15 am – 12:45 pm
Stylish Books Symposium @ The Library Company of Philadelphia | Philadelphia | PA | US

Stylish Books Symposium


Wednesday, April 3, 2019


The Stylish Books: Designing Philadelphia Furniture exhibition examines the Library Company’s collection related to furniture making in Philadelphia, illustrating the influence of books and showing style changes over time. Printed designs spread new ideas. Artisans, as well as their patrons, relied on books as a way to learn about the latest fashions in interior decoration. Books, periodicals, and advertisements generated consumer desire for these goods.  The symposium will further explore and expand on how printed books impacted and inspired furniture design and style. Participants will enjoy talks from expert scholars and have an opportunity to view the exhibition. We hope to encourage and stimulate thought and conversation on this topic. Join us for an exciting day of research and discovery.


More about the Symposium 




Schedule:


8:15-9:00AM:


Registration and light breakfast


9-9:15AM:


Welcome


Dr. Michael Barsanti, Edwin Wolf 2nd Director, Library Company of Philadelphia


Linda August, Curator of Art & Artifacts, Library Company of Philadelphia


9:15-10:15AM:


Keynote address


The Divergent Paths of Two Masters of British 18th-Century Design, Thomas Johnson and Thomas Sheraton


Brock Jobe, Professor Emeritus of American Decorative Arts, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library


10:15-10:45AM:


Break


10:45-12PM:


Chippendale’s Director. The Rise of Print and Promotion in 18th-Century England


Femke Speelberg, Associate Curator of Historic Ornament, Design and Architecture in the Department of Drawings & Prints, Metropolitan Museum of Art


Thomas Chippendale’s Director in America: Popularity, Parody, and Perseverance


Alyce Englund, Assistant Curator of American Decorative Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art


12-12:45


From Design Book to Design–The Philadelphia Cabinetmakers’ Companions and Guides, 1750-1800


Alexandra Kirtley, Montgomery-Garvan Curator of American Decorative Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art


Final Remarks


Lunch on your own


More about the Speakers.






This exhibition and programming is supported in part by the Center for American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Freeman’s; and Jay Robert Stiefel.

Apr
5
Fri
2019
Book Launch: Mother is a Verb
Apr 5 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Book Launch: Mother is a Verb @ Philadelphia | PA | US

Dr. Sarah Knott, associate professor of history at Indiana University and former fellow, will speak on how people in the past experienced pregnancy, birth, and infant care. As a history, her soon-to-be published Mother Is a Verb explores the worlds of Cree or Ojibwe women, slaves on South Carolina rice plantations, tenant farmers in Appalachia, or tenement dwellers in New York and Liverpool. As a memoir, her book asks new questions about the smallest of human experiences—sleeplessness, joy, interruption—and about how we explore history itself.

Apr
16
Tue
2019
William Penn: A Life
Apr 16 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
William Penn: A Life @ Arch Street Meeting House | Philadelphia | PA | US

William Penn: A Life


Book Talk & Signing: 6:00pm -7:30pm


Despite his exalted place at the top of City Hall, Penn himself remains a mystery to many Philadelphians. What led this son of famous war hero to the pacifist Quakers? How did a well-connected English Dissenter end up in America? Why, despite voicing his desire to become “an adopted American,” did he spend so little time here? And why did he try to sell the colony back to the Queen? Drawing on his new biography William Penn: A Life, author Andrew Murphy, will bring William Penn down from his pedestal and explore the significant aspects of his extraordinary life.






This program is co-sponsored by the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust.

Apr
30
Tue
2019
Lecture by T.J Stiles: The Custer Conundrum
Apr 30 @ 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Lecture by T.J Stiles: The Custer Conundrum @ Science History Institute | Philadelphia | PA | US

6th Annual Lecture in Honor of John C. Van Horne


Lecture by T.J. Stiles


The Custer Conundrum: Exploring Leadership in the Contradictory Life of George Armstrong Custer


Tuesday, April 30


5:30pm Reception for Members, Shareholders, and Donors


6:30pm Lecture by T.J. Stiles 


8:00pm Dinner with the Author* (limited tickets available)




About the Lecture:


Join us as Stiles paints a portrait of Custer both deeply personal and sweeping in scope, proving how much of Custer’s legacy has been ignored. He demolishes Custer’s historical caricature, revealing a capable yet insecure man, intelligent yet bigoted, passionate yet self-destructive. Stiles casts a new light on one of the best-known figures of American history, a subject of seemingly endless fascination.


About the Author:


T.J. Stiles is the author of Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for History, the Spur Award for Best Western Biography, and the William H. Seward Award for Excellence in Civil War Biography. He also wrote The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Biography and the 2009 National Book Award for Nonfiction, and Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War, winner of the 2003 Ambassador Book Award. He is currently working on a biography of Theodore Roosevelt.






If you are a Library Company Shareholder, Member, or Donor and intend on attending the reception and lecture, please RSVP for both.


*To pay by check for tickets to the Dinner with the Author, please contact Colleen Gill at cgill@librarycompany.org or 215-546-3181.






If you require any accessibility accommodations, please contact the Development Office at 215-546-3181, ext 136.

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