Slavery and Abolition in the Creation of the Library Company of Philadelphia
Lecture with Sean Moore
This talk will explain the Library’s historical connections to Atlantic slavery and abolition, citing manuscripts and printed works that document eighteenth-century shareholders’ involvement in the West Indies trade, slavery in Pennsylvania, and the activities of members like Anthony Benezet who were abolitionist shareholders from its earliest days. It will also discuss the circulation of abolitionist books, as evident in the surviving 1794-1812 borrowing receipt book, and in doing so, claim that the Library Company was exceptional among America’s slavery-endowed early proprietary subscription libraries in stocking so many antislavery books that were actually read. It will also examine the development of Quaker antislavery from its beginnings in the mid-seventeenth-century to the Society of Friends Meeting that banned its members from owning slaves. The portrait of the library and others like the New York Society Library, Redwood Library, Charleston Library Society, and Salem Athenaeum that will emerge from this talk is that though they were founded by men engaged in slavery-related enterprise with expensive tastes for European cultural products, those institutions and their books nonetheless became resources for the abolitionist movement.
Got Beer? A Visual Tour of Breweriana at the Library Company of Philadelphia
Wednesday, June 5
Before there was Yards and Dock Street, there was Bergner & Engel and Gustavus Bergner. As a nod to Beer Week, join Print Department curators Sarah Weatherwax and Erika Piola as they provide a visual tour of the brewery trade of nineteenth and turn-of the-twentieth century Philadelphia. Views and advertising prints of early city breweries and saloons, colorful novelty advertisements, and manufacturer’s labels will be on display to document how the production, distribution, and consumption of beer influenced the visual culture of the city.
World Wide Knit in Public Day: Knit-in & Mini Exhibit
Saturday, June 8
10:00am – 2:00pm
World Wide Knit in Public Day is the largest Knitter run event in the world. It started in 2005 and is now celebrated in 57 different countries. This year the Library Company will host its second World Wide Knit in Public Day event. The Library Company holds a large variety of knitting and crochet patterns and visual material, some of which will be on display during this event. Attendees are welcome to bring their knitting or crochet, sit, and discuss our holdings with Nicole H. Scalessa – author of Historic Reflections in Crochet, curator of“The Hook and the Book,” and Vice President of the Center for Knit and Crochet.
Celebrate Juneteenth with the Library Company and National Book Award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.
This exhibition is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The National Endowment for the Humanities.
Learn more about the Library Company’s Program in African American History:
From Negro Pasts to AfroFutures Curator-led Gallery Tour
with African American History Specialist Jasmine Smith
Join curator Jasmine Smith as she gives an in-depth tour of the exhibition, From Negro Pasts to AfroFutures: Black Creative Re-Imaginings.
About the Exhibition:
The emergence of Afro-futurism as a relatively new construct in Africana Studies and Black History allows the Library Company of Philadelphia to pay homage to black past and show how black historical artists envisioned a glorious black future. By displaying fragments of early Black Americans’ past from their drawings, love letters, poems, songs, speeches, and protests, this exhibition will help visitors grapple with the place of black creative genius in the quest for a people’s liberation.
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