New this year!! The Library Company will stay open late on first Fridays! Whether you’re looking for an excuse to see the Ghost River exhibition, speak with the curator after hours, or enjoy a complimentary glass of wine in Benjamin Franklin’s library, First Fridays are a new opportunity to discover the Library Company.
We’re delighted to host the City of Philadelphia Law Department’s Diversity Committee on March 6.
Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home
Book Talk: 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Book Signing: 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Philadelphia, 1825: five young, free black boys fall into the clutches of the most fearsome gang of kidnappers and slavers in the United States. Lured onto a small ship with the promise of food and pay, they are instead met with blindfolds, ropes, and knives. Over four long months, their kidnappers drive them overland into the Cotton Kingdom to be sold as slaves. Determined to resist, the boys form a tight brotherhood as they struggle to free themselves and find their way home. Their ordeal—an odyssey that takes them from the Philadelphia waterfront to the marshes of Mississippi and then onward still—shines a glaring spotlight on the Reverse Underground Railroad, a black market network of human traffickers and slave traders who stole away thousands of legally free African Americans from their families in order to fuel slavery’s rapid expansion in the decades before the Civil War.
About the Author
Dr. Richard Bell is Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland and author of the new book Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home (2019). He has won more than a dozen teaching awards, including the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest honor for teaching faculty in the Maryland state system. He has held major research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, and the Library of Congress and is the recipient of the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar award. He serves as a Trustee of the Maryland Historical Society, as an elected member of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and as a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
This event is in partnership with the African American Museum of Philadelphia
The Library Company of Philadelphia is an independent research library specializing in American history and culture from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Open to the public free of charge, the Library Company houses an extensive collection of rare books, manuscripts, broadsides, ephemera, prints, photographs, and works of art. Founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin, the Library Company is America’s oldest cultural institution and served as the Library of Congress from the Revolutionary War to 1800.
Celebrate Women’s History Month at the Library Company
Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote
March 5, 2020
5:30 pm Reception
6:00 pm Lecture
Robyn Muncy is a Professor of History at the University of Maryland, College Park, and one of the curators of the exhibition “Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote,” which opened in May 2019 at the National Archives. Prof Muncy also serves on the advisory committee for the National Votes for Women Trail, a project sponsoring historical markers in all 50 states to commemorate American women’s struggle for the franchise. This event is sponsored by The Davida T. Deutsch Program in Women’s History.
The Secret History of Sappho: Re-imagining a Women-Centered Past
March 10, 2020
2:30 pm: Collection Review with Connie King, Curator of Women’s History
In the latter half of the 19th century, Sappho became a common subject in art and literature.
In particular, the legend of Sappho jumping to her death to resolve a love triangle became an opportunity for multiple playwrights to explore the theme of lesbian sexuality. Without exception, these were “closet dramas,” meant to be read rather than performed. Thus the readers were free to imagine the staging. In recent years, Jill Lepore and other scholars have noted that the revival of interest in Sappho was particularly strong in women’s colleges, and contributed to a groundswell of interest in locating women-centered cultures in classical antiquity, studying Ancient Greek, and ultimately the development of feminism in the 20th century.
Domesticating Revolution: Founding Women, Material Culture, and Politics at Home
- March 11th 2020, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- March 25th 2020, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- April 22nd 2020, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
In 1781, a British newspaper reported that a British officer stationed in the United States “told Lord Cornwallis …that he believed if he had destroyed all the men in North-America, we should have enough to do to conquer the women.” The fierce patriotism of American women was noted on both sides of the Atlantic in the revolutionary era, but has received far less attention in histories of the war told after the conflict ended.
This material- and visual culture-centric seminar series fills that historical gap, using Library Company’s collections to look at how Philadelphia women used their homes–and the things in those domestic spaces–to create revolutionary fervor and shape founding era politics from the mid-1760s through the 1790s. During and after the American Revolution, Patriot women from North to South used material culture to domesticate revolution. They used things–things they bought, things they made, and the architectural spaces of their homes–first to wage, and then to come to terms with waging, the war. American women made and used objects to “domesticate” the war in multiple senses: to bring battle into the home and home into battle, to make something public and communal private and intimate, to create an American political culture, to produce and consume goods related to the Revolution in the American marketplace, and, eventually, to tame memories of a violent Patriot.
About the Seminar Leader
Dr. Zara Anishanslin (Associate Professor of History and Art History and Director, History of American Civilization Program, University of Delaware) specializes in Early American and Atlantic World History, with a focus on eighteenth-century material culture. She previously taught at CUNY (College of Staten Island) and at Columbia, where she also co-chaired the Columbia Seminar in Early American History and Culture from 2011-16. Anishanslin received her PhD in the History of American Civilization at the University of Delaware in 2009, and has been a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the New-York Historical Society (2014-15) and a Patrick Henry Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History at Johns Hopkins (2009-2010). Other fellowships include grants from the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, The Huntington Library, the American Antiquarian Society, Harvard Atlantic Seminar, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Henry Luce Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies. She can often be found talking history on the Travel Channel’s “Mysteries at the Museum” show and just served as Material Culture Consultant for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton, The Exhibition.” Her first book, Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World (Yale University Press, 2016) was the Inaugural Winner of The Library Company of Philadelphia’s Biennial Book Prize in 2018 and a Finalist for the 2017 Best First Book Prize from the Berkshire Conference of Women’s Historians. Anishanslin was the 2018 Mount Vernon Georgian Papers Programme Fellow, working at the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle, the Washington Library, and King’s College London on her new project on the American Revolution, London Patriots. This year she is be a Barra Postdoctoral Sabbatical Fellow at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
Design Your Own Wampum Belt
Are you interested in wampum, the beads of polished shells us by North American Indigenous Communities to make belts, sashes and strands? Learn about the history and craft of wampum-making from the expert—the Executive Director of the Circle Legacy Center, Barry Lee (Munsee Nation). All participants will leave with their own hand-made small belt.
Join us on a day trip to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian! Enjoy the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. and participate in a curated tour of select exhibitions. Ticket price includes round-trip transportation, light breakfast, and lunch at Mitsitam Cafe where you can experience authentic Native American dishes. This trip is will depart from the Library Company at 8:30 a.m. and return at 6:00 p.m.
8:00 a.m. Light Breakfast at the Library Company Cassatt House
8:30 a.m. Departure to Washington, D.C.
11:00 a.m. Arrival at Washington, D.C.
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Explore the Mall and Cherry Blossoms
12:30 p.m. Lunch at Mitsitam Cafe
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tour of NMAI
4:30 p.m. Depart Washington, D.C.
This itinerary is subject to change.
For questions, please contact Dayjah Brock at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 215-546-3181 ext. 149
In the early 18th century, the quickest and most affordable way for political groups to reach their audience was by the use of pamplets. Explore colonial-era print culture while learning about the history and craft of pamphlet-making from our resident expert, Chief of Conservation and Recipient of the 2019 Laura Young Award for service to the Guild of Book Workers, Jennifer Rosner. All participants will be walked through the process of creating a pamphlet and get to leave with their own handmade pamphlet!
Reception 5:30 p.m.
Presentation and Discussion 6:00 p.m.
Emma Hart’s new study challenges our typical understanding about the rise of capitalism and its association with nineteenth-century industrialization. Instead, she argues that the emergence of modern markets took place during England’s colonization of North America. It was in the shops, auction sites, wharves, taverns, fairs, and homes of colonial Americans that a crucial shift in market behaviors and ideas took place. These were sites where the exchange of goods led to new conventions of trade as settlers adapted continental methods to new surroundings. Most importantly, age-old regulations gave way to a less fettered brand of capitalism that led to a market economy far different from the European model. Hart looks back farther than most historians of American capitalism, rooting markets in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century adaptations that happened in the trading spaces of commerce.
For more information, contact Cathy Matson, PEAES Director at email@example.com or call (215) 546-3181. For additional information on the Program in Early American Economy and Society and its activities, visit librarycompany.org/academic-programs/peaes.