Talk by Leo Damrosch, the Ernest Bernbaum, Professor of Literature at Harvard University, on “Tocqueville’s Discovery of America.”

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(May 11, 2010)   Audio Download (MP3)   Alexis de Tocqueville is more quoted than read; commentators across the political spectrum invoke him as an oracle who defined America and its democracy for all times. But in fact his masterpiece,…

Same Old or New Old? Twenty-first Century Thinking About Nineteenth-Century Collections

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(May 12, 2009)   Audio Download (MP3) Watch Video Online (FLV) - with corresponding slides.   Kenneth Finkel, Distinguished Lecturer in Temple University’s American Studies Program and former Library Company Curator of Prints…

Peter Collinson and the Eighteenth-Century Natural History Exchange

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(April 15, 2009)   Audio Download (MP3) Corresponding Slides (PDF)   Elizabeth P. McLean, garden historian and Library Company Trustee (and former President), speaks about her new biography of Peter Collinson, co-authored by Jean…

Clash of Extremes: The Economic Origins of the Civil War

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(March 19, 2009)   Audio Download (MP3)   Author Marc Egnal challenges the orthodoxy that the Civil War began for moral reasons, contending that more than any other concern, the evolution of the Northern and Southern economies…

The Women of the Republican Court Revisited

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(March 11, 2009)  Audio Download (MP3)   An evening event in the spirit of Martha Washington! As part of the Library Company's Visual Culture Program, Curator of Women's History Cornelia King brings to life the women depicted in…

Ed Pettit, the “Philly Poe Guy”: Edgar Allan Poe and the Philadelphia Gothic Tradition

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(February 19, 2009)   Audio Download (MP3)  An intriguing glance into the world of Philadelphia Gothic literature, where writers such as Charles Brockden Brown, George Lippard, Robert Montgomery Bird, and Edgar Allan Poe flourished.…

Maurice Jackson: Let This Voice Be Heard: Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism

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(February 5, 2009)  Audio Download (MP3)    In celebration of Black History Month, the Library Company’s Program in African American History and the University of Pennsylvania Press present Maurice Jackson, Assistant Professor…

Christopher Looby, "The Paradox of Philadelphia Gothic"

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(October 29, 2008)   Audio Download (MP3)   In the first half of the 19th century, Philadelphia spawned a literary tradition of Lurid Crime, Weird Hallucination, Brooding Supernatural, and Sheer Horror - largely the work of three…

Thomas Slaughter, The Beautiful Soul of John Woolman

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(October 14, 2008)  Audio Download (MP3)   John Woolman (1720-1772), a Quaker tailor from New Jersey, had an extraordinary commitment to attaining self-purification through the rejection of slavery, war taxes, and rampant consumerism.…