Mirror of a City: Images of Philadelphia, 1780-1950
Erika Piola, Director of the Visual Culture Program, Library Company of Philadelphia
Sarah Weatherwax, Curator of Print and Photographs, Library Company of Philadelphia
With special guests:
Karie Diethorn, Chief Curator, Independence National Historical Park, National Park Service
Anna O. Marley, PhD, Curator of Historical American Art and Director of the Center for the Study of the American Artist
Elizabeth Milroy, PhD, Professor and Department Head, Art and Art History, Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, Drexel University
Convenes 5:30-8:00 p.m. on September 26, October 10, and October 24, 2019
The Print and Photograph Department at the Library Company of Philadelphia holds one of the few public historical, American popular graphic arts collections in the country. With a focus on the visual history of Philadelphia from the era of the early nation through post-World War II, the graphic materials chronicle the evolution of the city and the story of their creators, collectors, and distributors like few others. In this seminar Library Company curators Sarah Weatherwax and Erika Piola will provide a sensory journey of the Library’s premiere collection of prints, photographs, drawings, watercolors, maps, and ephemera depicting the city as it developed over three centuries from port city to urban metropolis.
“Mirror of a City” will examine the pivotal role of Philadelphia in creating the visual culture of the nation as a center for printmaking, photography, and collecting. Sessions will explore the social, cultural, and technological influences affecting Philadelphia image making; the known, hidden, and forgotten image makers; and the changing aesthetics of the physical city, as well as tastes of those who notably collected all manner of Philadelphia imagery. Seminar attendees will also gain knowledge about the evolution of the Library’s graphic collections, as well as have hands-on experiences with specimens of early photography, including daguerreotypes and stereographs.