In 2018, the Library Company of Philadelphia launched its LCP Seminars to offer our community members a unique opportunity to explore rich historical records from our collections. More than an exhibition of treasures, each seminar provides participants hands-on access to primary materials such as historical documents, books, and prints, together with conversation guided by experts in an intensive experience that promotes discovery, discussion, and learning. In 2019, we will offer our seminars in two formats.

Our premium seminars unfold over four two-hour sessions. Each session features an interactive presentation of historical materials in our reading room, followed by dinner in the charming Logan Room. Tuition is $750 for LCP shareholders and $1,000 for the general public, which includes a one-year Library Company Shareholder membership.

Our one-time seminars are contained in a single, three-hour session that includes an extended presentation of historical materials in our reading room and dinner in our Logan Room. Tuition is $200 for LCP shareholders and $250 for the general public.

To ensure an intimate learning experience, space will be limited to 20 participants on a first-come, first serve basis.

To register for the seminar, please contact Clarissa Lowry, Events & Programs Coordinator, at or 215-546-3181, ext. 130. For more information about the seminar series, contact Will Fenton, Director of Scholarly Innovation, at or 215-546-3181, ext. 119

From the LCP Blog…

About the Director of Scholarly Innovation

Designing Afrofuturism: Imagining Black Futures through Art, History, and Literature

Dr. Walter Greason, Monmouth University

Convenes 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., January 24, January 31, February 28, and March 21, 2019

“Designing Afrofuturism” will examine the surviving art, architecture, and technology from indigenous civilizations across the African diaspora. Complemented by the upcoming Library Company exhibition “From Negro Pasts to Afro-Futures: Black Creative Re-Imaginings,” this seminar, led by Dr. Walter Greason will explore how historical African American leaders envisioned the future. “Designing Afrofuturism” will draw upon the Library Company’s prodigious African American History collections, including rare Afrofuturist literature and drawings, poems and songs, and speeches and protests. Participants will learn how to reinterpret these historical records as the foundation of a twenty-first-century global society and to pursue that vision through recent public exhibitions, public art campaigns, and community literacy programs.

Benjamin Franklin & Immigration

Dr. Carla J. Mulford, Pennsylvania State University

Convenes 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., March 6, 2019

Few people of Benjamin Franklin’s generation understood better the importance of immigration to the British colonies of North America. Franklin’s ideas about immigrants and immigration evolved as his career moved from being a colonial leader in Philadelphia to a citizen of the world. His thinking about populations and about ethnic differences derive from his mutual concerns about laboring peoples and the environmental and economic circumstances of the North American colonies. By examining the Library Company’s historical records from Franklin’s time in Philadelphia, London, and Passy, we can trace how local circumstances shaped Franklin’s early thinking and how later experiences encouraged him to fashion a more global vision about immigration problems, goals, and strategies. Readings complementary to the Library Company’s holdings will enable participants to contextualize Franklin’s writings about peoples in North America and elsewhere, including indigenous peoples of North America, Ireland, and India; Scottish, Scots-Irish, and Irish peoples; Germans; Africans; French, and others. Join Dr. Carla Mulford, a leading scholar on Franklin, as she curates original records that reveal Franklin’s shifting views on immigration, demographics, economics, and the environment.

Past Seminars

Graphic Materials: Early American Political Cartoons and Propaganda

Dr. William D. Fenton, Library Company of Philadelphia

Convened 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., October 23, November 8, November 20, December 4, 2018

Led by Will Fenton, Director of Scholarly Innovation at the Library Company of Philadelphia, “Graphic Material” excavated a range of broadsides, engravings, political cartoons, caricatures, and ephemera that transformed early American politics. Canvasing the African Americana, John A. McAllister, and Political Cartoon collections, Fenton offered participants hands-on access to the Library Company’s vaunted visual culture materials. In addition to presenting an eye-opening companion to election-year politicking, “Graphic Material” also connected participants with leading practitioners—the award-winning editorial cartoonists Signe Wilkinson, Dwayne Booth, Ben Passmore, and John Cole.