For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development


The Rare Book Department at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central Library will mount a new exhibition of rare cuneiform tablets opening August 23, 2010. Running through January 21, 2011, “Not Since Nineveh: Artifacts from the Ancient Near East in the Free Library of Philadelphia, 3100-300 B.C.E.” will feature relics from the Ancient Near East collected by Philadelphia philanthropist John Frederick Lewis in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The Free Library's collection contains nearly 3,000 clay tablets and other items dating from the Late Uruk or Jemdet Nasr Period, c. 3100 B.C.E., to the Seleucid Dynasty of Persia, c. 300 B.C.E. Clay and stone tablets of all shapes and sizes will be displayed, along with cylinder seals and their clay impressions. The exhibition will be illustrated with maps and photographs of excavation sites and artifacts. This is the first time the Free Library has mounted an entire exhibition of its cuneiform tablet collection.

“As the Free Library of Hidden Gems, we are proud of the many rare treasures housed in our collections,” said Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. “Special exhibitions like ‘Not Since Nineveh’ allow us to share these treasures that aren’t usually on public display with as many Philadelphians as possible. We encourage everyone to visit the Free Library and enjoy these ancient artifacts.”

A kickoff celebration will be held on Saturday, August 28 from 1:00-5:00 p.m. in the Rare Book Department. At 2:30 p.m. that day, Dr. Grant Frame, Associate Professor and Associate Curator of the Babylonian Section of the Penn Museum at the University of Pennsylvania, will present a lecture in conjunction with “Not Since Nineveh.”

The Rare Book Department is open from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, with tours of the General Collections beginning daily at 11:00 a.m. For more information about "Not Since Nineveh" or the Rare Book Department, please call 215-686-5416 or email

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The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than 6 million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850