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


Manuscripts, Artwork, and First Editions among Highlights showcased for Potter’s 150th Birthday


The Rare Book Department at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central Library is celebrating the 150thanniversary of Beatrix Potter’s birth—taking place in 2016—by showcasing a select number of Potter’s original watercolors, handwritten manuscripts, first editions, and collectibles. Running through February 28, 2016, this small display of highlights will feature more than two dozen items from the department’s Potter collection, which is the largest outside of Great Britain.

Items on display will include original manuscripts and first editions of many Potter classics—including the privately printed edition of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, of which only 450 copies were ever produced. Another highlight is Potter’s original manuscript of The Tailor of Gloucester; Potter originally wrote down the story—complete with hand-drawn illustrations—as a Christmas gift to the daughter of her former governess. She later borrowed it back to publish it.

“As the Free Library of Hidden Gems, we are proud of the treasures housed in our collections,” said Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. “For many generations, Beatrix Potter's sweetly illustrated tales have delighted children and adults alike. We feel privileged to display material that will bring back such fond memories and encourage visitors to enjoy these jewels of children’s literature.”

The Rare Book Department is open from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. While the public may visit at any time during those hours, a guided tour of the department’s collection is available at 11:00 a.m. every day. For more information on the Department, please visit

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The 61-location Free Library of Philadelphia system advances literacy, guides learning, and inspires curiosity with millions of digital and physical materials; 25,000 yearly programs and workshops; free public computers and extensive Wi-Fi; and rich special collections, including  those at Parkway Central Library and at The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. With more than 6 million in-person and millions more online visits annually, the Free Library and the Rosenbach are among the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia and boast a worldwide impact.


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