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


An American-Born Faith: Writings from the First Century of Mormonism exhibition will open as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opens its Philadelphia temple on Vine Street

PHILADELPHIA, August 15, 2016—As the Free Library of Philadelphia gains a new neighbor in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, opening its Philadelphia Temple on Vine Street, the Rare Book Department of the Free Library will mount An American-Born Faith: Writings from the First Century of Mormonism, an exhibition exploring historic Mormon material from the Free Library and Rosenbach collections, focusing on the 19th and early 20th centuries. An American-Born Faith will open August 15, 2016 and run through February 6, 2017.

Items on view will include early copies of the Book of Mormon; texts printed in Deseret, a phonetic alphabet devised for non-English-speaking converts; 19th-century travelers' descriptions of Mormon settlements; and publications documenting the range of Americans' reactions to the new faith.

“We look forward to welcoming our new neighbors and appealing to the curiosity of those not familiar with the history of the Latter-day Saints whose interest has been piqued by the Church’s opening,” says Allison Freyermuth, exhibition curator and head of the Rare Book Department. “This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the materials of the Rare Book Department and the Rosenbach, like the 1855 Book of Mormon written in Hawaiian, suspected to be one of only 15 to 30 copies still in existence.”

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 general collections is available at 11:00 a.m. every day. For more information on the Department, please visit or email

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The Free Library of Philadelphia system, with 54 locations and The Rosenbach, 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. The combined holdings of these renowned collections—which include hundreds of thousands of rare books, manuscripts, and ephemera—inspire unique exhibitions and programs throughout the year. 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