Drinks in the Archives

By Suzanna U. RSS Thu, October 4, 2018

by Suzanna U. and Alina J.

Building off of the successes of Food from the Archives in 2016, the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Special Collections, Research Departments, and Culinary Literacy Center are joining forces with the Delaware Valley Archivists Group to present Drinks in the Archives on Wednesday, October 10 beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the lobby of Parkway Central Library.

A waiting list is also available for our sold-out class on Drinking Chocolate and Cacao Tea with Shane Confectionary in the Culinary Literacy Center beginning at 7 p.m.. This free, all-ages event welcomes everyone from high school students looking for primary source materials to use in their National History Day research projects to library users interested in connecting to resources at the Free library and beyond. Along the way, you’ll be able to learn more about topics such as medicinal tonics, beer brewing, the abolition movement, and more with hands-on activities and views of rarely seen material. Plus, live music from Ken Kweder and Company, featuring drinking songs and a drink-inspired treasure hunt throughout the library with prizes! We also welcome you to complete this bingo card at the event for a chance to win a prize courtesy of the Culinary Literacy Center!

Participating Institutions include:

  • Abraham Lincoln Foundation of The Union League of Philadelphia
  • Barnes Foundation Archives
  • Bryn Athyn Historic District Archives at Glencairn Museum
  • Catholic Historical Research Center of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia
  • Drexel University Archives
  • Free Library of Philadelphia
    • Art Department
    • Culinary Literacy Center (pre-registration required via Eventbrite)
    • Business Resource & Innovation Center (BRIC)
    • Print and Picture Collection
    • Rare Book Department
    • Map Collection
    • Theatre Collection
    • Children’s Literature Research Collection
    • Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music
  • Girard College
  • Hagley Museum and Library
  • Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
  • Historical Society of Pennsylvania
  • Joseph Horner Memorial Library, German Society of Pennsylvania
  • Mennonite Heritage Center, Harleysville, PA
  • Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection at Drexel University
  • Shane Confectionery & The Franklin Fountain’s Collection of Confectionery & Ice Cream History
  • The Stoogeum: A Museum of Three Stooges Memorabilia
  • Temple University Libraries, Special Collections Research Center
  • Westtown School

What makes a collection archival, anyway? Archival materials can be institutional records, personal papers, and other unpublished documents or items that were intended to be ephemeral when they were first created. An archival collection may include photographs, manuscripts, drawings, newspaper clippings, and brochures. By nature, they cannot be cataloged as easily as most library materials such as books and magazines. Archivists use the term "finding aid" to refer to the archives-world equivalent of a catalog. Finding aids help users determine if what they need is located in those archival collections but not all collections have finding aids that are accessible online. For now, most of our completed finding aids can be found in the Special Collections section of our website. Researchers should contact the appropriate special collections curators first in order to best explore and use these materials.

Most of the research departments here at Parkway Central Library also have archival collections, in the form of files or pamphlets, and we’ve been working on creating and improving our searchable finding aids for them. Two of these departments have already completed finding aids for their archival collections and for now have published them as keyword-searchable PDFs on their department pages. Click on the links for each series within the Historic Philadelphia Pamphlet Collection on the Education, Philosophy and Religion Department page and those of the Research File Collections on the Social Science and History Department page. Browse or try a keyword search for a subject that interests you!

Research files containing ephemeral materials that document individual artists and art subjects with a major focus on Philadelphia can be easily found in the Art Department as well. Until the finding aid is complete, any library visitor can simply ask the librarian at the Art reference desk to check for files on a given artist, or local art and architecture subject, and be able to use primary reference material. The Art Department regularly displays selections from these files.

Stop by the Research Departments’ tables on October 10 to see examples from these collections on all things related to drinking.

Drinks in the Archives is a free program presented as part of Archives Month Philly. October is American Archives Month, an opportunity to celebrate archives, the work of archivists, and raise public awareness about the value and accessibility of historical records. In conjunction with participating institutions throughout the Delaware Valley, the Delaware Valley Archivists Group has assembled an exciting calendar of events at Philadelphia’s most notable archives, special collections libraries, repositories, and other cultural institutions.

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