Tagged Rare Book Department

#MysteryMonday: Get Clued in to Edgar Allan Poe and More

Move over, London! England’s capital city may count Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot among its resident gumshoes, but only Philadelphia can be called the true birthplace of the modern detective tale. In celebration of our…

Mysterious Manuscripts and "Mirror Writing"

Do you love The Da Vinci Code ? Have you ever wished you could uncover a secret code in a medieval manuscript? Exciting news! Your wish may come true! Take a look at the image of a 15th-century prayer book on the right and see if you…

Librarian Traces Family Roots Through Historic Bible

The Rare Book Department 's Judaica includes a beautifully written and lavishly hand-decorated Spanish Hebrew Masoretic Text bible . Commissioned in 1496 in Lisbon, Portugal, the book is well-known among contemporary Hebrew bible…

Celebrate Poe's Life with Our Rare Book Collection

His wasn’t an auspicious beginning and his end remains shrouded in mystery... 208 years ago today, Edgar Allan Poe was born to actors David Poe Jr. and Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe, in Boston Massachusetts. By the time he was…

Philadelphia: City of the Uncanny and the Arcane

Philadelphia is a wild and weird city. There’s so much to love, to hate, to love to hate, and to hate to love. There’s also so much that we, as every day Philadelphians, have somehow forgotten or never learned about our…

#OneBookWednesday: The Civil War on Display

This One Book, One Philadelphia season takes us back in time to the Civil War era, as we travel and travail alongside fictional southerners Inman and Ada in Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain . Adult companion books Twelve Years a…

Sacred Stories: The World's Religious Traditions

To celebrate the landmark papal visit to Philadelphia, the Rare Book Department at Parkway Central Library has opened a new exhibition of rare religious texts. Running through January 30, 2016,  Sacred Stories: The…

Purim and a Medieval Cutting in the Free Library of Philadelphia

Purim is celebrated every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar. It is a day of feasting and rejoicing, commemorating the deliverance of the Jewish people from a plot to annihilate them. The story is told in the Book of…

Announcing Framing Fraktur!

The Free Library of Philadelphia is proud to present Framing Fraktur , a three-month celebration of historic Pennsylvania German folk art and its relationship to contemporary art, opening today and running through June 14, 2015! In…

Oscar Wilde Manuscripts

We’re excited to share our newly digitized Oscar Wilde manuscripts, part of the rich collection of literary manuscripts and first editions in the Rare Book Department. The draft of The Ballad of Reading Gaol , in Wilde’s…

Bardolatry in the Rare Book Department

bardolatry n. idolatry or excessive admiration of William Shakespeare 1 There is an exhibition going on in the Rare Book Department right now that you really need to see. It’s called “Shakespeare for All Time” and it…

Free Library Opens the New William B. Dietrich Gallery at Parkway Central Library

Last night, the Free Library of Philadelphia celebrated the grand opening of the new William B. Dietrich Gallery in the Rare Book Department at Parkway Central Library . Made possible by a generous gift from the William B. Dietrich…

John Derstine Souder’s Fraktur in the Henry Stauffer Borneman Pennsylvania German Collection

John Derstine Souder (1865-1942) was raised on a Mennonite farm near Telford in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  He was a storekeeper, postmaster, and poultry dealer before retiring.  Souder spent the final five years of his…

I Must Do What Is Right For Me ~ The Jacob Eichholtz Book of Sketches and Painterly Advice

“I must do what is right for me,” he muttered under his breath while gathering up his tools and shuttering the shop window.  Jacob Eichholtz was living a double life, and it soon had to stop.  He couldn’t…

The Browne Hours, Part II

The first part of the story of the Browne Hours was posted on Thursday, October 24 th . For the first part, read here . Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was killed by four knights while he prayed at the altar in Canterbury…

The Browne Hours

A Book of Hours takes its name from the so-called “Little Hours of the Virgin,” a collection of eight prayers that is derived from the Divine Office—the canonical hours observed by persons who have taken the orders of…

MAGICAL CHARMS ~ MEDICAL CURES

I was only a little girl when my Grammy had me kneel before her in their little church.  She anointed my  forehead with oil, and laid her hands on me.  I was sick, but I can’t remember what for.  She prayed…

A Book Rediscovered

The doorbell rings. I walk through the hallway to answer it. Although I’ve done this walk repeatedly over the years, this time something is different. This one book catches the corner of my eye. It is shelved vertically behind the…

The Skies Proclaim the Work of His Hands ~ Carl Friederich Egelmann (1782-1860)

If you have a moment, I’d like to introduce you to Carl Friederich Egelmann, or Charles Frederick Egelmann as he came to be known in America.  He was born in Neuenkirchen, Germany on May 12, 1782  and was only 20 when he…

It’s the Little Things in Life That Matter ~ The Jacob Anthony Grist Mill Ledger, 1842-1868

Sometimes it really is the little things in life that matter.  This I learned recently while trying to identify the record keeper of Borneman Ms 152 from the Henry Stauffer Borneman Pennsylvania German Collection at the Free…