Tagged special collections

Do You Need Some Holiday Card Inspiration?

Do you send out greeting cards around the holiday season? Families have been writing "Christmas Letters" for hundreds of years, but the commercially produced Christmas card is a little bit younger: first manufactured in 1843…

A Dance and a Headdress: All About Gilda Gray

October 24 marks the birthday of the Roaring Twenties icon Gilda Gray. Born on October 24, 1901 as Marianna Michalska in Krakow, Poland, Gray didn’t get off to the easiest start in life. She was orphaned when her parents were…

Corridor of Culture: 100 Years of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

In the autumn of 2016, we were tasked with a fascinating challenge: create a bold and welcoming exhibition that would discuss the history of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. On the surface, this isn’t that difficult. As curators in…

The Art of Comics: An Exhibition

The Free Library has recently mounted an exhibit of treasures from our collections that illustrate the history and artistry of the comic book medium. This display can still be seen on the 2 nd- floor landing and the Art Department…

A Rare Glimpse of Philadelphia in the Early 1800s

The Free Library’s map collection comprises thousands of maps focused on the development and history of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. One particular map, the Plan of the City of Philadelphia and Environs, 1809, surveyed by John…

Traveling Treasures: A Special Collection Worth Touching

Much has been written in academic journals about the need to increase access to special collections in public libraries, museums, and universities. This topic is particularly relevant to the  Rare Book Department of the Free…

"Pay to Benjamin Franklin, for Printing"

We all know Benjamin Franklin, Philadelphia's everyman. Poor Richard . Diplomat of the Revolution . Inventor of the Glass Harmonica . Postmaster General . Guy Who Flew A Kite in a Thunderstorm. Founder of the University of…

Philadelphia, Fleisher, and the City Beautiful Movement

June 2, 2017, will mark the 90th birthday of our Parkway Central Library . On September 8, 2017, celebrations for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway’s 100th anniversary will begin and continue until November 16, 2018. The Free Library…

Grandfather's Papers: The Jacques Wissler Collection

The Print and Picture Collection (PIX) in Parkway Central Library is home to diverse collections of fine art prints, photographs, drawings, and artists’ books, as well as extensive research collections of Philadelphia images, both…

The Art of Katherine Milhous

Katherine Milhous (1894-1977) wore many hats in her time: a supervisor for the Federal Art Project ; an artist for the Pennsylvania Art Project (a subsidiary of the Federal Art Project, which itself was formed under the…

Corridor of Culture: 100 Years of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Between September 2017 and November 2018, all of Philadelphia will be celebrating the centennial of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Since 1917, this grand avenue has connected Philadelphia’s City Hall with the entrance to Fairmount…

Big and Small, Books for All

Big and Small, Books for All From October 23, 2017 to March 24, 2018 This family-oriented exhibition features extraordinary books selected for their extreme sizes and unusual shapes. Visitors of all ages can interact with special…

Big and Small, Books for All: Hands-On

Join us after-hours  in the Rare Book Department as we take out books that were just too large (or too small!) to be shown in our Big and Small, Books for All exhibition. Examples include a Bible smaller than your finger…

Shakespeare Free Read-Aloud Group: Romeo and Juliet

Reading Shakespeare plays aloud not only offers a communal way to enjoy these great works but promotes a deeper understanding of Shakespeare’s poetry and wordplay. No acting experience is required to participate—just bring…

Teen Poetry Slam

In celebration of Black History Month, Philly Slam League and Teen Central are throwing a poetry slam in the Dietrich Gallery of the Rare Book Department’s Dietrich Gallery. Join us, have fun, and share your talent! Poetry Slam…

Hands-On Tour: The Inimitable Boz

Beginning with his early works published under pseudonym “Boz” (he later impishly signed his letters “The Inimitable Boz”), Charles Dickens was a literary phenomenon in the 19th century, and his ubiquity…

Big and Small, Books For All | Miniature Albums

A miniature book is a book smaller than 3 inches in size. These tiny books have been worn and carried in pockets for hundreds of years. In this workshop, children will make a miniature album using traditional book binding techniques.…

Big and Small, Books For All | Miniature Albums

A miniature book is a book smaller than 3 inches in size. These tiny books have have been worn and carried in pockets for hundreds of years. In this workshop, children will make a miniature album using traditional book binding…

Do That: Artists’ Books Donated by Karen Lightner

Karen Lightner, Head of the Art and Literature Department, retires from the Free Library of Philadelphia this January. In honor of nearly 35 years of service to the Free Library, the Print and Picture Collection (PIX) is mounting this…