Tagged special collections

Picture Book Highlights | Mary Had a Little...

Lamb — yes, lamb! That’s the start of the popular 19th century nursery rhyme about a girl named Mary and her faithful little lamb... It’s a rhyme, it’s a song (by Paul McCartney !), and it has also been used as…

Philly Theatre Week and a Look at Philadelphia Theatre History

Philly Theatre Week , presented by Theatre Philadelphia, is a 10-day celeration of the artists, organizations, and audiences that have made Greater Philadelphia one of the most vibrant theatre regions in the nation. With over…

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…

In Our Nature: Flora and Fauna of the Americas

An Exhibition in the Rare Book Department's William B. Dietrich Gallery (3rd floor) April 9 - September 15, 2018 The ecology of the Western Hemisphere has been shaped by human intervention. Landscapes and wildlife have been helped,…

The Publisher is Ambitious: William Bartram's Travels

William Bartram’s Travels was an unprecedented mix of literary genres—part travel book, part scientific record and description — a romantic narrative, an ethnography of Southern native peoples, and an exposition by…

Exhibition - Dog Days

Originally named by the ancient Greeks for the appearance of the dog star Sirius in late July, the “dog days” of summer are often associated with the lazy heat of August and the heavy panting of our four-legged friends. Take…

Secrets of the Schuylkill Boat Ride, Free Library of Philadelphia

Join the Free Library for a fun-filled riverboat tour that highlights the past, present and future of the Schuylkill River. Discover the sights, sounds, and nearly 300 years of history of the “hidden river”. This adventure…