Rare Book Department

1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
215-686-5416

The Rare Book Department will close early on Tuesday, December 17, at 3:00 p.m.

Open today 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, 12/8 Closed
Monday, 12/9 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed
Tuesday, 12/10 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 12/11 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, 12/12 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday, 12/13 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 12/14 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • * Monday had hour changes – Will reopen tomorrow with regular hours.
Sunday Closed
Monday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Upcoming Closures

  • Wed., Dec. 25 : Closed Christmas Day
  • Wed., Jan. 1 : Closed New Year's Day
  • Mon., Jan. 20 : Closed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Mon., Feb. 17 : Closed Presidents' Day
  • Fri., Apr. 10 : Closed Good Friday
View all holiday closings

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Upcoming Events

Charles Dickens: Part of the Hands-on History Series at The Free Library, Parkway Central

Sat, Dec 14, 2:00 P.M.

Charles Dickens: Part of the Hands-on History at The Free Library, Parkway Central Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was one of the most successful…

Hands-on History Presents: The Free Library's Cuneiform Tablet Collection

Sat, Jan 11, 2:00 P.M.

Cuneiform script was developed over 5,000 years ago in Sumer (southern Mesopotamia/modern day southern Iraq) and is the earliest system of…

Our Five Senses: A Family Friendly, Interactive Exhibition On Display until February 1, 2020

Now through Sat, Feb 1, 3:00 P.M.

Our Five Senses connects the science of the senses with the mind and the literary experience. Unique materials in the exhibition cross three…

Hands-on History Presents: The Elite of Our People.

Sat, Feb 8, 10:00 A.M.

Interact with rarely seen archives and artifacts that speak to the Philadelphia community once described as “The Elite of Our People”…

Hands-on History Presents: The Elite of Our People.

Sat, Feb 8, 2:00 P.M.

Interact with rarely seen archives and artifacts that speak to the Philadelphia community once described as “The Elite of Our People”…

Hands-on History Presents: Picturing Indigenous History. The Story of the “Indian Gallery” at the United States Department of War, and its Lessons for U.S./Indigenous Diplomacy

Sat, Mar 14, 2:00 P.M.

Explore the long and complex history of the United States federal government’s relationship with the Indigenous peoples of North America by…

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On view now: Our 5 Senses, a family-friendly interactive exhibition of science, technology, and literature.

And: check out some highlights of our recent exhibition, Philadelphia: The Changing City in our Digital Collections.

 


The Rare Book Department offers free access to exhibitions of historically important books, manuscripts, and works of art from 3,000 BCE to today. Among its collections are thousands of illuminated medieval manuscripts and cuttings; first editions, letters, and manuscripts of important writers, including some of the largest collections of Charles Dickens and Edgar Allan Poe; nearly 50,000 early American children's books; original artwork by Beatrix Potter and other illustrators; Mughal court paintings; and Pennsylvania German fraktur, manuscripts, and printed books. Many, but not all, of the Rare Book Department's holdings have been cataloged, but please feel free to contact us for more information about our holdings.

Group visits and educational programs are available by prior arrangement and researchers are invited to make an appointment to use collection materials. Guided tours of the department and the William McIntire Elkins Library are offered Monday through Saturday at 11:00 a.m. with no appointment necessary. For our friends on social media, highlights from our collections are regularly posted to our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. You can reach the Rare Book Department at 215-686-5416 or by email, or check out some of our most frequently asked questions.