Rare Book Department

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

Open today until 5:00 p.m.

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

  • Sun., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
  • Mon., Nov. 12 : Closed Veterans Day (Observed)
  • Thu., Nov. 22 : Closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Tue., Dec. 25 : Closed Christmas Day
View all holiday closings

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Upcoming Events

Philadelphia: The Changing City

Now through Sat, April 13, 2019 5:00 P.M.

October 10, 2018 – April 13, 2019 An exhibition in the Rare Book Department  From river to skyline and stoop to stoop, Philadelphia has been re-formed and re-shaped throughout its history. Its transformation from bustling port to workshop of the world to World Heritage City and hub…

Adult Young Adult School Age Senior Exhibitions Other Great Programs Citizenship Philadelphia Philadelphia History Photography Special Collections Maps Print and Picture Collection Changing City


 

Check out some highlights of our recent exhibition, In Our Nature: Flora and Fauna of the Americas 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.