Rare Book Department

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

Closed Today

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

  • Sat., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
  • Thu., Nov. 23 : Closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Mon., Dec. 25 : Closed Christmas Day
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Upcoming Events

Big and Small, Books for All

Now through Mon, October 23, 2017 9:00 A.M.

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 artifacts and explore ideas of the form, function, and meaning of…

Adult Young Adult School Age Toddler Senior Other Great Programs Exhibitions Family Rare Books, Manuscripts, & Digital Collections Special 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.