Rare Book Department

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

Open today until 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, 1/19 Closed
Monday, 1/20 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed
Tuesday, 1/21 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 1/22 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, 1/23 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday, 1/24 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 1/25 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • * Monday had hour changes – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
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

  • Mon., Feb. 17 : Closed Presidents' Day
  • Fri., Apr. 10 : Closed Good Friday
  • Sun., Apr. 12 : Closed Easter
  • Mon., May. 25 : Closed Memorial Day
  • Sat., Jul. 4 : Closed Independence Day
View all holiday closings

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Upcoming Events

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…

Hands-on History Presents: Uncovering the Real James Bond at The Free Library of Philadelphia

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

In researching his new book about Philadelphian James Bond, whose identity was stolen by Ian Fleming, author Jim Wright found a goldmine the Free…

Hands-on History Presents: Organized Labor in Philadelphia

Sat, May 9, 2:00 P.M.

The history of organized labor reflects the cultural, often radical, values of the working class at a particular place and time. Participants will…

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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.