In this issue:


Banner Image: Busch Reading Room, Sept. 28, 2013, Photo by Nevin Kishbaugh/

Membership    ·    New Books    ·    Event Calendar

Banner Image: Busch Reading Room, Sept. 28, 2013, Photo by Nevin Kishbaugh/

The Athenaeum will close at 1:00PM on November 27th for the Thanksgiving holiday, and will reopen on Monday December 2nd.

Lecture and Book Signing- John Whitenight, Under Glass: A Victorian Obsession

Co-sponsored by the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion and The Victorian Society in America.

John Whitenight’s book Under Glass: A Victorian Obsession explores the world of Victorian glass domes and their collections of seashells, wax flowers, fruit, silk work, seeds, paper and more. One of the topics covered is “nature contained” or the way in which the Victorians included natural history in their home decor. Ornithological studies were de rigueur in many 19th century parlors.  Mr. Whitenight will also discuss and illustrate the steps involved in creating a glass dome of stuffed birds and will unveil one of his own creations where he has used all the 19th century techniques. Members of the audience who also collect Victorian glass domes are encouraged to bring one to show Mr. Whitenight. No appraisals will be done. John Whitenight began collecting glass domes in 1973. He currently owns 175 domed displays. Book signing to follow; light refreshments served.

Saturday, November 2, 2:00PM

Free for Athenaeum, Maxwell Mansion and VSA Members, All others $10.  RSVP to Brittany Koch at or call 215-925-2688.

Building Update

The Chandelier Rises Again
You probably noticed that for several weeks the stairhall chandelier was residing on the basement landing. Taking advantage of the need to lower the chandelier while the lantern was being repaired, your Superintendence Committee called for cleaning and repair to the two-tiered, eighteen-branched, gilt "candle" chandelier. The Athenaeum chandelier features Ormolu gilding with burnished banding on a matte finish background and has been attributed to the Cornelius Company of Philadelphia c. 1845-1855. With this recent cleaning and restoration, J. Craig Maue of Museum Quality Restoration, who had been part of the team which restored the piece in the 1980s, added the glass bobeches which would have been included with the original chandelier to catch falling wax. This chandelier was a gift of Samuel W. Morris, Jr., and Carolyn F. Morris in 1981. 

Other Building Work
The Athenaeum has also undertaken and completed the stabilization of the north wall of the building and the abovementioned repair of the lantern.  In process currently is the restoration of the stairhall windows. 

Lecture and Book Signing- Rosemary Flannery, Angels of Paris

Rosemary Flannery’s fascination with the architecture of Paris led to the creation of her book, Angels of Paris, which focuses on the sublime details of angels depicted on Parisian buildings through the ages. Ms. Flannery’s talk will focus on the evolution of artistic trends, with an examination of buildings such as a medieval hostel, an abbots’ townhouse, an apartment residence and churches with angelic details from the Gothic period, through to the Renaissance, Baroque, Haussmanian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods. Rosemary Flannery has lived in France since 1989 and enjoys dual French-American nationality. She graduated with honors from Columbia University in 1985 with a degree in French language and literature, and studied with Professor Claude Mignot, an authority on Parisian building façades, at the Sorbonne. While at Columbia she co-produced and hosted French Encounters, a public-access television program on French culture produced in conjunction with the French Embassy. In 2005 she created and produced The Art Beat, a weekly cultural magazine for Paris Live Radio, an Internet radio station; several of her programs have been picked up by BBC World. Book signing and reception to follow.

Thursday, November 21, 5:30PM

Free for Athenaeum Members, All others $10.  RSVP to Brittany Koch at or call 215-925-2688.


Annual Roger W. Moss Symposium


La France à Philadelphie: Joseph Bonaparte and the French Influence in 19th Century Philadelphia


December 7-8, 2013


Online registration


On the registration page, you can also download a pdf of the invitation.  Athenaeum members will receive an invitation in the mail.



Monday-Friday:  9:00am-5:00pm

First three Saturdays of the month: 11:00am-3:00pm (excluding July and August).



219 S. 6th Street

Philadelphia, PA  19106 


The building is accessible to persons with disabilities.  

Group tours and research visits are by appointment only. 


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