NEWS: April 2008

Vol. 1, No. 3

In This Issue:

The Athenaeum Member's Reading Room, by Alfred Bendiner, c. 1962.


Greetings from the Executive Director,

Like many other institutions the Athenaeum is now in a strategic planning process, designed to encourage Board, members and staff to examine our organization, its strengths and weaknesses.   Out of this we hope to create a plan that will reflect the desires of the membership as well as the wider views of our community, local foundations and other libraries and museums.  We are ably led in this process by a consultant recruited by the Business Volunteers for the Arts.   The Board and staff really depend upon your insights and ideas regarding the Athenaeum; and, therefore, we are holding three meetings when members can get together to talk about the Athenaeum and its future.  These meetings will be held on the following dates, and you can reserve your place by either calling Susan Gallo at 215-925-2688 or e-mailing her at

April 28, 2008, 2:00 PM

May 14, 2008, 10:00 AM

June 2, 2008, 5:30 PM

How can you contribute to this effort if you cannot attend one of the meetings?  You have two ways – either fill out the paper survey which is available at the front desk of the Athenaeum, or complete and submit this online survey.

Banner Image: The Athenaeum Member's Reading Room, by Alfred Bendiner, c. 1962.

Architectural Shades & Shadows: The Continuing Tradition of the Beaux Arts

This exhibition, designed to mark the reprint of John F. Harbeson’s seminal text on the Beaux-Arts method, The Study of Architectural Design (1926), combines the work of Harbeson with that of John Blatteau, a modern-day practitioner of the Beaux-Arts style.

The exhibition will be open 9:00-5:00, Monday-Friday, through May 30, 2008. Admission is free.

Gallery talks will take place on April 16 at 3:00 PM, and May 28 at 5:30 PM.  Reservations are required for the gallery talks. Contact Susan Gallo at 215-925-2688 or

Above: The Casino of a Country Club, by John Harbeson, 1910. John Harbeson Collection, The Athenaeum of Philadelphia.

Are You Getting All That You Need From The Athenaeum Website?

If you would like more information, join Jill Lee, Bruce Laverty, and Michael Seneca for a training session designed to reveal all of the special features of our website  -- how to find books and drawings, how to search in the Philadelphia Architects and Buildings site, and where to read archived e-newsletters.  This session will be held on Tuesday, April 29th, at 9:30 AM in the Busch Room.  Reservations are necessary, so please call Susan Gallo at 215-925-2688 or e-mail her at  Light refreshments will be served.

Photo by Jim Carroll.


Athenaeum Images Appear on City Bus Shelters

Next time you’re waiting for the bus in Center City, take a look around. You may see some historic images from the Athenaeum’s collection.  Beginning in 2007, the Center City District (CCD), which oversees signage on bus shelters across town, began incorporating historic images supplied by the Athenaeum into their bus shelters.  These views provide transit riders (or more accurately, transit waiters) a glimpse of what a particular block may have looked like 50, 75, or 100 years ago.  Printed on the reverse side of new, easy-to-read bus route maps installed by the Central Philadelphia Transportation Management Association, these historical images are accompanied by current views and explanatory text. If you read the small print, you’ll see a credit line for the Athenaeum. There’s even a plug for the Philadelphia Architects and Buildings Project, which CCD used to make its image selection.  For a list of the 38 shelters featuring Athenaeum images click here.  For a larger view of the sign, click the photo above. 

Photo: Bus shelter at 7th & Chestnut Sts. Photo by Jim Carroll.

Where In The World Is This Painting?

You would know the answer to this question if you had attended one of our popular “insider” tours in February and March.   You have another opportunity to find the painting this May when the “insider” returns.  Call or e-mail Susan Gallo  and reserve your space for Tuesday, May 13th, at 3PM.  If you cannot attend on May 13th, don’t despair.  We will hold another tour this summer.

Painting by Emanuel Leutze.

In The Next Issue: Another hidden treasure from the Athenaeum's collections.

The Athenaeum is open 9:00AM to 5:00PM, Monday-Friday.  The building is accessible to persons with disabilities.  Group tours and research visits are by appointment only. Please visit our website for more information, or call 215-925-2688.


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