NEWS: October 2010

Vol. 3, No. 10

In This Issue:

Banner Image: Engraving of The Athenaeum from Gleason's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, 8/15/1854. Hand colored at a later date.


Banner Image: Engraving of The Athenaeum from Gleason's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, 8/15/1854. Hand colored at a later date.


New Books for October

Athenaeum Bookshelf  10-2010

Michael Capuzzo Lecture and Book Signing

Michael Capuzzo, The Murder Room

Best selling author, Michael Capuzzo, here illuminates the story of the Vidocq Society of Philadelphia, which was the brainchild of three wildly different men brought together by their desire to speak for the dead: freewheeling ex-boxer turned forensic sculptor Frank Bender; FBI and U.S. Customs agent William Fleisher; and pre-eminent forensic psychologist and profiler Richard Walter.  What began as an informal meeting of colleagues in 1990 evolved into an expansive international think tank of sorts modeled and named after France's famed criminal-turned-sleuth Eugene Vidocq, a model for Sherlock Holmes.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 5:30 PM


Free to members. RSVP to Susan Gallo at 215-925-2688 or


Non-members click here to register


Children's Programs

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Come for stories with Michele Belluomini of Blue Deer Storytelling and then stay for a book arts workshop with Maria Pisano.  Our theme is travel: holiday travel, travel abroad, and for the workshop even travel to another planet.



Free for members, RSVP to Susan Gallo at 215-925-2688 or

$5 for Non-Members, Click here to register


$15 for Members

$25 for Non-Members, Click here to register


H. Mather Lippincott (1921-2010)

Architect Horace Mather Lippincott passed away suddenly on September 20th.  He was a shareholder of the Athenaeum since 1967.  Born in 1921 in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, he attended Haverford College and later, the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated with a degree in Architecture.  In 1958, Robert Venturi, Paul Cope and Mather Lippincott formed the architectural firm of Venturi, Cope and Lippincott.  One of the notable buildings that resulted from this professional collaboration was the Guild House, built in 1963 and located at 7th and Spring Garden Streets.  The Guild House was placed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in 2004. His architectural partnership with Paul Cope would continue until Cope's death in 2006.

He designed the home where he and his wife Peg would live for 45 years, located in the Coleshill Subdivision of Rose Valley, PA.  Peg selected the home's interior finishes and much of the work constructing the house was completed using their own labor.  The house was featured in the Delaware County Times as the "Home of the Week" in 1957, for its unique modern design which had floor to ceiling windows looking out onto a wooded acre.  Peg and Mather were the parents of four sons.

He joined the Union League in 1968.  In 1969, he was an inaugural member of the newly formed Union League Glee Club, of which he was a member for over 40 years, singing in the tenor section.  He and Peg were featured in the 2010 season of the Glee Club performing a Gilbert and Sullivan duet from the operetta "The Mikado," which met with rave reviews.  He was also a founding member of the Union League's Pepper Patrons and was a founding member and Trustee Emeritus of the Abraham Lincoln Foundation.

Mather was proud of his Quaker heritage and was a descendant of Richard Lippincott who settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1635.  Richard Lippincott's many descendents include former presidents Richard Nixon, George W. Bush and publisher James Ballinger Lippincott.

In 2007, Mather was interviewed by Bruce Laverty and Hyman Myers, FAIA.  To view highlights from this interview click here.

Above: H. Mather Lippincott.  Photo from the 1969 AIA Philadelphia Yearbook when Mather was its President. Obituary courtesy of Janet Grace.


Member Critics

Terry Teachout.  Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.


An excellent biography with newly available material, but nothing really new until this on page 362:


...unknown in his lifetime save to his friends...colorful boxes, like the pages of clippings posted into his scrapbooks and the giant-sized collages that covered the walls and ceiling of his den, have a freely associated quality that recalls the "visionary art" of untrained painters...


Louis was an artist in the broad sense of the term (as well as in the narrow sense).  Essentially his life was a work of art.  It, like his performances, was not meticulously planned as some would (and do) say it was at its best when he threw away the script.  The key word was "balance," and an essential aspect of his genius was his ability to turn it loose and quickly recover.


Submitted by Dr. Harold Rashkis.


Do you have a book that you loved (or hated), and would you be willing to share that opinion on the Athenaeum e-newsletter?  If so, please send your short essay to


Save the Date:  

October 2: First Saturday, Athenaeum open

October 12: Socrates Cafe, 11:00am

October 13: Michael Capuzzo, The Murder Room. Lecture and book signing, 5:30pm

October 30: Book Workshop: Pockets, Inserts and Hidden Places- A Travel Journal


See the Event Calendar for details and additional events.


The Athenaeum is open 9:00AM to 5:00PM, Monday-Friday and the first Saturday of the month from 10:00AM to 2:00PM (excluding the summer months). 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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