NEWS: September 2010

Vol. 3, No. 9

In This Issue:

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



If you were traveling this summer, you may have missed the articles mentioning the Athenaeum which were published by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Both were by Tom Stoelker, an intern from Columbia University; and both his writing and his photographs of the Athenaeum brought considerable attention our way. To see the major article on us, go to If you scroll to the bottom of that article, you will find the link to Tom's video, complete with interviews with a few willing and articulate members. For the second article in which he mentions our collection of stereoscopic views, go to We were very pleased with both articles and hope that you will enjoy them too.


Reminder: The Athenaeum will be closed for Labor Day on September 6th. 


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


New Books for September

Athenaeum Bookshelf  09-2010

Theophilus P. Chandler, Jr., Portrait of An American Architect Exhibition

Based on the Athenaeum's collection and extensive research by Chandler scholars, Joan Roberts and the late William B. Bassett, this exhibition and accompanying catalog will be a significant contribution to the scholarship of gilded-age art and architecture. The Athenaeum has the largest extant archive of Chandler materials, including more than 200 original drawings and sketches, hundreds of contemporary photographs, office files, and the architect's own substantial art and design library.

The importance of Theophilus Parsons Chandler, Jr. (1845-1928) to the architectural profession in late nineteenth-century Philadelphia cannot be overestimated, not only as a conveyor of high-style design, often based on European models, but also as the founder of the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Architecture.  Chandler substantially affected the architectural climate in Philadelphia and raised the role of architect to new heights of professionalism.  His first commissions reflect his ties to the development of the Philadelphia suburb of Ridley Park, but by 1874 he was already engaged on commissions for the duPont family in Delaware.  Throughout his career Chandler designed a number of residences, but he became chiefly known as an ecclesiastical architect, with such major churches as the Church of the New Jerusalem in Philadelphia, Calvary Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., and the First Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, PA, to his credit.

September 13 - November 12, 2010
Free Admission

Edmund De Waal Lecture and Book Signing

Edmund De Waal, The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss

Renowned British potter Edmund de Waal tells the story of his family, 264 Japanese netsuke, three Jewish owners, and the three rooms which housed the netsuke collection over a period of 140 years. Mr. de Waal is the fifth generation to inherit the collection, and he describes the way in which the maintenance and care of the collection dominated his life for over 30 years.


Thursday, September 30, 2010, 5:30 PM


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


Non-members click here to register



Pockets, Inserts and Hidden Places-A Travel Journal Workshop

Have you  just returned from a wonderful trip? Are you planning one?  Do you collect, acquire and save wonderful ephemera?  Come with your riches and memories and create a journal with multiple and unique enclosures, each specifically designed to contain your treasures.  After making all the pages, we will sew and bind the book.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Adult Workshop: 10:00am-4:00pm

$100 for Members

$125 for Non-Members


Click here to register

Member Critics

Graham Farmelo. The Strangest Man. New York: Basic Books, 2009.


Yes, Paul Dirac was hard to know and probably very hard to live with, as is often the case with geniuses.  Yet he had a very loving wife and good friends among the top ranking physicists.  When you get to know them you care about them and feel their joy and pain in birth and death, success and failure.


This meticulously true story took place during the entire 20th century, mainly in England and Europe but ending in Florida at the Diracs' home on the Tallahassee campus of Florida State University.  Their tale is replete with the names and personae of famous theoretical physicists from Einstein and on down as well as the labs and universities where they did their thinking and wrote their papers and taught (and sometimes learned from) their graduate students.  There are Nobel Prize winners, heroes, and international villains.  There are no murders, but the dimensions are Shakespearean.  I really loved this book though Paul should've let himself be knighted! 


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:  

September 8: Opening Reception for Theophilis P. Chandler Jr., Portrait of An American Architect exhibition, 5:30pm

September 14: Socrates Cafe, 11:00am

September 30: Edmund De Waal, The Hare With Amber Eyes. Lecture and book signing, 5:30pm

October 2: First Saturday, Athenaeum open


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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