NEWS: September 2011

Vol. 4, No. 9

In This Issue:

Banner Image: Detail of a watercolor of the Athenaeum by Frederick Fermor, c. 1981.




Welcome back after what I hope was a restful summer. Here at the Athenaeum we have had a hectic summer with the exchange of our 1975/76 air conditioning units for new ones with a higher energy-saving rating. We had a few very hot weeks here, but we did not close. We hope that next summer we can schedule more programs since the air conditioning will be more efficient. Also, by now you should have received your schedule for fall programs. Please note that although we are not open for First Saturday due to the Labor Day weekend, we will open on September 24th from 11am to 3pm for Smithsonian Museum Day. We will have a librarian on duty that day for you to check out books, and the gallery, of course, will be open with the new exhibition in place.


Banner Image: Detail of a watercolor of the Athenaeum by Frederick Fermor, c. 1981.


New Books for September

Athenaeum Bookshelf  09-2011

Philadelphia Places on Paper: Selections From The Eli P. Zebooker Collection

Philadelphia Places on Paper is an exhibition of more than 50 pieces from the recent gift of Dr. Eli P. Zebooker, an Athenaeum shareholder since 1976. Featured are maps, prints and books that document the growing Colonial, Federal and Victorian City. Some of Philadelphia’s rarest 18th and 19th century cartographic, iconographic, and bibliographic treasures will be on view, including William Scull’s 1770 Map of Pennsylvania, Carrington Bowles’s 1778 East Perspective View of the City of Philadelphia, and Julio Rae’s 1851 Pictorial Directory & Panoramic Advertiser of Chestnut Street.


Exhibition Dates: September 19 - November 11, 2011
Free Admission

Opening Reception: September 21, 5:30-7:30PM, informal remarks at 6:00PM.  RSVP to Susan Gallo at or 215-925-2688.


Above: Detail of a chromolithograph of Independence Hall, 1876, by Thomas Hunter after Theodore Poleni.


Athenaeum Scanner Records Earthquake

As last week's earthquake surprised the city of Philadelphia, the Athenaeum's Regional Digital Imaging Center was scanning a 1939 survey drawing of the Chew Estate in Radnor.  The highly sensitive Cruse Scanner felt the tremor enough to leave a visual record of the event in the scanned image.  Click the image to the left to see the shaky results.  The earthquake begins on the left hand side of the image, reaches its peak in the center and finally returns to normal on the right hand side.


Above: Detail of PEW.RHS.2.35.1, Collection of the Radnor Historical Society on long term loan to the Athenaeum  through the Museum Loan Program of the Pew Charitable Trusts. 


Tunnel Book Workshop with Maria Pisano

A tunnel book is a wonderful structure that allows the viewer to look within and discover a hidden world, which evolves in accumulated layers. Originally derived from a “peep” show, it still feels that we are allowed to gaze within a personal space. The class would begin with a short history of movables. We would construct a tunnel book, and learn the number of ways this structure can be adapted to diverse themes. We will start with making a model to understand how the structure moves and is constructed. If time permits you can begin to create a work with your own images.

October 1, 2011, 10:00AM

$40 for Athenaeum Members, All others $60


Click here for registration


KieranTimberlake: Inquiry Book Launch

Established in Philadelphia in 1984, KieranTimberlake is an internationally recognized architecture firm, recipient of numerous honors including the 2008 AIA Architecture Firm Award and 2010 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award. By undertaking a path of research into new materials and potential technologies that alter fabrication and delivery methods and influence the way we live in our environments, KieranTimberlake reshapes our expectations of architecture. Join Stephen Kieran and James Timberlake to celebrate the launch of their fifth book, a reflection on the last decade of inquisitive approaches to their clients’ needs, as well as the needs of the environment, and how that has broadened their vision of the relationship between process, craft, and form. Reception and book signing to follow.

October 5, 2011, 5:30PM

Free for Athenaeum members. RSVP to Susan Gallo at 215-925-2688 or  All others $10, you may pay by clicking here.

Save the date:

September 21: Opening reception for Philadelphia Places on Paper: Selections From the Eli P. Zebooker Collection, 5:30pm.


September 24: Smithsonian Museum Day, Athenaeum open, 11:00am-3:00pm.


October 1: Tunnel Book workshop with Maria Pisano, 10:00am.

October 5: Kieran Timberlake book launch, 5:30pm.


October 19: Marc Fumaroli, When the World Spoke French, 5:30pm.

October 29: Children's programs: storytelling (1:00pm) and book arts workshop (2:00pm).


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 11:00AM to 3:00PM (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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