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Registration for Programs


The Athenaeum Takes a Hard Look at Philadelphia in the Movies

“A Contrarian Looks at The Philadelphia Story,” with film critic Carrie Rickey

Wednesday, January 30, 2:00 PM

Expressly conceived as a Broadway vehicle to transform its star, Katharine Hepburn, from movie "Box Office Poison" to stage success, The Philadelphia Story -- both the play and the film based on it -- succeeded in rehabilitating her career. Though she would enjoy her new status as Box Office Queen for six more decades, in The Philadelphia Story and most of her movies after, her screen character had to be humiliated in order to ingratiate her to an audience that considered her too posh and privileged. And what was Howard Hughes' involvement in the new, improved formula for Hepburn films?

Film critic emerita of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Carrie Rickey reviews books for Film Quarterly, movies for, contributes to publications including Film Comment, The Forward and The New York Times, and teaches at Drexel and University of Pennsylvania. She recently produced a documentary, Before Hollywood, that won a regional Emmy award.

Free. RSVP: Call 215-925-2688 or email

Discovering Philadelphia, Places Little Known
David Traub in conversation with David Brownlee

Thursday, February 7, 5:30 PM

It is the long stretches of brick row homes along narrow streets that give Philadelphia its characteristic form and flavor. Positioned here and there within the matrix of crisscrossing byways are unusual places that stand out against the background of a pervasive urban fabric. These places are the subject of the talk. Images from Traub’s new book Discovering Philadelphia, Places Little Known will be shown, after which Traub and architectural historian David Brownlee will discuss the book.

David S. Traub came from Louisville, Kentucky in 1964 to study at the University of Pennsylvania in the Master Class of architect Louis Kahn, remaining in the city after graduation to establish an architectural practice. Over the years he has been active in efforts to save Philadelphia’s unique characteristics, co-founding the historic preservation organization Save Our Sites in 2004. In addition to Discovering Philadelphia, Traub is the author of Philadelphia, the Concealed City.

David Brownlee is the Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Professor of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania and a Vice Chair of the Design Advocacy Group. A specialist in the architecture and city planning of Europe and America from the eighteenth century to the present, he has written about many Philadelphia people and places, including Paul Cret, Louis Kahn, Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and the Penn campus.

This event has received generous support from The William Strickland Lecture Fund

Reception and book signing to follow.
Athenaeum Members: Free. RSVP: Call 215-925-2688 or email
General Public: $15

Qty Description Price
Traub-Brownlee Lecture: General Public

Steven Conn, “Thinking about Thoreau in an Age of Resistance”

Thursday, February 28, 5:30 PM

Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience is widely regarded as the founding document in the modern history of dissent and resistance. A long list of major figures, East and West, have praised Thoreau’s argument and acknowledged his impact. Tolstoy repeatedly expressed his admiration. Gandhi testified that Thoreau “greatly influenced” his tactics. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., described Civil Disobedience as the cornerstone of his campaign of non-violent resistance.

In his presentation, Professor Conn will closely examine Civil Disobedience – which he believes is more often saluted than carefully read – to clarify the limits as well as the strengths of Thoreau’s text.

Steven Conn is the W. E. Smith Professor of History at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The author of books on museums, urban history, and architecture, he is also the editor of the on-line journal Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective.

This event has received generous support from The Francis R. and Jean L. Grebe Lecture Fund

to follow.
Athenaeum Members: Free. RSVP: Call 215-925-2688 or email
General Public: $15

Qty Description Price
Conn Lecture: General Public

Michael Witmore, “A Monument to Shakespeare in the Nation’s Capital”

Tuesday, March 12, 5:30 PM

The Folger Shakespeare Library opened in 1932, a classical structure that in the hands of architect Paul Cret mixed elements of the Beaux Arts and developing modernist styles. In this lecture, Dr. Michael Witmore, Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, will discuss the form and meaning of the building that the Folgers created as a “gift to the American people.” What did it mean to create a monument to Shakespeare – an outsized British literary figure – in a city of monuments honoring figures such as Jefferson, Washington, and Lincoln? The ambitions of the Folger’s founding philanthropists, and the tension between civic life and the life of the arts and humanities, is built into the edifice that remains and continues to inspire visitors to Washington.

Michael Witmore was appointed the seventh director of the Folger on July 1, 2011. He was formerly professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and before that he served as associate professor of English and assistant professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Witmore earned an A.B. in English at Vassar College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley.

This event has received generous support from The Henry Paul Busch Fund.

Reception to follow.
This is an event for Shareholders only (Shareholders are welcome to bring one guest).

RSVP: Call 215-925-2688 or email

AYA Trio

Tuesday, April 30, 5:30 PM

The AYA Trio was formed in 2013 at the Curtis Institute of Music, where the members have studied with Peter Wiley as their main coach, along with Jonathan Biss, Arnold Steinhardt, and Meng-Shieh Lieu.

The trio has participated in masterclasses with Peter Wiley, Robert Levine, Noah Bendix-Bagely, Peter Stumpf, and Jessica Lee, and have performed numerous times in the Philadelphia Area including performances at the Philadelphia Club and Curtis.

Pianist Ying Li, from China, entered Curtis in 2012 and currently studies with professor Jonathan Biss. Ms. Li holds the Harold and Helene Schonberg Fellowship. Violinist Angela Sin Ying Chan was accepted to Curtis in 2013, where she studies with Prof. Aaron Rosand and Prof. Shmuel Ashkenasi. Cellist Andres Sanchez began his studies at Curtis in 2013. He studies with cellist Peter Wiley and Carter Brey.

This event has received generous support from The Edith Ogden Harrision Lecture Fund

to follow.
Athenaeum Members: Free. RSVP: Call 215-925-2688 or email
General Public: $15

Qty Description Price
AYA Trio: General Public

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