Tuesday, June 23, 2015


The second full day of the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS) Book Tour, Friday, June 5th, began by the members being split into two groups. My group went to the Library Company of Philadelphia, a short walk from our hotel.

This is America's Oldest Cultural Institution, founded on July 1, 1731 by Benjamin Franklin. The fascinating history can be found on Google. In short, books were expensive and by banding together men who had much smaller means could amass a collection larger than any one person was able to afford.  Shares were sold for 40 shillings, and each shareholder promised 10 chillings a year to purchase more books.

Upon entering, we turned to the left into a display are. James N. Green, Librarian, had several of his assistants giving us this section of the tour. I found the following books and documents to be most interesting. All centered around a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation:

"Northern Black Activism After The Civil War - 1865+"
Reconstruction Amendments to the Constitution: 13th, 14th, 15th
"History of the Negro Race in America 1619-1880" George Williams, 1883
"The Tragedy of The Negro in America" Rev. P. Thomas Stanford, 1899
"The Underground Railroad - A Record" William Still, 1872, Porter and Coates:Philadelphia
"Music and Some Highly Musical People" James Trotter, 1878, Boston
"The Afro-American Press and Its Editors" I. Garland Pean, 1891, Springfield, Mass. Wiley and Company
"The Work of the Afro-American Woman" Mrs. N. F. Mossell, 1894, Philadelphia
"History of the African Methodest Episcopal Church"  Daniel A. Payne, Two parts  in One Volume, 1891, Nashville, Illinois
"to Teach The Negro History: A Suggestion" David McKay, Philadelphia, 1897, small paper chapbook
"The Black Phalanx: A History of Negro Soldiers of the United States in the Wars of 1775-1812, 1861-1865" Hartford Publishing, decorated red cover with gold imprint
"A History of the Negro Troop in the War of the Rebellion 1861-1865" Harper Brothers, 1888, decorated in tan cloth with black soldier, title in gold
"Freedom and Citizenship - Selected Letters and Addresses"  Hon. John Mercer Langston, U. S. Minister at Haiti
Pamphlets: Senate Committee, Voting and Labor, General Assembly of Ohio

Our next stop was the Print Department. Over 100,000 items are stored here. These fine examples were on display:
Goodyear's Poster, 18th c.
Cartoons into the 20th c.
A Voting Stump Bear, 1910, boxed with a flag in the background of the box, and the bear with arms outstretched and large letters saying VOTE!
An 1892 View of the Proposed Falls Bridge over the Schuylkill River, from the Department of Public Works
The Allegheny Tunnel: a large photo album oat Galatzen by Frederic Goodyannce, photographer (All 92 photos are on line.)
Record of House Decorations, in drawings with the appropriate colors in each room and on the furniture. Most colorful!
Two books on line: "Philadelphia Businesses" and "An Exhibit of Philadelphia in Stone" lithographs from 1828-1878
Peterson Bookshop  (posters)
"Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collector Libraries - PACSCL"
Thank you to the print department for a most interesting array of artifacts.

Back on the first floor, we ended our tour in the reading room, where head librarian James N. Green had a large display table of show-and-tell items from his 500,000 book collection.  This is an Independent Library and they helped found the IRLA, Independent Research Libraries Association. Funding for the Library Company comes from Library Members, shareholders, endowments, grants, PACSCL, and the subscription library fees. Major exhibits are given throughout the year. In 2016, "World War I Affects The Library Company" will feature 300 World War I posters. The exhibit we were seeing today are as follows:
"M. T. Ciceros CATO MAJOR On His Discourse of Old Age: with explanatory notes"  Benjamin Franklin:Philadelphia, 1744
"Fruits of Philosophy or The Private Companion of Young Married People" by a physician with "Knowledge Is Wealth" printed on the bottom of the front cover, a miniature meant to be concealed in a pocket, beige leather, NY 1832, pamphlet on birth control and sex.  The impact was delayed, but the physician ended up in jail. The 1870's were the real beginnings of birth control.
"Map of LA: History of Louisiana" Dr. Benjamin Smith Barton of Mr. LePage DuPratz. This is available to be seen on line.
Broadside: Death of King George Lamented  in Pennsylvania by Charles Knollton
"The Legacy of Lucy Stone - 1818-1893"  Born in West Brookfield, Massachusetts, she graduated from Oberlin in 1847. Illustrated News, May 28, 1853, p.345.
One Life Mask:  George Washington
Two Death Masks: Napoleon Bonaparte and Abraham Lincoln
"An Elegice Poem" George Whitefield, sold by Ezekiel Russell (England) Queen Street and John Boyles on Marlboro Street
"The Federalist - Vol. I of 2" J and A Mclean
Leaf designs, designed by Franklin, which make paper money (script) hard to counterfeit.

The room we were in was filled with Franklin items: A large Electric Generator sits on a stand, and a long electric tube is in a case (This came with many from England.) This is the James Logan Room and has William Penn's desk in the corner. Logan gave the largest collection housed at The Library Company. There is a box with a lion's head painted with an open slit for monetary donations and titled Lion's Mouth.

Franklin was known for taking inventions and making them work even better. His complete library is here, with many books notated. In the 1800s more literature was added, and in 1950 a complete reorganization made it a research library so that historians could use it more effectively.

Thank you for such a grand tour.  Franklin has left his mark on all of us!

Our next visit was right next door to The Library Company, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania. This is primarily an archive.  Lee Arnold greeted us. He is Senior Director of the Society's library.

The Conservation Lab was our first stop where we met Erin Paulson and Carissa Schulze. They were hired to examine and perform the conservation and preservation measures to save the Collection of the Wells Fargo Bank of North America - 1780-1920. This was the first bank in the United States. An oversize ledger was on their tall table which had a large surface and was very well lit to eliminate as many shadows as possible. Another large tome being saved by these experts was "The Land Book of 1830," plots that were rented out by the bank, in which the artist added some very nice water colors for various areas. They were tacking the joints of the detached covers. Another volume was from 1781-1806 which held entries of funding for the revolution. The whole project is a three-year grant program. by the Bank of North America.

Another fascinating larger book contained the collections that one man made of different flora as he toured through Europe in the 1860s. The job here was to keep the flowers, stems. roots  and leaves from falling apart and preserve the paper as well. A large and delicate project and very beautiful.

There were many projects on the tables with problems from split spines,  broken thread on the signatures , covers with stains, pages with foxing, photographs to clean up, tears to mend, and water damage to remove. Quite a wonderful profession! These ladies have a very special calling.
Thank you for the tour.

We continued to the Information Commons. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania was founded in 1824. It was 21,000,000 (yes million) items, including 203,000 visuals, 312,000 graphics, 560,000 books. The oldest entry of record is a 1479 letter from Lorenzo di Midici which is in the Autograph Collection.  Their funding comes from $40,000 in restricted yet separate funds each year for these three areas: American Indians, the
Cumberland Valley, and Buildings No Longer in Philadelphia. The display cases showed the following:
"WPA Indian Costumes" drawings
Watercolors (15) of the Civil War
Violet Oakley (muralist in the State Capital) sketch books
"Underground Railroad" William Still
1800's watercolor - David Kennedy
Penn Family Papers which holds an Indian receipt of $10,000 for land in Fort Stanwix, PA, july 28, 1769
Map in French "en camp at Valley Forge"
Martha Washington's Cookbook in her writing
Washington's Household Account Book (from when this was the capital and the Washington's lived here)
Harriet Taubman's account of slaves brought in on Dec. 29, 1854. All are listed, described and their history preserved.
"The Articles of Confederation in Lancaster" 1777-1778 in German
The most impressive article, however, was reading George Washington's own written diary account of his slow death. It brought tears to your eyes. You could feel his depression and pain. This great man had given so much.

We were to return to this room Saturday morning for our annual Symposium. But I knew that I could not enter this room without remembering those famous diary notes of Washington.

As we continued to another room, we were told the Society was a repository of paper in 1790. Then it began to have a special collections emphasis as many families started giving them their entire family tree histories, There have been many venues as they grew. In 1824 they formerly became
the HSP and in 1910 they decided to build here. It is $100% fireproof with 19 storage vaults, 5 on each floor, sealed off. In the 1950s they restored another room and made it exactly like the older rooms, a seamless extension. Last year South Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware merged with the HSP. They added their manuscripts, family histories and scholarly books to the HSP collection.

The display cases  tell more stories:
The Sumiko Kobayashi Papers from December 20, 1945: an exhibit of suffrage and women who are exceptional.
Violet Oakley,  large mural sketch books of the murals she did for the State Capital. (She is considered our First American Artist.)
The Caroline Katzenstein Paper Collection: 1910-1920s, shows public programs and primary documents of a work study program (Drexel University)
1,300,000 card catalog items
Thanks to Page Talbot, President of the HSP who helped us to understand how important these libraries are to all of us. Her group funds many public programs to get the word out about the Society. She is a dynamic leader.   Thank you so much to everyone who arranged and explained these impressive archives.

Lunchtime has come.  Where do we go? Well, somewhere historical, of course…The Franklin Inn Club!

The Clubhouse is located on the last wood street in Philadelphia. when you enter you are met with the features of numerous caricatures of Inn Members by artists Alfred Bendiner and Wyncie King. and upstairs in the library by the art works of Howard Pyle and R. Tait McKenzie. According to the documentation we were given, the Club banishes stuffiness and pretension, and is a warm and comfortable haven, where you can enjoy a leisurely meal (lunch) and excellent conversation with fellow Innmates!  Founded in 1902, it has a list of famous Philadelphians too long to mention. And when major celebrations are in order, they open for dinner, making sure the fellowship continues into the wee hours.

We were very comfortable in this setting, conversation flowed and the food was delicious.  Thank you to the chef and waitstaff.

Now on to our three afternoon venues.  The first is the Boston Athenaeum, a private lending library founded in 1814 to collect materials, resources for design, architecture, and the decorative and fine arts. The building was designed in 1845 by John Notman.  The high ceilings and large rooms leave space for the high decor which represents the mid-19th century American room.

This month's exhibit, "The Atlas Imagined," was a collaborative project of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers.  Thirty-nine members made an edition of maps depicting a place - real or imagined. Then they exchanged maps and bound them into a book or made a unique box. A very interesting display.

Their book collection contains 200,00 drawings and 300,000 photos. The furniture and art is unique with the centerpiece being the old Isaiah Lukens Grandfather Clock, c.1840. It was brought here in 1859 and electrified in 1923. (Isaiah was the son of Seneca Lukens, clockmaker, 1751-1829.) This clock stands nearly two stories tall in the Henry Paul Busch Reading Room. Other objects around the Library include a large Maltby Globe (1867) made in England and part of the Josephine Bonaparte Room Collection. From the George Miller Estate came a large bookcase which has on its shelf a bust of Minerva. She is the Roman Goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts and magic. Her counterpart is the muse for the Athenaeum, Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom. So Minerva is put in a place of honor, in fact, when Edgar Allan Poe saw this in1838 (at a different location) he captured her in this poem "The Raven."  A display case held sheet music titled "The Battle of Waterloo". This composition by G. Anderson was composed and dedicated o the Duke of Wellington in 1815, and published in 1816. There also is a chess room here, and a table with an oil cloth checker board.

We went to the second floor to view the clock and also see a fine display of materials which reflect the holdings of the Athenaeum. Sandra Tatman, who edited a wonderful book,  "Treasures of the Athenaeum," which we were each given,  (Thank you so much!), led our tour of the display:
"Unknown Quantity" Henry Van Dyke, decorated book cover signed Margaret Armstrong, MA, from the van Dyke Collection
"A Cabin in the Clearing" poem by Robert Frost, printed at Joseph Blumenthals Spiral Press (Frost's friend, and so inscribed)
"A Boy's Will" Robert Frost, published by David Nutt: London 1913. Frost's first book, inscribed and signed.
"Untrodden Peaks and Unfrequented Valleys" Amelia B. Edwards, about archeological digs, decorated cover
"The Course of True Love never Did Run Smooth"  Charles Reade   Chattto-Windus:London 1887, no illustrations. They have hundreds of these "bokes," for "Adult Reading" (advertising on the back) and sold for 10 cents each.
"Shop:  Furniture, Draperies, etc." 1885, William Whitely, Ltd., architectural designs
"Le Magasin de Meubles"  Victor Quentin (Designs for inside the house)
"Plant Placement" 1870  landscape architecture inside and out
Framed architectural drawing "the Architectural Dome of the United States Congress - Dome Top Statue"  sold to Congress
"Gebedenbock" Anthony Slater, Netherlands  1485
"Psalterium maius Beatae Mariae Virgini: Prayers and Devotional Exercises in Netherlandie"  1485
"Rural Architecture"  Plaw 1802
"Pain's Pracitcal Building  1792  Boston
Collection of books into English from Foreign Languages: Rare
Bicentennial manuscript of a gala here and a film produced about the Athenaeum by Sam Katz
Thomas Sully paintings of Lydia Leaming in 1806, and then 20 years later after she had had five children as Mrs. James S. Smith, looking very different.

Thank you again for such a treat. We were honored to be here and see your stunning collections. This Athenaeum stands tall with others across America.

Now we are going to the American Philosophical Society.

The tour of the American Philosophical Society began with Charles Michaelstein, Librarian, who told us the history behind this prestigious scholarly institution. It was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743 and its members included Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and many prominent Americans. The Museum hold over 300,000 books and important documents, 11,000,000 manuscripts, maps, scientific specimens and instruments, and many other artifacts. Exhibits link history, art and science. Currently there are three exhibitions concerning Thomas Jefferson.  The membership is over 1,000 with 76 as the average age. Sandra Day O'Connor, Yoyo Ma, Ian Wilson and others were elected to membership in one of six different categories: Biology, Math, Sciences, Human Arts, and Public Affairs.  In 1769 the Society became unified and began promoting useful knowledge to the public as a main goal.  In 1959 they moved to the present building across from Independence Hall. They received grants to fund The Native American Exhibit, and The Thomas Jefferson and Science Exhibit. Other collections include 20th Century Scientist with over 250 shelf feet of materials, and Benjamin Franklin's Papers with over 60 feet of shelf space. There are also 600 letters of Charles Darwin (the largest outside of England) and Franz Boaz Papers.  Father of Modern Anthropology, Boaz applied science to his findings on the History of Science, American History and Native American Studies.

There are many more impressive materials here. An interesting story involves one artifact, a letter. Jean-Pierre Blanchard (1753-1809), a French balloonist, asked his friend, American physician John Jeffries to fly with him over the English Channel to France. They would be taking a packet of letters, thus, the first international, airmail delivery would take place. However, as they flew over the White Cliffs of Dover, the balloon began to slowly descend. So they started shedding weight…the barometer, then one bottle of brandy…then the guide wires on the basket went into the channel, then they dropped their anchors overboard, and finally they took off their clothes, one by one into the deep, and surprise, they began to slowly ascend to a landing in Felmores Forest, France.  Only one letter survived the crash, and the museum has it. Blanchard was quite the experimenter. He took a dog ballooning, made a parachute for him and it must have worked, because he tried the same thing on himself.  However, his ending was tragic as he fell out of his basket over the Hague acquiring injuries which led to his death. His wife, Marie, took up the sport and several years later she too perished from a crash.  Before these events, George Washington watched Blanchard  take off in his balloon from Washington Prison Yard, here  in Philadelphia. Blanchard ended up in Gloucester County, New Jersey, not quite where he wanted to go.

Thomas Jefferson always surprises. I did not know that one of his interests was collecting vocabularies of various languages so he could correspond with someone in their native tongue, One of these letters survives, here in the Society, in unka shaw (Hindi). Jefferson was president at the Executive Mansion, It took Grover Cleveland to label it The White House.

In the Darwin Collection, one of Darwin's letters to his publishers, titled his most famous book "Origin of Species." However, when he received the book from the publisher, the title was changed to "On The Origin of Species by Means Of Natural Selection - or The Struggle For Life." The Flamsteed "Star Atlas" has the first astrological map of Hercules, Pegasus and Taurus. But the publisher went bankrupt, and only 12 copies are extant.  The "Messier Object," an atlas that highlighted fuzzy or faded stars, claimed to find the "Crab Nebula" but this 1750 atlas, turned out to be wrong.

Col. Richard Gimbel (1898-1970) amassed The Thomas Paine Collection (1692-1921), with material that goes beyond Paine. However, the materials include three first editions of Paine's "Common Sense." Also, there are 65 manuscripts in Paine's own hand correspondence between Paine and Samuel Adams.

"The Bachelor's Hall" by George Webb, was published in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin…the only known copy. Webb wrote this poem in a bar along the Delaware which was frequented by bachelors, The poem defends the bachelors.

Whoops! The fire alarms just went off, and under city law that means the building must be evacuated and fire trucks must be brought to the scene.
So all went into the courtyard across the street, spending about 30 minutes under a beautiful tree watching the reinactors of the Revolutionary War and the storytellers, who we thought were homeless people at first. We then went back into the APS, only to learn the cause for the fire alarm was a carpenter who was drilling too close to an alarm causing a heat reaction, hence, the fire alarm.  Never a dull moment.

We thanked our hosts and their grand display of one of a kind artifacts. Where else do you see or hear these wonderful stories of our history. Thank you so much APS.

Our  next stop was the Center For Judaic Studies, the National Museum of American Jewish History.  This is a Smithsonian affiliate, and the only major museum with major collections of the Jewish experience in America. There are three floors of documents, artifacts, photographs, films and interactive exhibits. The first Jewish community was in New York in 1654 and exists there to the present. All topics, including discrimination are covered. Due to recent international events, this museum is under heavy security. Thank you so much for arranging things for us to see. My article is just a short one as I asked one of the members of the trip to write up this visit as it was close to her heart. So, to be continued.

Our next stop was the Chemical Heritage Foundation. It is based in the renovated 1865 First National Bank Building. The first floor has many displays around the important role chemistry, chemical engineering and other sciences play in making our life easier and more interesting. There are scientific instruments, rare books, personal papers of scientists, and lots of art work. The main exhibit was titled "Books of Secrets: Writing and Reading Alchemy." Alchemists practiced the art of transforming matter, manipulating raw materials to intensify existing properties or to produce new ones or more desirable qualities of them. Alchemists circulated their recipes and procedures in writing, hiding their most closely guarded secrets in plain sight.  Words and symbols communicated recipes/procedures in coded language. For the first time in a single exhibition at CHF, rare alchemical manuscripts are seen alongside centuries-old art depicting alchemists at work.  The Othmer library presented even more wonders to us . This is what I remember of this large exhibit:

"Amsterdam Catalog"
Ink from Gall Nuts (medieval manuscript inks)
1456-75 two alchemical miniatures from "das Buch der Heilgen Dreifaltigkeit"
1498  Venice "Liber de Secretis Nature Sew de Quintaesentia"
An alchemica furnace, 1960s
Hand-blown flat bottomed round flasks
"Sammelband of Three Alchemical Treatises" 1560-1567
"Book of Secrets: Secreti Naturali" Northwestern Italy 1425-1450
"De Alchimiae Opuscula Quae Sequintur" Nurenberg: Johannes Petrius
Opera: "Christophorus Parisinsis" Palermo  1557
"Codicillus"  Pseudo-Lull, Northern Italy 1450-1500
"Sammelband of Assaying Manuscripts"  caspar Hahse, Jacob Wohlgemudt and two unnamed others  Bohemia 1577
"De Secrets Nature"  Pseudo-Lull  Augsburg 1518
Woodcut Image from "Pandora, das ist, die edleste Gab Gottes" Franciscus Epinmetheses  pseudonym   Basil 1582

And, I loved all of these beautiful paintings:
"An Alchemist Laboratory"  1807-1865 Karl Frederich Muller
"Alchemist 17th c." David teniers the Younger  1610-1690
"The Alchemist and His Wife"  Jacques Hammerer 1612-1661
"The Alchemist" with a mother by a cradle  17th c. Thomas Wijck 1616-1677
"The Alchemist and His Assistant" 17th c. Henrich Heerschop  1620-1677
"The Alchemist With Monkey" 17th-18th c. in manner of David Teniers the Younger 1610-1690
"The Bald-Headed Chemist" 17th c. after David Teniers the Younger 1610-1690
"The Alchemist" 17th c. Thomas Wijck 1616-1677

In the Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Library of Chemical History, these were displayed:
"A. Faber De Faur Notebook: Notes on Herman von Fehlings Lectures 1843-44
Sketchbook: sketches of crystals 1905 Charles Henry Smith, Jr.
Letter of Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) to Wininialeis of France, Spet. 5, 1866. Pasteur chides them for not using his pasteurization process.
"History of Science and Technology" Joseph Priestly
Letters from Nobel Prize Winners:
Paul Lauterbur, Physiology or Medicine 2003  Development of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) with Peter Mansfield and the napkin where he sketched the MRI. Then he rushed out and bought a 79 cent notebook, wrote it down, and submitted it for a patent.
Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) American Architect, Cabon molecule shaped like a soccer ball, geodesic dome, c60 Buckyball and the first sketch  his fullerene, Sept. 11, 1985, Fullerene Olive Oil.
Richard Smally 1996 Nobel Prize
Glenn Seaborg (1912-1999) American Chemist, 1951 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, appointed US Representative to the IAE Agency; an Hon. member of 1972 USSR Academy of Science, the Swedish Academy of Science Hon. member and member of the University of Paris since 1972 with an Hon. degree in 1996 for discovering plutonium among many others, one named for him
Honorary Membership from John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Baldwin poster of a patent for herbal medicines, a life invigorating remedy for nervousness, disability
6 Miles of shelvings of "stuff," 4 miles of books/rpinted materials/rare books/ periodic charts/photos (tens of thousands), a nylon wedding dress made from a parachute, silicone chips, astronomy books with a chemical basis in the stars
Etching of Museum Wormianum Hostorica Rerum Rariorium, Worm's Closet of Curiosities, Copenhagen, Denmark, Olao Worm, Medical Doctor, Lugduni Batavorium 1655 (One of the First Collectors!)
"Magixk in XX Bookes"  John Baptists Porto 1652
"Museum Hermeticum Reformatum at Amplificatum" 1678 Francofurli
"Utorisqu Cosmi Historia" 1517 Anthore Roberto Flud

After viewing this magnificent collection we had cocktails in their atrium with some delicious nibbles. Thank you so much for a very impressive display which represents the millions of materials you have obtained. It was a pleasure meeting you all and a great way to end our Friday of tours.

Several of us went to dinner then at "Amada" an incredible Spanish tapas restaurant. Our hosts were Bruce and Wendy McKittrick and Lois Smith was our social director The company was outstanding, and after almost three hours of eating I can almost remember every bite.  The wines disappeared and then there was more.  What an evening of feasting. Thank you everyone!

Joan Knoertzer, Book Club of Detroit, Florida Bibliophile Society, Miniature Book Society, Clements Library of Americana

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