Wednesday, September 24, 2014

FABS Study Tour in Philadelphia, June 3–7, 2015

The Philobiblon Club of Philadelphia welcomes the 2015 FABS Study Tour and Symposium, scheduled for June 3–7, and sponsored by The Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies.
            The Study Tour will be based at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel in the heart of downtown Philadelphia. On the afternoon of Wednesday, June 3rd, twelve early-arriving travelers will have the opportunity to visit the Philadelphia Orchestra library, housed in the Rafael Viñoly-designed Kimmel Center, an architectural landmark just steps from the hotel. In the late afternoon we will gather for cocktails and a book fair with a dozen dealers offering their wares.
            On Thursday morning, we will begin with two curatorial presentations and an exhibition of Pennsylvania Dutch Fraktur manuscripts in the Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia. We will then cross the street to the Barnes Foundation and spend the rest of the morning with its extraordinary Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings — including sixty-nine Cézannes, sixty Matisses, forty-four Picassos and nearly two hundred Renoirs — assembled by Dr. Albert Barnes between 1910 and 1950. That afternoon the staff at The Philadelphia Museum of Art Library will show us printed materials and manuscripts complementing their exhibition “Notation and the Arts.” We will spend the remainder of the day in the University of Pennsylvania Special Collections and in the Fisher Fine Arts Library Rare Book Room (in the spectacular Frank Furness building, completed 1890). We will have a catered dinner atop the Van Pelt Library in the newly opened Kislak Center, overlooking the central campus.
            On Friday we will walk around the corner and split the morning between The Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, which sit side by side. Established in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin and famed for its collections of 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century American books, manuscripts, prints and photographs, The Library Company will have two curators present selections from various departments and guide us through an exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Manuscripts will be the focus of our visit to the Historical Society, which owns, among other treasures, two original drafts of the U.S. Constitution. Lunch at the Franklin Inn Club, a private literary club, will fortify us for our afternoon visits to The American Philosophical Society (also established by Franklin, in 1743), The Philadelphia Athenaeum (a private lending library founded in 1814) and the Center for Judaic Studies (incorporating the collections of Dropsy College and allied with the University of Pennyslvania). At each stop, curators will introduce us to their collections and show us treasures, including the Lewis and Clark Expedition journals, architectural drawings and rare Hebraica. In the late afternoon, we will visit the Othmer Library at the Chemical Heritage Foundation to see their recently acquired medieval and early modern alchemical manuscripts, books annotated by Sir Isaac Newton and key works in the history of science.
            The Saturday morning Symposium, “My Life Collecting” will explore the evolution of collectors’ relationships with and ideas about their books, prints, manuscripts and drawings over many years of ownership and acquisition. All our speakers have collected for over four decades: Steve Rothman (Philobiblon President, Baker Street Irregular and English literature collector), Eugene S. Flamm (neuro-surgeon and collector of medicine and the history of bibliography), Susan Tane (business-woman and collector of 19th-century American literature, especially Poe and Twain) and Peter Kraus (bookseller and picture collector). Michael Ryan (Director of the Klingenstein Library of the New-York Historical Society) will moderate what will certainly be a lively discussion following the formal presentations.   On Sunday in the late morning, the Rosenbach Museum and Library has graciously agreed to open its doors to a dozen lucky travelers.
            Save the date, as the event is limited to fifty-two attendees. The cost is $650 per person (exclusive of hotel). To register (or if you have questions regarding the tour), please contact Bruce McKittrick and Kiley Samz (, and place “FABS '15” in your email subject line.

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