The Mystery of “The Mystery of Marie Roget”

When we say that Edgar Allan Poe invented the detective story, we may as well say that Poe invented the detective. In 1841, when “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” was first published in Graham Magazine, Boston was still five years away from founding the first professional police detective unit in the United States. Indeed, in creating …

Making a Verbal Monster:  Cyclops in Virgil’s Aeneid 3 and Joyce’s Ulysses

For this year’s Bloomsday and the rest of this summer, the Rosenbach’s partner desk display in the historic library is filled with objects that show classic literary influences on James Joyce’s Ulysses.  Starting with his introduction (at age 10) to Homer’s Odyssey through Charles Lamb’s school edition, we see that the characters and language of …

How true do we want true crime to be?

I was in graduate school when Oprah Winfrey confronted author James Frey about fabricating portions of his memoir, A Million Little Pieces. Oprah, who had previously defended Frey’s memoir as a meaningful book with or without a strict adherence to the facts, apologized to her viewers: “I left the impression that the truth does not …

To Catch a Thief in the Days before Detectives

In 1750, Philadelphia was plagued by a series of domestic robberies over several weeks. The items targeted were primarily the luxury goods that were becoming increasingly available to residents who had financial means: jewelry, fine cloth, good silver. Although the colony of Pennsylvania was still largely an agricultural economy, the City of Brotherly Love was …

“Cant” Stop Wondering about Criminal Slang?

One of the first things you may see when you enter Clever Criminals and Daring Detectives is a wall of extremely odd words in bold typography: Peg tantrums. Tip the velvet. Potatoe trap. What could these strange expressions mean? These colorful idioms come from A Dictionary of the Slang and Cant Languages by George Andrews …

The Trials of William Blake in Three Books

Some good news for William Blake fans: the William Blake Archive is online, and our Recent Acquisitions from the Bequest of Maurice Sendak exhibition has been extended through May 28, so you have another month to feast your eyes on some of Blake’s most beautiful engravings. The three works by Blake on display in our …

We the Detectives: Exhibitions and Immersive Theater Exploring the History of the Mystery

Parkway Central Library Department of External Affairs 1901 Vine Street Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189 Phone: 215-567-7710 Contact: Alix Gerz Free Library to Present We the Detectives, Exhibitions and Immersive Theater Exploring the History of the Mystery Special exhibitions at the Rosenbach and the Free Library’s Rare Book Department merge with theatrical performances by New Paradise Laboratories …

The Marvelous World of Meggendorfer’s Moving Books

Did you know that pop-up books have been around for hundreds of years? The earliest examples of movable books — some as early as the thirteenth century! — were used for adult education. Books on subjects ranging from human anatomy to artistic perspective used tabs, flaps, and fold-outs to illustration information that was best conveyed …

The Rosenbach Presents RECENT ACQUISITIONS FROM THE BEQUEST OF MAURICE SENDAK

The Rosenbach 2008-2010 Delancey Place Philadelphia, PA 19103 Contact: Sara Davis Phone: 215-732-1600 x 132 Email: [email protected]   The Rosenbach Presents Recent Acquisitions from the Bequest of Maurice Sendak Rare Books From the Beloved Illustrator’s Personal Library Shed Light On His Literary Imagination PHILADELPHIA, January 18, 2017— The Rosenbach is proud to present Recent Acquisitions from the Bequest of Maurice Sendak, on view January 31 – April 30, 2017. …

The Curious Appeal of Sherlock Holmes

This post was cross-posted at the Free Library of Philadelphia blog, where our affiliates have been celebrating their One Book One Philadelphia selection, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Christopher Boone’s investigation into the death of a neighborhood dog is inspired by …