The Story of the Glittering Plain

With a beautiful Vale Press book (Wilde’s House of Pomegranates) on display in the Rosenbach’s current Of Two Minds exhibit, William Morris has been on my mind; Morris’s renowned Kelmscott Press was a significant influence on Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon when they created Vale Press. This week I took a look at one of the …

From One Shakespeare Collector to Another: David Garrick and Dr. Rosenbach

18th-century acting superstar David Garrick has a birthday on February 19; he would have been 401. Though he may no longer be a household name, Garrick is partly responsible for contemporary culture’s reverence of Shakespeare, as well as for the genesis of the Rosenbach’s Shakespeare collection—which visitors may encounter while exploring Dr. Rosenbach’s library. David …

Burns Night at the Rosenbach

On January 25, 1759, the poet Robert Burns was born in Ayrshire, Scotland. The anniversary of his birth is celebrated all over the world with scotch, songs, and poems by the prolific writer. Robert Burns holds a special place in the Rosenbach: our collection houses some remarkable early editions (including a stunning Kilmarnock edition that …

Celebrating History’s Unsung Creative Couples

On February 7, we opened a new exhibition celebrating the art and achievements of romantic couples, from the powerful royalty of the 16th century to cinema stars of Old Hollywood to local artists creating together today. Of Two Minds: Creative Couples in Art and History not only challenges the notion that creativity and authorship are solo endeavors, …

Happy Birthday, James Joyce … and Ulysses!

This post was originally published at the Free Library of Philadelphia blog. Nearly 100 years ago today, on February 2, 1922, bookstore-maven-cum-publisher Sylvia Beach stood anxiously waiting on the platform at the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris for the arrival of some very precious cargo on its way from Dijon: two copies of …

Ducks and Doubles in Wonderland

  Friends of Lewis Carroll faced unceasing peril of being turned into animals and absorbed into Wonderland—as the fate of Carroll’s friend Robinson Duckworth will attest. Duckworth was a fellow at Oxford’s Trinity College while Lewis Carroll’s real world avatar, Charles Dodgson, was mathematics lecturer at Christ Church nearby. On the afternoon that Carroll invented …

Winter reflections on the Year Without a Summer

Greetings from Frozen Philadelphia! After a snowy weekend and a lot of single-digit temperatures, we’re bundled up and back in the office. And as we shiver on our way to and from the museum, we’re thinking about some of our favorite authors, who shivered during an unseasonably cold summer 202 years ago. During the summer of …

Frankenstein200 at the Rosenbach

On January 1, 1818, the London publishing house Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones published a book titled Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. The publication did not name its author, but the book had an preface written by Percy Bysshe Shelley and a dedication to writer and philosopher William Godwin, so some readers assumed that the …