In Conversation with Steven Olsen-Smith | Melville’s Reading and the Arc of Literary Genius

Date / Time

  • October 10, 2019
    6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Herman Melville acquired some 1,000 books prior to his death, after which his library was dispersed among family members and second-hand book dealers. Less than a third of the collection is known to survive, but copies with his autograph and notes continue to resurface. This program will discuss ongoing efforts to trace the dispersal of Melville’s library and analyze evidence of his reading, including technical recovery of annotations that were erased after his death, and will address the role of Melville’s engagement with books in the formation of his genius and the creation of his art.

SOLD OUT! Hands-On Tour: Herman Melville

Date / Time

  • August 1, 2019
    6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

With a warm heart for human nature, a cold eye for the human condition, and prose that would awe a Biblical prophet, Herman Melville was too good for his time. Join us for an odyssey through the Rosenbach’s mighty Melville collection. We’ll chart our course toward the source of Melville’s greatness through original editions of his novels and handwritten letters. “It is not down in any map,” says Moby-Dick’s Ishmael, “true places never are.”

Course: Philadelphia Gothic

Date / Time

  • February 9, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • March 9, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • April 13, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • May 11, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • June 8, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

In this course, we’ll explore the works of authors, Charles Brockden Brown, Robert Montgomery Bird, George Lippard, Edgar Allan Poe, and Frank Webb — and see how they were inspired to look beneath the veneer of American democracy and expose our deepest fears.

Poets of Fireside and Hearthside: Whittier and Dunbar

Date / Time

  • February 17, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Join us for an afternoon of reading together about race in America with an introduction to John Greenleaf Whittier and another American poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar, whose parents had been slaves. We’ll enjoy hot apple cider and other refreshments, read selections from poems by these two authors, view rare editions of the authors’ works, and talk about what the poets have to say to modern America.

Hands-On Tour: Herman Melville

Date / Time

  • March 29, 2019
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

With a warm heart for human nature, a cold eye for the human condition, and prose that would awe a Biblical prophet, Herman Melville was too good for his time. Join us for an odyssey through the Rosenbach’s mighty Melville collection. We’ll chart our course toward the source of Melville’s greatness through original editions of his novels and handwritten letters. “It is not down in any map,” says Moby-Dick’s Ishmael, “true places never are.”

Course: Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

Date / Time

  • February 21, 2019
    6:00 pm - 7:45 pm
  • March 21, 2019
    6:00 pm - 7:45 pm
  • April 18, 2019
    6:00 pm - 7:45 pm
  • May 9, 2019
    6:00 pm - 7:45 pm

In this course we will read the essential poems from the Whitman and Dickinson canons in modern editions of their work, while also exploring online archives that reproduce their poems as they originally appeared. We will contextualize these poems in their cultural and biographical contexts, while also experiencing them as aesthetic objects in their own right.

Yolanda Wisher’s Rent Party at the Rosenbach

Date / Time

  • February 27, 2019
    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

“Oak & Ivy”: Celebrating the legacy of poet Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906), known affectionately and notoriously for writing in both conventional English as well as African American vernacular. Oak and Ivy, his first collection of poems, was published in 1893 and is part of the Rosenbach’s collection.