“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 …

5 Questions with Michael Sims

A series of informal, intimate talks given by literary and cultural luminaries, In Conversation with the Rosenbach delves into fascinating histories, intellectual curiosities, and inspiring ideas. Each program offers the audience a chance to join the conversation after the talk and share their own thoughts and questions. In conjunction with our Clever Criminals and Daring …

Hands-on Tour: Sleuths and Spies

Date / Time

  • May 26, 2017
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The game is afoot to ferret out the realm of detective and spy literature at the Rosenbach. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to explore items including early mystery stories, a manuscript of Joseph Conrad’s Secret Agent, and an album belonging to a female Civil War spy. Synchronize your watches to 1500 hours and join us!






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 …

Reading Group: Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Detection

Date / Time

  • July 8, 2017
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • July 15, 2017
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • July 22, 2017
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Poe was called the “father of the detective story” by none other than Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Led by Edward G. Pettit, this Reading Group will explore Poe’s groundbreaking mystery detective tales featuring his mastermind sleuth (and Sherlock’s spiritual predecessor), C. Auguste Dupin. Meetings will take place at both the Rosenbach and the Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia; the group will also pay a visit to the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site in Philadelphia.






Reading Group: George Lippard’s The Quaker City

Date / Time

  • June 21, 2017
    6:00 pm - 7:45 pm
  • July 5, 2017
    6:00 pm - 7:45 pm

First published serially in 1844 through 1845, Lippard’s novel The Quaker City, or the Monks of Monk Hall set out to expose the criminal underbelly of Philadelphia society. Led by Edward G. Pettit, the group will discuss the book and also delve into the actual crimes of Lippard’s city in the 1840s that he used for inspiration.






Reading Group: Women Crime Writers

Date / Time

  • June 1, 2017
    6:00 pm - 7:45 pm
  • June 8, 2017
    6:00 pm - 7:45 pm

While female mystery writers such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers have long been credited as masters of their genre, often overlooked are the women who wrote hardboiled crime novels. Focusing on 20th century novelists such as Dorothy B. Hughes and Margaret Millar, this Reading Group will explore criminal suspense novels that are not so much whodunits as why-dunits.






5 Questions with Michael Dirda

A series of informal, intimate talks given by literary and cultural luminaries, In Conversation with the Rosenbach delves into fascinating histories, intellectual curiosities, and inspiring ideas. Each program offers the audience a chance to join the conversation after the talk and share their own thoughts and questions. Join us March 23 to hear book columnist …

In Conversation with the Rosenbach: Michael Sims

Date / Time

  • April 20, 2017
    6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

In conjunction with our Clever Criminals and Daring Detectives exhibition, the Rosenbach warmly welcomes Michael Sims, author of Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes.






Reading Group: Sherlock Holmes

Date / Time

  • April 9, 2017
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • April 23, 2017
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • April 30, 2017
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • May 7, 2017
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

In this reading group—offered as a companion to the Rosenbach exhibition Clever Criminals and Daring Detectives—participants will read a selection of stories including “The Final Problem” and “The Empty House”; two short novels, “Sign of Four” and “Hound of the Baskervilles,” as well as texts that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.