Hands-On Tours

Date / Time

  • January 25, 2019
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

This hands-on tour looks at Shakespeare by… not looking at him. In Shakespeare’s Shadows we’ll meet the bard’s equally brilliant contemporaries Miguel de Cervantes and John Donne, his friend and rival Ben Jonson, his collaborator and successor Jon Fletcher, and his most famous forger, Henry Ireland. We’ll also take a look at an early printing of the first woman in England to earn a living as a playwright, the dashing poet, spy, and libertine Aphra Behn.

Date / Time

  • February 1, 2019
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Along with James Joyce’s handwritten manuscript of his modernist masterpiece Ulysses, we’ll also read and handle works by Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, and more! These Irish authors have connections and influences extending from Thomas Jefferson and Moby-Dick to the present day.

Date / Time

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

Beginning with his early works published under pseudonym “Boz” (he later impishly signed his letters “The Inimitable Boz”), Charles Dickens was a literary phenomenon in the 19th century, and his ubiquity continues with legions of readers all over the world. As his birthday approaches on Feb 7, join us as we delve into our Dickens collection for a look at his work in manuscript pages from Nicholas Nickleby and The Pickwick Papers, as well as original serial parts and first editions of his novels.

Date / Time

  • February 8, 2019
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Do you prefer to judge a book by its cover, or does the inside matter more? In this tour of book arts, we’ll take a look at various rare books in the Rosenbach collection, their aesthetics, their functions, how the processes in creating books inform how we use them today, and vice versa. Go behind the scenes of book binding, illuminating medieval manuscript leaves, the artistry of scribes and painters, 19th century printmaking– and perhaps stumble on a few surprises between the pages.

Date / Time

  • February 14, 2019
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Join us for this rare peek into some of the most personal and emotional writing in our collections. From the aching yearnings of poet John Keats to the dying wishes of a Civil War solider, the Rosenbach is home to a variety of love letters. Spend an hour getting up-close and personal with a variety of treasures, including correspondence from Marlene Dietrich to Mercedes De Acosta and handwritten pages from James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Date / Time

  • February 15, 2019
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

From George Washington’s earliest known letter (he was just 17!) to a meticulously folded page containing a scientific observation made by Thomas Jefferson while he was walking outside on a misty day, this tour offers an intimate view of the Founding Fathers’ writings to family, friends, colleagues, and even themselves. A rare opportunity to know our nation’s icons as real people: fathers, spurned lovers, jealous politicians, intellectuals, and, of course, revolutionaries. Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin form the core of the tour.

Date / Time

  • February 21, 2019
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

From George Washington’s earliest known letter (he was just 17!) to a meticulously folded page containing a scientific observation made by Thomas Jefferson while he was walking outside on a misty day, this tour offers an intimate view of the Founding Fathers’ writings to family, friends, colleagues, and even themselves. A rare opportunity to know our nation’s icons as real people: fathers, spurned lovers, jealous politicians, intellectuals, and, of course, revolutionaries. Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin form the core of the tour.

Date / Time

  • February 22, 2019
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

When is Shakespeare not Shakespeare? And what is a folio, anyway? After seeing some of Shakespeare’s earliest printings and books that inspired his plots, we’ll explore how his work has fared at the hands of actors, editors, and forgers.

Date / Time

  • February 28, 2019
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

“Picturing Cervantes” explores the ways Don Quixote has been imagined and illustrated through the centuries, featuring remarkable drawings and prints by notable artists such as Gustave Doré and Honoré Daumier. Explore depictions of the questing Don, his companion Sancho Panza, and his noble steed Rocinante from artworks created shortly after the heroic entry of the “Ingenious Gentleman” onto the field of literature, and through the centuries beyond.

Date / Time

  • March 1, 2019
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The young widow who kept her husband’s heart in her desk, the author of the first post-apocalyptic novel (The Last Man) and the immortal Frankenstein, Mary Shelley was so much more than a goth pin-up! After the fires of her legendary romantic youth were drowned, Mary Shelley embarked on a career as a professional writer–publishing biographies, poems, travel narratives, short stories, and novels in multiple genres. Explore the life and works of this radical, proto-feminist, and quintessential Romantic (born on August 30) as we sift through early editions of her works, along with manuscripts and letters of her husband, poet Percy Shelley, and their disreputable friends.