19th Century Movements for Prison Reform and Anti-Slavery | Virtual and In-Person Course

Date / Time

  • January 18, 2023
    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
  • February 15, 2023
    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
  • March 15, 2023
    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
  • April 12, 2023
    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm



  • Tuition for this course is $200. Members of The Athenaeum, The Library Company and The Rosenbach receive 10% off.
  • This course is held virtually and in person at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia.
  • This course is limited to participants who are 18 years of age or older.
  • For questions or assistance with registration, email Tess Galen, [email protected]


Course Description

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia gathered local and international reformers like the Marquis de Lafayette, Charles Dickens, and Alexis de Toqueville in the 19th century as they debated pressing issues like prison reform and slavery. Using common readings and documents in our collection, we will enter into these conversations about the expansion of liberty for dispossessed peoples in the United States and abroad.

The course is held on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, January 18 on Zoom
  • Wednesday, February 15 on Zoom
  • Wednesday, March 15 on Zoom
  • Wednesday, April 12 at the Athanaeum of Philadelphia

About the instructor

Beth Hessel, Ph. D. (she/her) Beth joined the Athenaeum in July, 2019. Previously Executive Director of The Presbyterian Historical Society, a national archive located a few blocks south of the Athenaeum, Beth is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) who has served congregations across the U.S. and is a popular speaker who has lectured and taught in corporate, nonprofit, and university settings. She holds a B.A. in history from UC Davis, an MA in U.S. Women’s History from Binghamton University, an M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in history from Texas Christian University.