The Storied Past and Future of Philadelphia’s Athenaeum: Lunchtime Talk with Beth Hessel, Director of the Athenaeum

Date / Time

  • November 1, 2022
    12:30 pm - 1:30 pm


2008-2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, United States

Lunchtime Talks at The Rosenbach are sponsored by Lenore Steiner and Perry Lerner. 


  • Admission is $15. Student admission is $10. 50% off for Rosenbach members, free for the Delancey Society. Not a member? Learn more.
  • This is an in-person program at The Rosenbach and requires proof of vaccination. Please check your spam folder for your email confirmation. If you have questions, please call (215) 732-1600 or email [email protected].
  • Registration opens for Delancey Society members on July 18, for members on July 25, and for the general public on August 1.


Since its founding in 1814, The Athenaeum of Philadelphia has always – intentionally – been a community built on dialogue and innovation shaped by books and learning. Executive Director Dr. Beth Hessel shares stories of founders, members, and friends of The Athenaeum who marked Philadelphia as the center of political, economic, and social innovation and reform.

This Lunchtime Talk is a glimpse of the rich stories contained within The Athenaeum. Dr. Beth Hessel will more deeply explore the role that this institution has played in Philadelphia in the third and final installment of the Libraries and Liberty course series, coming this winter!

About the Libraries and Liberty series: How have libraries aided the cause of liberty, in the United States and elsewhere? What kind of liberty, and for whom?  What role do libraries play now in ensuring the continued freedom of people in our country and around the world? The Libraries & Liberty seminar series is a collaboration between The Athenaeum of Philadelphiathe Library Company of Philadelphia, and The Rosenbach. Each seminar will build on the last as these three cultural institutions use their collections and areas of expertise to engage with these questions.

About the Speaker 

The Executive Director of The Athenaeum, Beth Hessel, was previously the 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. Beth loves the spirit-lifting magic of the Athenaeum’s Reading Room and the many opportunities to deepen partnerships with other Philadelphia organizations while creating lasting friendships with the Athenaeum’s many members and friends.

About Lunchtime Talks at The Rosenbach 

Enjoy In Conversation Programs at midday with leading scholars, artists, and authors talking about their work. Tea sandwiches and light refreshments included. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *