The Wonders of the Invisible World: Religion, Culture, and Society in Early America | Behind the Bookcase

Date / Time

  • July 25, 2024
    6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


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


  • Admission is $30. Members receive exclusive discounts on our programs and courses. Not a member? Learn more.
  • This is an in-person program at The Rosenbach. 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 on May 31, for Rosenbach members on June 7, and for the general public on June 14



Religious pluralism has defined American life since early days, and the Mid-Atlantic region, in particular, has a long legacy of spiritual diversity embodied in William Penn’s “holy experiment”—that is, his establishment of religious tolerance in Pennsylvania in the late 1600s. In this tour, we will consider the place of religion and spirituality in American life as encountered in rare books, manuscripts, and artifacts. Materials to be seen (and handled!) during the tour will carry you from the icy shores of New England to the warmer climes of New Spain. Highlights include world-famous Rosenbach treasures such as the Bay Psalm Book, John Eliot’s Bible in the Wôpanâak language, the letters of William Penn, manuscripts and printed works related to the establishment of Germantown, artworks and documents connected to early Jewish Philadelphians, a copy of the Koran owned in colonial Pennsylvania, and records of the Spanish Inquisition that reveal details of the lives of ordinary people in the Roman Catholic Spanish empire. 


Would you like to learn more about early American religion and music? Listen to episode 24 of The Rosenbach Podcast: 

About Behind the Bookcase: Hands-on Tours at The Rosenbach

Behind the Bookcase: Hands-on Tours offer unparalleled access to see, and even touch, rare and important items not usually on view to the public. Each program is dedicated to a different author, theme, or topic and grants a truly hands-on experience with materials in The Rosenbach’s inspiring collection.

See all upcoming tours hereSpace is limited and advance registration is strongly recommended.