The Rosenbach Podcast

Thousands of rare books, manuscripts, and works of art—some famous and some rarely seen—live within the walls of The Rosenbach, and each one has a story to tell.  Institutions like The Rosenbach are more than just repositories of history; they provide a space for people to come together and make sense of their shared futures.

Season 2: History Behind the Scenes: Exploring the Rosenbach’s History Collections

Do you think the Rosenbach Museum & Library is primarily a collection of British literature? Think again! Our history collections—and materials related to American history in particular—comprise the largest single collecting area established by the Rosenbach brothers, our museum’s founders.  Combined with holdings in the fine and decorative arts, not to mention continental European and Asian history, the Rosenbach’s American historical collections present an interdisciplinary view of culture. In this new season of The Rosenbach Podcast, we’ll venture behind the scenes with Rosenbach staff on their journeys into history, via iconic and unexpected rare books, manuscripts, artworks, and artifacts housed at the Rosenbach today.  In the process, we’ll explore how, and why, the museum collects and takes care of its historical collections—and how you can come research them yourself!   

Mini-series 1: Rosenbach Test Kitchen: Finding—and Cooking with—Historic Recipes from the Rosenbach’s Collection

The Rosenbach Museum & Library’s collections of rare books, manuscripts, archival documents, as well as fine and decorative arts record thousands of years of human history, and they offer diverse insights into more than half a millennium of American life.  In Rosenbach Test Kitchen, the Collections Department and Rosenbach Director Kelsey Scouten Bates find historic dishes represented in the Rosenbach’s American history collections and update them for the modern palate.  Join us in the Rosenbach’s reading room, in the kitchen, and finally around the dining room table, as we take a delicious culinary voyage into American history! We recommend listening to the episodes in chronological order, to follow along with the competition.

Episode 15: The First Course. Finding Historic Menus in the Rosenbach’s Collection

Episode 16: The Second Course. Cooking Up History from James Moxon’s American Travel Journal and Thomas Jefferson’s Cheese Letter with Kelsey Scouten Bates, The John C. Haas Director of the Rosenbach, and Jobi Zink, Registrar of the Rosenbach

Episode 17: The Third Course. Curator and Senior Director of Collections Judith M. Guston and Librarian Elizabeth E. Fuller Critique the Rosenbach Test Kitchen Dishes

Episode 18: The Fourth Course. A Conversation about Foodways Research and American History with Professor Psyche Williams-Forson, Author of Eating While Black: Food Shaming and Race in America

Mini-series 2: Rosenbach Behind the Scenes: Getting Up Close and Personal with Collections Work at the Rosenbach

Every single day, the staff of the Collections Department at the Rosenbach Museum & Library work to protect and share the rare books, manuscripts, fine art, and decorative art housed at 2008-2010 Delancey Place.  In this mini-series, join Collections staff behind the scenes as they go about their work, to learn more about how they grow and expand the Rosenbach’s collections, preserve and repair pieces already housed at the Rosenbach, and work with researchers from near and far to make the institution’s holdings accessible to all.  You’ll also learn how you can visit the Rosenbach online or in person to enjoy all that our collections have to offer!   

Episode 19: How the Rosenbach Collects. A Reading Room Conversation with Curator & Senior Director of Collections Judith M. Guston and Librarian Elizabeth E. Fuller About Making New Acquisitions

Episode 20: The Gratz Family Qur’an: Conserving an Artifact of Early America’s Global Connections. A Conversation with Richard Homer of the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts

Episode 21: Anna of Cleves at the Rosenbach: How a Research Trip Led to an Exciting Discovery, and How You Can Become a Rosenbach Researcher Too! A Conversation with Author Heather Darsie, Registrar Jobi Zink, and Collections Stewardship Assistant Jen Tanglao

Mini-series 3: Voices of American History in the Rosenbach’s Collection – premieres on February 21, 2023

The American history collections at the Rosenbach Museum & Library contain the voices of thousands of people from the past—some famous, some obscure, but all vital to understanding the diverse, complex, contentious history of the United States and other modern nations in North and South America. This Rosenbach Podcast mini-series showcases voices, from both the past and the present, that reflect on the importance of grappling with difficult histories, in hopes of building a better future. 

Episode 22: Dr. Rosenbach’s Rare Relic from the War of 1812: A Conversation with Mark Dimunation, Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress.

Episode 23: Golden Cross: Relics of Imperial Spain and Independent Mexico at the Rosenbach.  A Discussion with Carlos G. Obrador Garrido Cuesta, Head Consul of the Consulate of Mexico in Philadelphia, and Sara Potts, Development Associate at the Rosenbach.

Capitulo 23: Cruz Dorado: Reliquias del Imperio Español y México Independiente en el Museo y Biblioteca Rosenbach.
Un dialogo con Carlos G. Obrador Garrido Cuesta, Cónsul Principal del Consulado de México en Filadelfia, y Sara Potts, Asociado de Desarrollo a el Rosenbach. 

Episode 24: Voices in the Wilderness: A Conversation About Early American Religion and Music with Musicologist and Opera Singer Christopher Dylan Herbert. 

Episode 25: Bookselling as Activism: A Conversation with Jeannine A. Cook of Harriet’s Bookshop in Philadelphia. 

Episode 26: Marianne Moore and the “Carlisle Indian School”: Preserving a Complex Legacy. A Discussion About History and Community Organizing with the Carlisle Indian Industrial School Project, Rosenbach Librarian Elizabeth Fuller, Assistant Librarian Nancy Loi, and Development Associate Sara Potts. 

Mini-series 4: All the Single Ladies: Women in the Rosenbach’s Collection Who Broke Convention to Lead Independent, Empowered Lives – premieres on March 21, 2023

Episode 27: Tea with President James Buchanan and First Lady Harriet Lane: The Remarkable Public Life of a Bachelor President’s Niece. 

Episode 28: “Here Lies the Heart”: The Passionate Life, Rebellious Love, and Remarkable Romances of Mercedes De Acosta. 
A Conversation with Robert A. Schanke, author of “That Furious Lesbian”: The Story of Mercedes de Acosta, and Isabel Steven, Coordinator of Public Programs at the Rosenbach.

Episode 29: Idiosyncrasy and Technique: A Conversation with Linda Leavell about the Gender, Sexuality, and Celebrity of Marianne Moore, One of America’s Best-Loved Poets.


Season 1: Books and Bidders

In the Rosenbach Podcast, members of The Rosenbach’s Collections staff reveal what it’s like to spend your 9-to-5 caring for generations of history, and share some of their favorite surprises that reside on our shelves. From Dr. Rosenbach’s tragic connection to the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic to his work in refugee resettlement on the eve of the Second World War, there are endless stories to tell. Along the way, we’ll be joined by thought leaders including Philadelphia Poets Laureate Trapeta Mayson and Yolanda Wisher, Philadelphia-based book artist Colette Fu, and bibliophiles from around the world, for conversations about the place of rare books, libraries, and museums in modern life.

Episode 1: The Celtic Muse: Afternoon Tea, Scones, and Celtic Harp with Dr. Alexander Lawrence Ames, Host of The Rosenbach Podcast

Episode 2: Parlor Talk: Exploring the History and Collections of The Rosenbach with Judith M. Guston, Curator & Director of Collections at The Rosenbach

Episode 3: Live from the Reading Room: Studying Rare Books and Manuscripts with Elizabeth E. Fuller, Librarian of The Rosenbach

Episode 4: Artifacts of Inspiration: Authorship, Activism, and the Archive. A Conversation with Philadelphia Poets Laureate Trapeta Mayson and Yolanda Wisher

Episode 5: Titanic: The Rise of Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach. A Conversation with Judith M. Guston, Curator & Director of Collections at The Rosenbach

Episode 6: A Mother’s Grief, a University’s Library: How Eleanor Elkins Widener’s Loss on the Titanic Changed the Rare Book World. A Conversation with Leslie A. Morris, Susan D. Block, and Sue E. Morris of Harvard University

Episode 7: A Mother’s Grief, a University’s Library: How Eleanor Elkins Widener’s Loss on the Titanic Changed the Rare Book World. A Conversation with Leslie A. Morris, Susan D. Block, and Sue E. Morris of Harvard University (CONTINUED)

Episode 8: The Quaritch Connection: A Conversation with London Booksellers at Bernard Quaritch Ltd. About Their Titanic Connection, and the Rare Book Trade Today

Episode 9: A Royal Relic: Dr. A.SW. Rosenbach Receives a Gift from Great Britain’s King George V

Episode 10: The View from Windsor: A Conversation about Rare Books and Stewarding National Heritage with Rachel Scott of Royal Collection Trust

Episode 11: The Refugees: The Activism of Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach on the Eve of World War Two

Episode 12: The Case for Libraries and Museums in a Troubled World: A Discussion with Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian at the University of Oxford

Episode 13: “Freedom is Everybody’s Job!” Contested History Rides the Freedom Train in 1940’s America

Episode 14: The Art of the Book: A Conversation with Pop-up Book Artist Colette Fu About Libraries and the Visual Arts


The Rosenbach Podcast is made possible by The Evelyn Toll Family Foundation.