Program Videos

On this page you’ll find recordings of digital and in-person programs from The Rosenbach. Find more on our YouTube page.


Written In My Heart: James Joyce & Irish Authors | Virtual Behind the Bookcase Tour

“When I die Dublin will be written in my heart,” James Joyce once proclaimed of his homeland. The spirit of Ireland has inspired legions of storytellers for centuries and The Rosenbach is home to an incredible collection of their work. In this virtual tour we’ll explore a wide array of holdings like Bram Stoker’s handwritten notes for his gothic classic Dracula, unravel correspondence from the iconic and incomparable Oscar Wilde, and, of course, take a close look at one of our most famous holdings, Joyce’s manuscript of his Modernist masterpiece Ulysses. The influence of these authors continues to be felt far beyond Ireland’s rugged shores. Together we’ll discuss their enduring resonance and even discover some surprising connections to Thomas Jefferson, Herman Melville, and more.

Presented and recorded on March 4, 2021.

Black Writers, the Jazz Age, and the Harlem Renaissance at The Rosenbach | Virtual Behind the Bookcase Tour

The Harlem Renaissance is the fulcrum for this look “behind the bookcase” at great Black writers. Beginning with Paul Laurence Dunbar, the first acclaimed Black poet after Emancipation, we’ll spend the bulk of our time with letters and first editions of poet Langston Hughes and philosopher Alain LeRoy Locke-including the keystone work of the Harlem Renaissance, Locke’s The New Negro.

Presented and recorded on February 25, 2021.

In Conversation with Lisa Norling | Quaker Wives and Cape Horn Widows: The Women Melville Left on Shore

Presented and recorded on December 7, 2020. Program begins at the 2:40 mark.

Virtual Behind the Bookcase | Miniature Worlds Part I

In this Behind the Bookcase tour, we bring a magnifying glass to some of the itsy-est items in The Rosenbach’s collection. Get a behind the scenes look at The Rosenbach’s recently acquired miniature model of the library of John Fleming, the Rosenbachs’ employee and successor in the rare book business. Learn more about the history and artistry of fine miniature making and collecting as we explore the scaled-down books and furnishings within the Fleming Library.

Behind the Bookcase | Golden Cross: Artifacts of Spanish Imperialism in the Western Hemisphere

The Spanish Empire was one of the western world’s first global colonial superpowers, and its great wealth was built on the extraction of natural resources by enslaved labor in Central and South America. The Rosenbach is home to a collection of manuscripts and books from the 1500s and 1600s that record the conquest of Mexico. In this Behind the Bookcase tour, study historic illuminated manuscripts and meet the people who populated the Spanish Empire. The tour, which is informed by postcolonial theory, will include a discussion of the economic, political, religious, and social history of New Spain, and how the historical events of the early modern period are still felt today.

Content note: This tour involves discussion of human enslavement and violence against Indigenous peoples.

Seeing Alice Dunbar-Nelson with 2020 Vision: (Re)interpreting a Civil Rights Activist During an Election Year

Co-curators of “I Am an American!” The Authorship and Activism of Alice Dunbar-Nelson Monet Timmons and Jesse Erickson join us for a behind-the-scenes peek into the exhibition development process and get to know this under-studied local activist, journalist, novelist, educator, poet, and much more.

Aired on July 3, 2020. Support for “I Am an American!” is provided by the Pennsylvania Abolition Society Endowment Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation.

Founding Fathers and Revolutionary Women | Behind the Bookcase tour

Reflect on Independence Day with a look at The Rosenbach’s collection of handwritten letters + notes, early works, and more of some of the founding fathers and revolutionary women who shaped our country.

Aired on July 1, 2020. Program begins at the 13:26 mark.


In Bed with Ishmael: Queer Approaches to the Life, Work, and Legacy of Herman Melville

In Bed with Ishmael is presented as part of The Rosenbach’s celebration of Pride Month 2020, and alongside American Voyager: Herman Melville at 200.

Aired June 18, 2020.

Virtual Bloomsday Festival

Bloomsday was celebrated in a new digital format this year, in place of our annual festival on Delancey Place.

Aired on June 16, 2020. You can watch the full festival here.

The history of the Ulysses manuscript at The Rosenbach

Our Librarian Elizabeth Fuller talks us through the history of James Joyce’s Ulysses manuscript and how it made its way to The Rosenbach.

Aired on June 16, 2020.

The History of Bloomsday

The Rosenbach’s Curator and Director of Collections Judy Guston walks us through the history of why Bloomsday is celebrated every year on June 16.

Aired on June 16, 2020.

Virtual Behind the Bookcase tour: 20th-Century Gay & Lesbian Lives

This Behind the Bookcase tour examines the hidden histories of 20th-century queer luminaries like Mercedes de Acosta, Marlene Dietrich, Jean Cocteau, Alain Leroy Locke, and Langston Hughes through their published and private writings.

Aired May 28, 2020.

Rosenbach Collections Chat: Indigenous Author-Activists in The Rosenbach’s Collection

The Rosenbach’s rare book collections include volumes written by Native American authors who sought to advocate for Indigenous peoples’ rights in the nineteenth-century United States. In this interactive, digital program, you will learn about three of those authors—William Apess, R.B. Lewis, and Simon Pokagon—and a fourth author, Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, represented in the Rosenbach collection in a rare and fragile manuscript. Join us as we consider how these authors used the genres of memoir, poetry, history, and the novel to advocate for Indigenous rights.

Aired on May 8, 2020. Program begins at the 2:30 mark.

Sundays With Dracula

Every Sunday for 27 weeks, we’ll be having a live virtual conversation about Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula and highlight one chapter per week. The novel begins on May 3 and ends 27 weeks later on November 6. Join us for one program or all 27! Joining Edward G. Pettit of The Rosenbach will be a revolving set of co-hosts, all of whom have had a long history of reading, collecting, and creating with Stoker’s vampire. The Rosenbach is the home of Bram Stoker’s Notes for Dracula, over 100 pages of outlines, early plot ideas, and research notes, compiled by the author over the seven years he developed and wrote the book. Find the full series of videos here.

Aired on May 3, 2020. Find the full series of videos here.

Virtual Behind the Bookcase Tour: Emily Dickinson

In honor of National Poetry Month, our April program featured two letters written by Emily Dickinson. The Belle of Amherst. The vulnerable recluse who lived a life of quiet passion.  The Emily Dickinson of public imagination for a century was confined to the decorous hall of The Nineteenth Century Poetess. She could be a little eccentric, but never improper. However, Emily was far more audacious and lively, a woman whose adventurous art and challenging ideas continue to resonate today. We‘ll look at letters in her own hand learn how her first editors reshaped her poetry to fit their own conceptions.  We’ll explore the myth of the Belle and give voice to the Modern Emily.

Aired on April 30, 2020.

Ulysses Every Day Reading Challenge: Day 1

For literature enthusiasts and first-time readers alike, Ulysses can be every bit as daunting as it is thrilling. If you’ve always wanted to read James Joyce’s masterpiece, or are eager for any excuse to revisit it, join Ulysses Every Day, a daily challenge to inspire you to finish it by Bloomsday on June 16. Find the full series of videos here.

Aired on April 15, 2020. Find the full series of videos here.

Pennoni Panels at the Rosenbach: The Justice of Memory: Evaluating Monuments in a Changing Culture

Presented and recorded on February 12, 2019.

In Conversation With The Rosenbach Mini-Series: The Legacy of the Thirteenth Amendment: Eric Motley

Presented and recorded on January 24, 2019.

In Conversation With Douglas A. Blackmon | Our Persistent Past: The Enduring Legacy of Slavery and America’s Corruption of the 13th Amendment

Presented and recorded on November 15, 2018.

In Conversation with the Rosenbach: Emily Bazelon on Federalist Paper No. 83

Presented and recorded by March 6, 2018

In Conversation with the Rosenbach: Kermit Roosevelt on Federalist Paper No. 46

Presented and recorded on February 21, 2018

In Conversation with the Rosenbach: Judge Jed S. Rakoff on Federalist Paper No. 78

Presented and recorded on January 26, 2018.