The Rosenbach, The Library Company, and The Athenaeum Announce Joint Seminar Series [press release]

PHILADELPHIA, February 28, 2022—The Rosenbach, The Library Company, and The Athenaeum are proud to announce the Libraries & Liberty virtual seminar series. The collaboration will utilize the collections of the three institutions to explore fundamental questions about liberty and freedom in the United States and around the world. The first of the series will be led by the Library Company beginning on April 20, the second will be led by The Rosenbach in Fall 2022, and the final course will be led by the Athenaeum in Winter 2023. 

“For the first time, The Rosenbach, The Library Company of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Athenaeum are pleased to present these three peerless collections in dialogue with one another for the Libraries & Liberty series.” says Kelsey Scouten Bates, Executive Director of The Rosenbach. “On their own, these three collections of books, manuscripts, and historical documents are powerful and compelling, but together they present the depth and breadth of American history that can be found only in Philadelphia.” 

Questions that the series will explore include: 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? Each seminar will build on the last as these three cultural institutions use their collections and areas of expertise to engage with these questions. 

The Library Company’s Executive Director Michael Barsanti will lead the first seminar of the series titled The Books Behind the Declaration. The four virtual sessions will look specifically at the moment of our country’s founding and how the books in the Library Company’s collection were part of the conversation and debate. The course will be divided into four sections: Libraries, Books, and the Enlightenment (April 20), The Course of Human Events (May 18), All Men are Created Equal (June 15), Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (July 6).  

Registration is now open on The Library Company’s website. Members of all three institutions receive a 10% discount on tuition.  


The Rosenbach creates unique experiences for broad audiences through programs inspired by its world-class holdings of literature and history. The Rosenbach is located in Center City Philadelphia and is open to the public with growing content available at all times on The Rosenbach is affiliated with the Free Library of Philadelphia.