The Library Company of Philadelphia

The Library Company of Philadelphia The Library Company is an independent research library specializing in American history

A simple little publisher's binding with a faded paper label on the upper cover, but still perfectly charming! L.F. Dimm...
01/04/2024

A simple little publisher's binding with a faded paper label on the upper cover, but still perfectly charming!

L.F. Dimmick. Hints for a New-Year (Newburyport, 1835)

Tuesday, January 2 has got to be the most Monday Tuesday ever. This type specimen gets it.From Specimen of Printing Type...
01/02/2024

Tuesday, January 2 has got to be the most Monday Tuesday ever.
This type specimen gets it.

From Specimen of Printing Types and Ornaments Cast by Johnson & Smith (Philadelphia, 1834).

Happy New Year!Time to start that new calendar! Here's some 19th century advertising calendar inspo to get you started.
01/01/2024

Happy New Year!
Time to start that new calendar! Here's some 19th century advertising calendar inspo to get you started.

Happy New Year from the Library Company (and Bob Rau the dog!)Image: William Rau. Holiday card, gelatin silver photograp...
12/29/2023

Happy New Year from the Library Company (and Bob Rau the dog!)

Image: William Rau. Holiday card, gelatin silver photograph, ca. 1910.

It was not uncommon for a 19th century publisher to issue the same book in variant bindings. Sometimes it was a differen...
12/28/2023

It was not uncommon for a 19th century publisher to issue the same book in variant bindings. Sometimes it was a difference of leather, cloth, or paper. Other times, the binding materials were the same but the decoration was different. These two books are identical save for their bindings. Which color would you pick?

Merry Times (Philadelphia, 1878)

Still dreaming of snow...How we would love to take a sleigh ride down a snowy Forbidden Drive! Image: "The joys of winte...
12/26/2023

Still dreaming of snow...

How we would love to take a sleigh ride down a snowy Forbidden Drive!

Image: "The joys of winter on the Wissahickon Drive." Stereograph by William Rau, ca. 1908.

The Library Company will be closed December 25, 2023-January 1, 2024. Happy Holidays, and see you in the New Year!
12/22/2023

The Library Company will be closed December 25, 2023-January 1, 2024. Happy Holidays, and see you in the New Year!

Shareholder Robert Aitken (1734-1802) was a Philadelphia printer, binder, and bookseller. He printed the Library Company...
12/20/2023

Shareholder Robert Aitken (1734-1802) was a Philadelphia printer, binder, and bookseller. He printed the Library Company’s 1775 catalog of books, and the Library Company paid his bill in part with a share. Check out our blog for more about Robert’s connections to the Library Company. https://librarycompany.org/2023/12/15/shareholder-spotlight-robert-aitken/

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,While visions of liver pills danced in their headsTrade card for Pleis'...
12/19/2023

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of liver pills danced in their heads

Trade card for Pleis' Fit Powders & Liver Pills, Philadelphia, ca. 1880

We know today is Monday and these decorated papers aren't marbled but we really just couldn't wait to show them off. Shi...
12/18/2023

We know today is Monday and these decorated papers aren't marbled but we really just couldn't wait to show them off. Shiny silver with prefect green wreaths, we're giving these a 10/10.

From A Collection of Hymns and a Liturgy, for the Use of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (New York, 1842)

The Cathay Tea Garden at 1221 Chestnut Street was more than just a restaurant. The Cathay was also a dance and music hal...
12/15/2023

The Cathay Tea Garden at 1221 Chestnut Street was more than just a restaurant. The Cathay was also a dance and music hall, with blocks of time dedicated to dancing and live music, and the home of a live broadcast radio show. This menu dates from ca. 1930; the restaurant closed in 1973.

Everyday butterflies, everyday binding?If you look closely, you can see a slight variation in the gold butterflies on th...
12/14/2023

Everyday butterflies, everyday binding?

If you look closely, you can see a slight variation in the gold butterflies on this binding. Some of them have a matte finish, adding a bit of dimensionality to the kaleidoscope.

Samuel Hubbard Scudder, Everyday Butterflies (New York, 1899)

Some colorful   marbling to help get you through this Monday. From: Ralph Preston, The Modern English Fruit-Gardener (Lo...
12/11/2023

Some colorful marbling to help get you through this Monday.

From: Ralph Preston, The Modern English Fruit-Gardener (London, 1785)

What a color combo on this one!  Vibrant (arsenical) green and gold endpapers on the inside and soft pink and gilt cloth...
12/08/2023

What a color combo on this one! Vibrant (arsenical) green and gold endpapers on the inside and soft pink and gilt cloth on the outside.
Happy !

The Mignonette (New York, 1842)

Ok but have you ever seen a frog with more rizz?Trade card for Hecker's Self-Raising Flour, ca. 1880
12/06/2023

Ok but have you ever seen a frog with more rizz?

Trade card for Hecker's Self-Raising Flour, ca. 1880

Almost all of the records that we’re reviewing as part of the Library Company Papers Project have direct or indirect tie...
12/04/2023

Almost all of the records that we’re reviewing as part of the Library Company Papers Project have direct or indirect ties to the Library Company’s shareholders. We see shareholders’ impacts in our directors’ minutes, our correspondence, our financial records, and much more, and Library Company directors even issued new shares to pay bills or raise money for new expenses. Learn more on our blog:
https://librarycompany.org/2023/12/04/learning-more-about-our-shareholders/

Philly's 1838 Black Metropolis, winners of our Biennial Innovation Award, in the news today! https://ow.ly/fTVQ50QcYtA
11/30/2023

Philly's 1838 Black Metropolis, winners of our Biennial Innovation Award, in the news today!

https://ow.ly/fTVQ50QcYtA

We'll never tire of looking at this glitzy, starry publisher's binding.R.A. Proctor. The Expanse of Heaven: A Series of ...
11/30/2023

We'll never tire of looking at this glitzy, starry publisher's binding.

R.A. Proctor. The Expanse of Heaven: A Series of Essays on the Wonders of the Firmament (New York, 1889).

Philadelphia hasn't seen more than an inch of snow since January 2022, but we had some fleeting flurries this morning! H...
11/28/2023

Philadelphia hasn't seen more than an inch of snow since January 2022, but we had some fleeting flurries this morning!
Here's hoping there's more to come.☃️

Image: Lantern slide of Albert Lindsay and Karl Doering shoveling snow near 1837 N. Bouvier Street. Taken by William Harvey Doering, ca. 1897.

Last minute pie idea...On second thought, maybe just stick with pumpkin. From Mother Goose's Melodies (New York, between...
11/22/2023

Last minute pie idea...
On second thought, maybe just stick with pumpkin.

From Mother Goose's Melodies (New York, between 1854-1860)

The Library Company will be closed November 23-24, 2023.

We're grateful for beautiful type specimens like this one! And many other things besides.From Specimen of Printing Types...
11/21/2023

We're grateful for beautiful type specimens like this one! And many other things besides.

From Specimen of Printing Types and Ornaments, Cast by Johnson & Smith (Philadelphia, 1834)

Shareholder Julia Duhring (1836-1892) lived only a couple blocks away when the Library Company opened its new Juniper an...
11/20/2023

Shareholder Julia Duhring (1836-1892) lived only a couple blocks away when the Library Company opened its new Juniper and Locust branch in February 1880. We don’t know how often Julia visited the library, but we do know that she wrote and published at least three books of essays during her lifetime. Check out our blog for more about Julia’s connections to the Library Company.

https://librarycompany.org/2023/11/17/shareholder-spotlight-julia-duhring

The endpapers on this copy of Thomas Moore's Works (New York, 1821) are over-marbled printer's waste. You know we love o...
11/17/2023

The endpapers on this copy of Thomas Moore's Works (New York, 1821) are over-marbled printer's waste. You know we love over-marbled printer's waste, but we especially love how select words peek through the marbling on this example.
Happy !

Now open in our gallery! Leaves of Green: An Exhibition in Honor of James N. Green, Librarian Emeritus. Leaves of Green ...
11/15/2023

Now open in our gallery!
Leaves of Green: An Exhibition in Honor of James N. Green, Librarian Emeritus.

Leaves of Green tells the story of Jim's exceptional career through a small selection of the books, broadsides, manuscripts, and other items that he acquired by gift and purchase over the course of his career, the lasting relationships he formed with collectors, booksellers, and donors, and the knowledge he so generously shared through his writing and exhibitions.

In the mood for some puzzling? These two trade cards are rebus puzzles, or puzzles where words are represented by pictur...
11/14/2023

In the mood for some puzzling? These two trade cards are rebus puzzles, or puzzles where words are represented by pictures. Help us solve them in the comments!

Trade cards for J.H. Bufford's Sons, ca. 1880.

We are thrilled to honor Morgan Lloyd and Michiko Quinones with the Library Company of Philadelphia’s 2023 Innovation Aw...
11/10/2023

We are thrilled to honor Morgan Lloyd and Michiko Quinones with the Library Company of Philadelphia’s 2023 Innovation Award for their exceptional project The 1838 Black Metropolis! Join us in congratulating the winners and learning from them about antebellum Philadelphia Black history!

This little series of children's books was sold as a set, all neatly tucked into a perfect box. Which book would you rea...
11/09/2023

This little series of children's books was sold as a set, all neatly tucked into a perfect box. Which book would you read first?

Little Keepsake Library. (Boston, ca. 1875)

Labor-Saving Slugs! The Cloudy Horizon!This   offering comes to you from   "An Abridged Specimen of Printing Types, Made...
11/07/2023

Labor-Saving Slugs! The Cloudy Horizon!

This offering comes to you from
"An Abridged Specimen of Printing Types, Made at Bruce's New-York Type-Foundry (New York, 1869).

What's your favorite line?

The Pennsylvania Library of Foreign Literature and Science was only nine years old when it reached out to the Library Co...
11/06/2023

The Pennsylvania Library of Foreign Literature and Science was only nine years old when it reached out to the Library Company’s directors in 1840 with a proposal: they would transfer their holdings of roughly 2,500 titles in French, German, Italian, and Spanish to LCP in exchange for shares for its 62 members. Learn more on our blog:
https://ow.ly/bJVN50Q3WM1

These wonderful (if slightly dizzying) endpapers were printed twice, first in green and then again in silver, to achieve...
11/03/2023

These wonderful (if slightly dizzying) endpapers were printed twice, first in green and then again in silver, to achieve this layered effect.

Endpapers from Hymns, Selected and Original (Baltimore, 1844)

Address

1314 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA
19107

Opening Hours

Monday 9am - 4:45pm
Tuesday 9am - 4:45pm
Wednesday 9am - 4:45pm
Thursday 9am - 4:45pm
Friday 9am - 4:45pm

Telephone

(215) 546-3181

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when The Library Company of Philadelphia posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Videos

Share

Nearby museums


Other Philadelphia museums

Show All