Archives Month Philly: Tour of Bartram’s Garden Library and Archives

Bartram’s Garden is a 45-acre National Historic Landmark, operated by the John Bartram Association in cooperation with the City of Philadelphia. John Bartram (1699-1777) was a prominent American naturalist who specialized in botany and horticulture.

The property is gorgeous and open to the public to walk around the estate. There are several buildings on the property, former barns, stables, and Bartrams’ residence which can be toured.

In celebration of Archives Month Philly, the Library and Archives at Bartram’s Garden opened its doors for a public tour and introduction to the collection. Curator Joel Fry and archivist Alina Josan guided visitors through select highlights from the collection which included a letter from Benjamin Franklin to John Bartram, a beautiful mid-19th century herbarium of plants collected locally by Emma Thomas who lived in the house Whitby Hall in the 1860’s, photographs, land deeds and many gorgeous rare books on botany.





If you missed this great event this year, don’t worry the Library and Archives at Bartram’s Garden plan on giving this tour again for Archives Month Philly 2015!

The Library and Archives collections are available for researchers by appointment. The estate grounds are open for walks or bike rides.

Bartram’s Garden
5400 Lindbergh Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19143

Archives Month Philly: Free Library of Philadelphia Rare Book tour and exhibitions

Currently, the Rare Book Department at the Free Library of Philadelphia is providing tours which include an introduction to the history of the book showing select items from the collections, including cuneiform tablets, a section of a papyrus scroll, a medieval manuscript and a leaf from a Gutenberg Bible. The tour also includes a visit to the Elkins Room, the actual library of a former Free Library Trustee who was also a prominent book collector.

These tours take place every Monday to Saturday at 11am in the month of October.


Karin Suni, the Curator of the Theatre Collection gave the tour last Saturday and she was fantastic. Karin provided the patrons on the tour with intelligent insight, clear explanations, and passionate enthusiasm about the library’s collections. In addition to being educational, it was also very fun! The Free Library’s Rare Book Department has a lovely array of materials from classic literary authors papers, Americana, art, history, science and much more.








There are also several ongoing exhibitions open at the Free Library. In the Rare Book Department, there is “Fated Sky: The Textuality of Time & Space”.


This exhibition presents people’s views of the heavens and the connections between religion, time, and science by showcasing prints and manuscripts, from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment.

Fated Sky will continue to be on display through Feb. 14, 2015, Monday– Saturday, 9am-5pm.

On the first floor of the Free Library in the West Gallery is an ongoing exhibition “Born of the Bard: Works Inspired by Shakespeare.”


This exhibition demonstrates the ways in which Shakespeare and his work have inspired artists to produce a variety of art and literature of their own. Through items like movie posters, novels, programs, and photographs, visitors can see the vast impact Shakespeare has had on cultural heritage around the world.

Born of the Bard will continue through Dec. 21, 2014, Monday – Saturday 9-5, Sunday 1-5.

Please take advantage of these excellent offerings and visit the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Archives Month Philly: Free exhibit on Delaware River life in Bristol

Contributed by Shaun Kirkpatrick

Bristol exhibit overview

General view of the Bristol waterfront exhibit

Did you know that an amusement park once sat on an island in the middle of the Delaware River?  Or that a Bristol, Pa.-to-Burlington, N.J. ferry in the 1750s charged 6 pence for a pig to ride (the same as a human), unless the pig was dead…in which case it was still charged 3 pence?  These and other surprising facts can be found in “Bristol’s Riverfront Connection,” a free Archives Month Philly exhibit at the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library in Bristol, Pa.

Displays examine such regional maritime topics as pre-colonial inhabitants, early settlers, mills, ferries, fishing, shipbuilding, and yachting and other riverfront recreation; the ecology of the river is also addressed.

Bristol exhibit case

One of the exhibition cases


The exhibit is open from Oct. 18 to Nov. 15, during normal library hours (Monday to Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday toSaturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Sunday).

For more information, visit:

Archives Month Philly: Making sauerkraut at the German Society

Contributed by Shaun Kirkpatrick


Attendees at sauerkraut-making workshop

On Oct. 14 at the German Society of Pennsylvania (GSP), local food writer Marisa McClelland led a workshop on making that definitively German dish, sauerkraut.  For a little over an hour, McClelland helped attendees use a tablespoon of salt and some mixing and mashing to turn two pounds of cabbage into what will hopefully become a tasty jar of sauerkraut in a week’s time.  It was messy, particularly for the less-culinary-inclined, but fun.

Topping off the evening, GSP librarian Chrissy Bellizzi treated visitors to an enjoyable display of historic cookbooks in the impressive Horner Memorial Library reading room.  Missed it?  The cookbooks will remain on display through the end of October during normal library hours (Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).



The finished product