“a special collections library and museum founded in 1814 to collect materials "connected with the history and antiquities of America, and the useful arts, and generally to disseminate useful knowledge" for public benefit. The Athenaeum's collections include architecture and interior design history, particularly for the period 1800 to 1945. The institution focuses on the history of American architecture and building technology, and houses architectural archives of 180,000 drawings, over 350,000 photographs, and manuscript holdings of about 1,000 American architects.”
|Page from the Monumental Bronze Company 1882 catalog of grave markers|
Basically, the Philadelphia Athenaeum is one of the few remaining “pay” libraries in the United States. They have some basic fare, popular reading, and a most impressive Renaissance Revival reading room. However, they also have a massive collection of historic and architectural books, documents, portfolios, and trade journals the likes of which I never knew existed. I was actually able to page through an original copy of the (view the pages online here) 1882 catalog for the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut (one of two manufacturers of zinc, or “white bronze” grave markers)! In addition to the Monumental Bronze catalog, they have Sleeping Beauty.
|Paging through the book, "Sleeping Beauty"|
|The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, print by John Notman, 1847|
|"Woodlands," by Ed Snyder|