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Current Exhibition


Yellowbacks: Don’t Judge These Victorian Books by Their Covers

Offered for an astounding price of one or two shillings, “yellowbacks” with their dramatic covers responded to rising literacy in England in the mid to late nineteenth century. Their eye-catching paper covers displayed dramatic scenes intended to draw the reader into the plot while the backs of the books advertised such popular products as Pears’ Soap. The Athenaeum owns over 100 “yellowback” titles, first intended as cheap reading for British travel. These were acquired as they were published in England, clearly indicating a stage in the development of the Athenaeum’s recreational reading collection.

Exhibition Dates: March 6 - March 31, 2015


Upcoming Exhibition

The Atlas Imagined: A Collaborative Project

39 Members of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers made an edition of maps of a place, real or imagined. Meeting in September 2014, participating members exchanged maps to make into an individual book or house in a unique box. This exhibition will reveal the range of artistic creation brought to this collaborative effort. The Delaware Valley Chapter – one of 10 regional chapters of the Guild of Book Workers – is located in the the tri-state area with activities centered in Philadelphia. The GBW promotes interest in and awareness of the tradition of the book and paper arts. Its diverse membership includes book artists, book conservators, fine binders, calligraphers, librarians, paper marblers, teachers, photographers, printmakers, and graphic designers.

Exhibition Dates: April 10 - June 6

Opening Reception: Friday, April 10, 5:00-7:00pm  RSVP to or 215-925-2688.