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Registration for Programs

Maureen Corrigan, National Public Radio book critic, “Who Do You Think You Are? A Critic Responds”

Wednesday, February 20, 3:30 PM

This event has been postponed to to inclement weather.  A new date will be announced.

Everybody’s a critic these days. The democratic possibilities of Yelp, Goodreads, and thousands of other online sites have all-but-toppled the reign of traditional “gatekeepers” of culture. (Think: Sheridan Whiteside from The Man Who Came To Dinner.) Or have they? Longtime Fresh Air book critic, Maureen Corrigan, offers a spirited and self-serving defense of the enduring need for an educated opinion. She’ll also talk about her own circuitous path to becoming a professional book critic and give us a glimpse into how books get chosen for review on Fresh Air.

Maureen Corrigan is the book critic on the NPR radio program Fresh Air and writes for the "Book World" section of The Washington Post. In 2014, she wrote So We Read On, a book on the origins and power of "The Great Gatsby." In 2005, she published a literary memoir, Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books. Corrigan was awarded the 2018 Nona Balakian Award for Excellence in Reviewing by the National Book Critics Circle, and the 1999 Edgar Award for Criticism by The Mystery Writers of America.

Free. RSVP: Call 215-925-2688 or email  

Photo by Nina Subin

Bob Perkins, longtime WRTI radio host and dean of radio jazz broadcasters, “Preparing for the Unknown”

Friday, February 22, 3:00 PM

Bob Perkins writes: “My talk will focus on the ways I was seemingly set-up to become a broadcaster. In retrospect, it became clear to me some years ago that so many fine people and great opportunities were placed in front of me, guiding me to a small radio station in Detroit almost 55 years ago-at which, I virtually walked in the door and got hired--with no formal broadcast experience.

“I was born and raised in South Philly. My father loved radio-programming and repaired radios as a hobby. There was always a radio on in the house, from dawn until late at night. I heard the great voices of early radio, and I, too, began to like radio.

“I broke into broadcasting in Detroit, Michigan in 1964, and worked at several stations  before ultimately returning to Philadelphia, where I've worked at several stations. And because of my "big ears" and early unofficial mentors, over the years, I developed into a newsman, editorial writer, jazz  columnist, documentarian and DJ.    “This November will mark my 55th year in the media, and my 50th year in Philadelphia radio.”

Free. RSVP: Call 215-925-2688 or email  

The Athenaeum Takes a Hard Look at Philadelphia in the Movies

“The Philadelphia Lawyer in The Young Philadelphians,” with Carrie Rickey

Wednesday, February 27, 2:00 PM

Based on The Philadelphian, the 1957 bestseller by Richard Powell, adman, novelist, and seventh-generation resident of the city of Brotherly Love, Vincent Sherman's 1959 film stars Paul Newman as Anthony Judson Lawrence, the compleat Philadelphia lawyer. His father was a scion of the Main Line and his mother a working-class woman with social ambitions. Tony embodies the competing strains of blue blood and street fighter in Vincent Sherman's entertaining and under-known melodrama about a social climber who fights for social justice.

Film critic emerita of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Carrie Rickey reviews books for Film Quarterly, movies for, contributes to publications including Film CommentThe Forward and The New York Times, and teaches at Drexel and University of Pennsylvania. She recently produced a documentary, Before Hollywood, that won a regional Emmy award

The film will be shown followed by discussion. Film Length: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Free. RSVP: Call 215-925-2688 or email

Steven Conn, “Thinking about Thoreau in an Age of Resistance”

Thursday, February 28, 5:30 PM

Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience is widely regarded as the founding document in the modern history of dissent and resistance. A long list of major figures, East and West, have praised Thoreau’s argument and acknowledged his impact. Tolstoy repeatedly expressed his admiration. Gandhi testified that Thoreau “greatly influenced” his tactics. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., described Civil Disobedience as the cornerstone of his campaign of non-violent resistance.

In his presentation, Professor Conn will closely examine Civil Disobedience – which he believes is more often saluted than carefully read – to clarify the limits as well as the strengths of Thoreau’s text.

Steven Conn is the W. E. Smith Professor of History at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The author of books on museums, urban history, and architecture, he is also the editor of the on-line journal Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective.

This event has received generous support from The Francis R. and Jean L. Grebe Lecture Fund

to follow.
Athenaeum Members: Free. RSVP: Call 215-925-2688 or email
General Public: $15

Qty Description Price
Conn Lecture: General Public

Michael Witmore, “A Monument to Shakespeare in the Nation’s Capital”

Tuesday, March 12, 5:30 PM

The Folger Shakespeare Library opened in 1932, a classical structure that in the hands of architect Paul Cret mixed elements of the Beaux Arts and developing modernist styles. In this lecture, Dr. Michael Witmore, Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, will discuss the form and meaning of the building that the Folgers created as a “gift to the American people.” What did it mean to create a monument to Shakespeare – an outsized British literary figure – in a city of monuments honoring figures such as Jefferson, Washington, and Lincoln? The ambitions of the Folger’s founding philanthropists, and the tension between civic life and the life of the arts and humanities, is built into the edifice that remains and continues to inspire visitors to Washington.

Michael Witmore was appointed the seventh director of the Folger on July 1, 2011. He was formerly professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and before that he served as associate professor of English and assistant professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Witmore earned an A.B. in English at Vassar College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley.

This event has received generous support from The Henry Paul Busch Fund.

Reception to follow.
This is an event for Shareholders only (Shareholders are welcome to bring one guest).

RSVP: Call 215-925-2688 or email

AYA Trio

Tuesday, April 30, 5:30 PM

The AYA Trio was formed in 2013 at the Curtis Institute of Music, where the members have studied with Peter Wiley as their main coach, along with Jonathan Biss, Arnold Steinhardt, and Meng-Shieh Lieu.

The trio has participated in masterclasses with Peter Wiley, Robert Levine, Noah Bendix-Bagely, Peter Stumpf, and Jessica Lee, and have performed numerous times in the Philadelphia Area including performances at the Philadelphia Club and Curtis.

Pianist Ying Li, from China, entered Curtis in 2012 and currently studies with professor Jonathan Biss. Ms. Li holds the Harold and Helene Schonberg Fellowship. Violinist Angela Sin Ying Chan was accepted to Curtis in 2013, where she studies with Prof. Aaron Rosand and Prof. Shmuel Ashkenasi. Cellist Andres Sanchez began his studies at Curtis in 2013. He studies with cellist Peter Wiley and Carter Brey.

This event has received generous support from The Edith Ogden Harrision Lecture Fund

to follow.
Athenaeum Members: Free. RSVP: Call 215-925-2688 or email
General Public: $15

Qty Description Price
AYA Trio: General Public

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