The Rosenbach Museum and Library
A wonderland for lovers of books and antiques
Tucked away among the elegant 19th-century townhomes near Rittenhouse Square, The Rosenbach Museum & Library houses one of the world’s great collections of manuscripts, literature and rare books.
A list of some of the treasures amassed by the Rosenbach brothers is amazing in itself – Lewis Carroll’s own copy of Alice in Wonderland, a first edition of Don Quixote, James Joyce’s handwritten manuscript for Ulysses, and the earliest extant letter from George Washington – but the real treat is to see them among the Egyptian statuary, Persian rugs, 18th-century furniture and Thomas Sully paintings that graced the 1860s mansion during the Rosenbachs’ lifetime.
The library has more than 130,000 manuscripts and 30,000 rare books; the museum boasts the largest U.S. collection of miniature portraits painted in oil on metal.
The Maurice Sendak Collection at The Rosenbach
The Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia is the sole repository of the original artwork of famed author and illustrator Maurice Sendak and a foremost authority on all things Sendak.
Author of Where the Wild Things Are and 108 other books, Maurice Sendak chose the Rosenbach to be the permanent home of his work in the early 1970s thanks to shared literary and collecting interests.
The Rosenbach’s Sendak collection is the largest collection of “Sendakiana” in the world, with over 10,000 preliminary sketches, final drawings, manuscripts, books, and ephemera as well as exclusive recent interview footage in which Sendak discusses his life, childhood, work, and inspirations.
To coincide with the forthcoming release of the Warner Bros. live-action film adaptation of Sendak’s acclaimed children’s classic, Where the Wild Things Are, the Rosenbach will present a number of Sendak-themed events and exhibitions for audiences looking to experience the art and work of Maurice Sendak up-close and in-person.
The aforementioned film, directed by Spike Jonze, with a screenplay by Jonze and author Dave Eggers, is slated for release nationwide on October 16, 2009.
Throughout the year, the Rosenbach displays rotating Sendak-specific exhibitions featuring work from the museum’s vast Sendak collection and offers special Sendak-themed Hands-On Tours, events and educational programming.
In 1954, after the deaths of the Rosenbach brothers – Dr. A.S.W., a dealer in rare books and manuscripts, and Philip, a dealer of fine arts and antiques – their individual libraries and collections were organized in the doctor’s townhouse. In 2002, the museum expanded into the historic house next door for more research and display space.
Open Tue – Sun
The entire Greenwich Village living room of poet Marianne Moore, complete with photographs of her beloved Brooklyn Dodgers, has been installed here.
Some Kids’ Stuff
The museum has an extensive collection of the drawings of Maurice Sendak, one of the most beloved children’s book authors of the 20th century.
In the neighborhood
220 S 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
- The Westin Philadelphia
- The Rittenhouse Hotel
- Latham Hotel
- Sofitel Philadelphia
- AKA Rittenhouse Square
- Rittenhouse 1715, A Boutique Hotel
- Sonesta Hotel Philadelphia
- Hotel Palomar Philadelphia
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Museums & Attractions
18th and Walnut Streets Philadelphia, PA 19103
- Center City District Sips
- The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre
- The Franklin Institute
- Bloomsday at the Rosenbach
- Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show
- First Unitarian Church
- The Curtis Institute of Music
- Thomas Hockley House
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