The Walter & Leonore Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library
The intellect flourishes in this Ivy League inner sanctum
Modern elevator doors open onto a hall paneled in authentic medieval oak, carved to represent open books. To the left is a gallery lined with cases featuring highlights from the collections as diverse as American poetry to the Italian Renaissance, from the papers of Marian Anderson (with a dedicated Website) to a collection of Shakespearean promptbooks.
A glass door leads to the reading room where scholars and students consult selections from 250,000 of the library’s rarities. At the other end, another door opens up onto an unforgettable bit of authenticity: a Victorian library interior built in 1881 by Henry Charles Lea, Philadelphia publisher and reformer. Lea’s love of books is readily apparent in this living tribute to the printed word.
Roots of the Ivy League go deep at the Van Pelt Library. On the sixth floor is an inner sanctum with a stunning array of book and manuscript collections mostly assembled in the 19th century and acquired by the university in the 20th century. They document nothing less than the history of intellect.
Open Mon – Sat during the academic year
Henry Charles Lea was the nation’s first historian of the European middle ages and had a special passion for magic and witchcraft. In his paneled library, which originally graced his house 14 blocks to the east, Lea wrote about the Inquisition.
In the neighborhood
Museums & Attractions
3500 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104
- Mandell Theater
- The Awesome Fest
- Arthur Ross Gallery
- 40th Street Summer Series
- Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival
- Institute of Contemporary Art
- The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
- Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
- Split Button
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Restaurants & Dining
3549 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
- Mikey’s American Grill and Sports Bar
- Pizza Rustica
- Night Market – Lancaster Avenue
- The Porch at 30th Street Station
- Baby Blues BBQ
- Han-Wool Restaurant
- Abner’s Cheesesteaks
- White Dog Cafe
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