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Pictured: Haverford College Libraries Quaker and Special Collections

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  • A-Space

    Center of attention

    More neighborhoods need a pace like the A-Space, an anarchist “infoshop” that focuses on the enrichment of its community. Come for the free books, art shows and vegan potlucks, stay for the anti-war think tanks and NORML meetings.

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  • AIA Bookstore & Design Center

    A fun, sophisticated store selling architecture books, unique designer gifts, and creative children’s toys

    The AIA Bookstore & Design Center is a recognized leader in architecture books, unique designer gifts, and creative children’s toys. The bookstore is operated by the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, one of the oldest Chapters of the AIA.

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  • American Philosophical Society Museum

    Views of science and humanistic thought at Ben Franklin’s intellectual club

    American Philosophical Society Museum

    Snuggled behind the east wing of Independence Hall is Philosophical Hall, a brick building erected in the late 1780s that was our nation’s first museum, national library and academy of science. Inside, changing exhibitions highlight the intersections of science, history and art. Jefferson’s handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Lewis and Clark journals are among the important documents, scientific specimens, patent models, portraits, maps, rare books and manuscripts that comprise this remarkable collection.

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  • Bloomsday at the Rosenbach

    A daylong celebration of James Joyce’s Ulysses

    The Bloomsday festivities underway outside the Rosenbach Museum.

    This year marks the 106th anniversary of Leopold Bloom’s fictional journey through the streets of Dublin, as imagined in James Joyce’s novel, Ulysses, with the Rosenbach Museum’s day-long celebration of Bloomsday.

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  • Brickbat Books

    Literary retreat on Fabric Row

    Rare first-edition poetry tomes and brand-new graphic novels populate the wooden shelves of this Fabric Row shop. With creaky floors and a quiet atmosphere, it’s a great spot to discover a fondness for Edward Gorey or to rediscover that once-obsessed-over children’s book.

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  • Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections

    A place for serious purpose and peaceful reflection

    Philadelphia railroad barons put a line through and renamed dusty, rural Humphreyville, Bryn Mawr. The college was founded in 1885, and an image was reversed. Observers noted how “striking Gothic architecture and rolling landscape foster a sense both of serious purpose and of peaceful reflection.” Bryn Mawr’s collections are comprised of literature, women’s studies, the college, history, travel and exploration, art of the book, and art.

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  • Center for Advanced Judaic Studies

    Preserving for researchers the venerable history of Jewry

    More often than not, libraries are dispersed at the demise of their host institutions. When Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning failed, its library became an exception. Thanks to the late philanthropist Walter Annenberg, the library founded by 19th century Philadelphian Moses Aaron Dropsie was kept intact in a new research facility. A few years later the collection joined the University of Pennsylvania.

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  • Center for Architecture

    Home of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the Community Design Collaborative

    The Center for Architecture offers walking tours, exhibitions, lectures, kids workshops, films, book talks and other events on the topics of architecture, urban planning, and design.

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  • Chester County Historical Society

    Focusing a spotlight on local history and handicrafts

    This gem of a small museum displays its permanent collections as regally and thoughtfully as any major museum. Exhibits afford a glimpse into the life of the early residents, the local iron industry and the artistry of the Welsh settlers who decorated furniture with a unique line and berry inlay design. The History Lab, a large room full of hands-on activities for tots through teens, is especially inviting, with its Chippendale-style chair to construct and a Civil War officer’s coat to don.

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  • Fisher Fine Arts Library

    Frank Furness (1888-90)

    Fisher Fine Arts Library

    On the University of Pennsylvania, Frank Furness (1888-90)

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  • Free Library of Philadelphia

    Incredible collection of rare books, special collections and media

    Free Library of Philadelphia

    A stunning Beaux-Arts building along the culture-heavy Benjamin Franklin Parkway serves as the hub for the Free Library of Philadelphia, which includes 50 branches around the city.

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  • Free Library of Philadelphia Rare Book Department

    Highlights of book history preserved for posterity

    Free Library of Philadelphia

    When architects Horace Trumbauer’s and Julian Francis Abele’s building on Logan Circle opened in 1927, rare books were collected elsewhere in town. The Central Branch of the public library soon became a popular repository for everything from Sumerian cuneiform tablets to the works of Beatrix Potter. When the entire library of William McIntire Elkins, including the room that housed it, was given to the library in 1949, the Rare Book collection grew into a full-fledged department.

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  • Haverford College Libraries Quaker and Special Collections

    All things Quaker on a quiet Main Line campus

    The Haverford College Library.

    Ever since the Quaker founders of Haverford College set to work here in 1833, the library has grown into a dedicated repository for exceptional collections. In addition to materials that are just simply rare (Benjamin Franklin’s classic printing of Cicero’s Cato Major) Haverford’s Quaker Collection manages the office of the Friends Historical Association.

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  • Henry J. Cadbury Library

    A historical place to study and practice peace

    Persecution led members of the Society of Friends to settle in the Delaware Valley more than 325 years ago. Today, this community numbers approximately 12,000. Its ongoing activities are supported by a small handful of libraries including the Henry J. Cadbury Library, which was founded in 1960. This contemporary collection of Quaker materials is designed to “nurture the spiritual life” of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and “to lend materials on Quakerism and its faith and practice to all interested people.”

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  • Historic Germantown Visitor Center

    Let the Germantown Historical Society welcome you

    The Historical Society’s 50,000 objects, library and archives guarantee a memorable experience.

    When William Penn offered tolerance and refuge, he found some takers in Europe’s German-speaking countries. Frankfort lawyer Daniel Francis Pastorius first settled Germantown in 1683. It was a remarkable place: home to the first written protest against slavery, site of a Revolutionary War battle and much more. The Germantown Historical Society has preserved and interpreted it all since 1901.

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  • Kelly Writers House

    A place for pens at Penn

    Penn students, faculty, staff and alumni founded this gathering space for writers inside an actual 13-room house on campus. Each semester, the staff hosts around 150 public programs and projects that include poetry readings, film screenings, seminars, dinners, workshops, art exhibits and musical performances.

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  • National Archives and Records Administration Mid-Atlantic Region

    Exhibition and research facility of the official records of the American democracy

    The National Archives enables visitors to see for themselves the records of what the government has done. Here are collections for all manner of agencies, including the Mint, NASA, the Marines, the Census Bureau, the Selective Service, the FAA, the Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the little-known (and long abolished) Chemical Warfare Service.

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  • National Museum of American Jewish History

    Preserving and interpreting the American Jewish experience

    The New National Museum of American Jewish History

    Rising five stories above Independence Mall, in the heart of historic Philadelphia, the National Museum of American Jewish History joins Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center, the Liberty Bell and other landmarks at the hallowed site of America’s birth.

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  • New Africa Center/Muslim American Museum & Archive

    First Western Islamic museum of its kind

    Dedicated to preserving the history of Islam in the West, this is the first museum of its kind in the country.

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  • Philadelphia Book Festival

    Celebration of the joy of reading

    Philadelphia Book Festival logo

    Now in its eighth year, the annual Philadelphia Book Festival hosted by the Free Library of Philadelphia is a city-wide celebration of the written word.

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  • Presbyterian Historical Society Library & Collections

    A national center to collect and reflect on Presbyterianism

    The Presbyterian Historical Society was founded in 1852 to “preserve and service materials relating to the history of the Presbyterian Church.” Today, it serves as the national archives and historical research center of the church. The society’s Lombard Street headquarters, opened in 1967, is located in the same neighborhood where Philadelphia’s Presbyterian congregation gathered in the 1690s.

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  • Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Ryan Memorial Library

    Rare books, vaulted ceilings and arched windows inspire research

    The Ryan Memorial Library and its Rare Book Collection date back to 1832 when the seminary was founded. In 1911, the library moved to its current location, which is named for Archbishop Patrick J. Ryan, second archbishop of Philadelphia. It is considered a wonderful resource for the study of systematic theology, canon law and church history, particularly the history of the Catholic Church in the United States.

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  • Stenton

    William Penn’s powerful agent-secretary, James Logan, made Stenton his country seat

    Stenton was one of the grandest houses of its time.

    Ben Franklin thought it was worth the trip to Germantown’s Stenton, one of the grandest houses of its time.

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  • Swarthmore College Libraries

    Unparalleled collections exploring Quakers, peace and literature

    Friends Historical Library originated with a gift in 1871, when Anson Lapham created a collection “exclusively for matters pertaining to friends.” With additional acquisitions related to Quaker activity in literature, science, business, and government, the Friends Historical Libary’s holdings grew to more than 39,000 books, 2,500 microfilm reels, 4,000 volumes of Quaker Meeting records, 275 manuscript collections, pictures and artifacts.

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  • Temple University Libraries – The Special Collections Department

    Preserving everyday life – and a few special highlights

    Temple’s premise is simple: wealth is at hand. Founder Russell Conwell spread the word in his signature sermon, “Acres of Diamonds,” a parable of a man whose worldwide search for riches ends in failure. Digging the man’s grave on his own land, his family finds he owned acres of diamonds all along. This people’s university extends Conwell’s message and mission with its special collections.

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  • The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

    National center for architectural history

    The Athenaeum was founded as a member-supported library in 1814, and continued for more than a century and a half as a British-style reading room on one of the city^s original squares. During the last quarter century, the Athenaeum built its collections, restored its building, and transformed itself into a national center for the history of architecture and design. The Athenaeum stands only one block from Independence Hall, overlooking leafy Washington Square.

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  • The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection

    Stories from the Underground Railroad to Paul Robeson

    From his early childhood in nearby Norristown, Charles L. Blockson accumulated a stellar collection of rare materials documenting the story of African-Americans. Thirty years ago, this historian and author donated the core of his collection to Temple University. Blockson continues to serve as its curator and advocate. The collection thrives as a research facility for visitors from high school students to advanced scholars.

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  • The David Library of the American Revolution

    Revolutionary War documentation on sacred historical ground

    Studying at the David Library.

    The David Library was founded by Sol Feinstone (1888-1980), a businessman and collector who dreamed of turning his Washington Crossing farm into a library devoted to the study of the Revolution. The library, opened in 1974, contains Feinstone’s personal collection, which continues to grow through the nonprofit foundation he established to support it.

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  • The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania

    A century of ancestor tracking, bit by byte

    Since 1892, the Society has been expanding its collections and serving researchers in person, through the mail, and more recently, by email: execdir@genpa.org. Few genealogical societies in the United States have been serving genealogical needs as long, and only a scant few collect and preserve vital and personal records from unpublished sources. The society is run largely by volunteers.

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  • The Grundy Museum

    Victorian-era home of Senator Joseph R. Grundy

    The former home of Senator Joseph Ridgway Grundy sits on the banks of the Delaware River.

    Victorian-era home of Senator Joseph R. Grundy

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