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  • The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

    American history starts here, at 13th and Locust Streets

    The Historical Society of Pennsylvania building

    The American Revolution was fading from memory after nearly 50 years, and Philadelphians preserved the past by saving papers, portraits and even furniture. More than a century and three-quarters later, the massive collection was augmented by a merger with the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies.

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  • The Library Company of Philadelphia

    The country’s first lending library still displays its vast holdings

    The Library Company still pays homage to Ben Franklin, its founding member. Just as in 1731, individuals can buy a “share” of the library. Founded when Ben was 25, subscription libraries were the first of many innovations. When Philadelphia was the U.S. capital, it was, in effect, the Library of Congress. It is now the only major intact Colonial library.

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  • The Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center

    Discovering and preserving Philadelphia’s Jewish past

    The archives has provided a refuge for threatened records since 1972. It was the first community-sponsored archives of its kind in the nation, established as a joint project of the Philadelphia Center of the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. Its graphics are used extensively in publications and exhibitions throughout the United States and Israel.

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  • The Rosenbach Museum and Library

    A wonderland for lovers of books and antiques

    The Rosenbach Museum

    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.

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  • The Union Library of Hatboro

    Second oldest library in the state, twelfth oldest in the country

    This library began in Hatboro’s Crooked Billet Tavern in August 1755, when 38 local citizens met and signed an “Instrument of partnership” to create the “Union Library Company of Hatboro.” The library, albeit with a shortened name, continues to operate under its original charter, making it the second oldest in Pennsylvania and the twelfth oldest in the United States.

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  • The Walter & Leonore Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library

    The intellect flourishes in this Ivy League inner sanctum

    Roots of the Ivy League go deep at the Van Pelt Library at the University of Pennsylvania. 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.

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