Dear Friends,

What better way to spend a heat wave than in a cool space with a good book and an icy glass of water? We have so many options for you to choose from at the Athenaeum: new releases, great history, landscaping, architecture, science, mysteries, fiction and more. You might want to contact our librarian and order a physical copy. Pick it up in our vestibule before returning to your air conditioned home! If you’d prefer not to leave your comfy chair, we have great selections in our eBook library. Our book club meets again in a few weeks, giving you plenty of time to read this month’s selection. And on Wednesday, we celebrate the birthday of John Notman, the Athenaeum’s architect. Scroll down to learn more about books and Notman’s legacy.

It has been wonderful to hear from so many of you with rave reviews for our Summer Speaker Series. We have a great series lined up for the fall; I am so grateful to the many authors, scholars, and leaders who have agreed to join our line-up and bring their knowledge to us. Keep tuned for updates and previews in the coming weeks! 

Athenaeum Library Services

While the Athenaeum is open for vestibule pick-ups and drop-offs, we are still ordering new eBooks to keep your options fresh! New titles include…

Ain’t Nobody Nobody Ellett, Heather Harper 
Begin Again Glaude, Eddie S. 
The Body in the Wake Page, Katherine Hall 
Catherine House Thomas, Elisabeth 
The Color of Law Rothstein, Richard 
Demagogue Tye, Larry 
The Distant Dead Young, Heather 
Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead Tokarczuk, Olga ; Lloyd-Jones, Antonia
Heaven and Earth Giordano, Paolo
How to Be an Antiracist   Kendi, Ibram X. 
The Lantern Men Griffiths, Elly 
The Mark Pinter, Jason 
The New Jim Crow Alexander, Michelle 
One Little Secret Holahan, Cate 
The Order Silva, Daniel 
The Silence Allott, Susan 
Someone's Listening Glass, Seraphina Nova 
Stamped from the Beginning Kendi, Ibram X. 
Three Mishani, D. A. ; Cohen, Jessica 
Total Mayhem Gilstrap, John 
These Women Pochoda, Ivy 
Toward the Light Spring, Bonnar 
White Fragility Diangelo, Robin

You can also see a list of all recent purchases on the Athenaeum Book Shelf . Email librarian Jill Lee to make requests! At this time, members can only make requests for Athenaeum materials. Resumption of UPenn services to the Athenaeum has not started yet . Any shareholders who would like to check out a book from the Van Pelt Library may request it using the Franklin Catalog and pick it up at Van Pelt Library. 
Athenaeum Book Club

The next meeting of the Athenaeum Book Club is August 6 at 3:00pm. This month we are reading Revolver by Duane Swierczynski. 

From the publisher:

Three generations torn apart — by bullets fired fifty years ago.

Philadelphia, 1965: Two street cops — one black, one white — are gunned down in a corner bar. One of the fallen officers, Stan Walczak, leaves behind a 12-year-old boy, Jimmy.

Philadelphia, 1995: Homicide detective Jim Walczak learns that his father’s alleged killer, Terrill Lee Stanton, has been sprung from prison. Jim stalks the ex-con, hoping to finally learn the truth.

Philadelphia, 2015: Jim’s daughter Audrey, a forensic science student, re-opens her grandfather’s murder for a research paper. But as Audrey digs deeper, she comes to realize that Stanton probably didn’t pull the trigger — and her father may have made a horrible mistake…

Space is limited, so sign up today!
If you are interested in helping us start a second Athenaeum book club, contact executive director Beth Hessel ( ). 
Thu, Aug 6, 2020 3:00 PM EST
Athenaeum Book Club
Oil Portrait of John Notman by Samuel Bell Waugh, 1845 Private Collection

From the Curator

 Happy Birthday, John Notman!

We hope you will join us this Wednesday, July 22 in celebrating the 210th birthday of Athenaeum architect John Notman . Born in Edinburgh, Notman trained at the Royal Academy of Scotland, apprenticed to a builder, and worked in the office of prominent Scottish architect William Henry Playfair before migrating to Philadelphia in 1831. According to his biographer and long-time Athenaeum shareholder, Constance M. Greiff, Notman "introduced the Italianate villa to the United States at Burlington, New Jersey. In 1835, he planned America's first architect-designed, park-like rural cemetery at Laurel Hill , Philadelphia. By the early 1840s his residential commissions were published nationally in A.J. Downing's A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening . Notman was an importer of sophisticated design ideas from Britain which he skillfully translated for his American clientele. 
Gatehouse & Chapel of Laurel Hill Cemetery, Lithograph by J.T. Bowen, 1840, Athenaeum Print Collection
A tried and true way to judge the talent of an architect is to look at how his contemporaries view his work. An 1854 letter in the Thomas U. Walter Collection reveals the esteem in which others held Notman. Writing from Washington, Walter said, "you wish me to recommend some one to you in whose taste I have confidence. My own impression is that Mr. Notman (Spruce above Broad) is the best Archt in Philada. I am not personally acquainted with him, but his works, as The Athenaeum, St. Mark's Church, and other things I have seen of his, indicate taste, genius, and practical skill."  
Watercolor Rendering of Unbuilt Design for the Athenaeum,1840, John Notman. Southeast corner, 6 th & Walnut Streets., Athenaeum Archives
South Flank of St. Mark’s Church, Locust Street, Rendered elevation by John Notman, 1847, AIA Collection, Athenaeum of Philadelphia
Like Walter, Notman worked throughout his career to establish the profession of architect, and these two were the only Philadelphians invited to be among the founders of the American Institute of Architects in 1857. After Notman’s death in 1865, his protégé, George Hewitt, gave nearly 100 Notman drawings to the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA. These in turn were deeded to the Athenaeum in 1986.
We all hope that you enjoy our weekly offerings. Please let me know if you have any questions or ideas. 

I hope that you remain safe, healthy, and hopeful.

With appreciation,
Beth Shalom Hessel
Executive Director