Dear Athenaeum Friends,
Last week, the Washington Post headlined an article, “The inflatable pool is the official symbol of America’s lost summer.” As a parent who has invested in an inflatable pool for a gaggle of bored kids missing their usual summer activities, I am not sure whether to laugh or cry at this pronouncement. Coming from the perspective of the Athenaeum, I’d like to think the official symbols of this summer are well-used library cards and interesting Zoom webinars. What would you identify as the summer of 2020’s official symbol? I’d love to hear!
While we are on a summer respite with our Speaker Series, we offer you podcasts of some favorite programs at the Athenaeum in the past few years. Many thanks to Steven Weitzman, Madeline Miller, and Janny Scott for talks that keep on inspiring us! Listed below are more of our recent eBook acquisitions, and a curated list of books, DVDs, audiobooks, and eBooks for the armchair traveler in each of us. Librarian Jill LeMin Lee offers us a virtual voyage to Scotland. I suspect in the cooler air of Scotland not as many folks are putting inflatable pools in their front yards! Finally, we tip a hat to our wonderful interns, Dorothy Fitzgerald and Jeremiah DiBease in celebration of National Intern Day on July 30th.
Good listening and good reading as you cool off in your kiddie pool!
National Intern Day

Thursday July 30 is National Intern Day and the Athenaeum celebrates this year’s Charles E. Peterson interns. A long-time Athenaeum shareholder, Charles E. Peterson, FAIA, was the founder of the Historic American Buildings Survey. Since 1990, his endowment has underwritten the work of more than 50 interns, all of whom have had a unique opportunity to work hands-on with the Athenaeums historic architectural collections. Dorothy and Jeremiah are to be especially commended since their service here (onsite) has coincided with the COVID-19 challenges of shutdown, quarantine and partial re-opening.
Dorothy Fitzgerald
I recently graduated from Thomas Jefferson University, East Falls with a B.S. in Architectural Studies and a minor in Historic Preservation, and I will be continuing at Jefferson for my graduate studies in Historic Preservation. Previous to my education here in Philadelphia, I served four years in the U. S. Air Force as an aircraft hydraulics mechanic in New Mexico. My internship at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia has been a tremendous learning experience for me and I thank everyone at this institution for the opportunity and for the welcoming, friendly atmosphere. 
Jeremiah DiBease is a fourth-year architecture student at Drexel University, and a carpenter’s apprentice. His work at the Athenaeum has included scanning historic photographs and processing archival collections on their way to LIBRA, the University of Pennsylvania’s off-site storage facility.
Athenaeum Library Services
As always, we are purchasing eBooks. Below you will find a list of recent purchases.
Biased Eberhardt, Jennifer L.  
The Bohemians Ohler, Norman 
Courting Mr. Lincoln Bayard, Louis 
The Divinities Bilal, Parker 
Fair Warning Connelly, Michael
The Guest List  Foley, Lucy 
Hieroglyphics McCorkle, Jill 
How Did We Get Here? Dallek, Robert 
I'm Still Here Brown, Austin Channing 
The Last Kings of Shanghai Kaufman, Jonathan 
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Douglass, Frederick ; Gomes, Peter J. ; Stephens, Gregory 
Olive, Again Strout, Elizabeth 
Passing Larsen, Nella 
Sister Dear McKinnon, Hannah Mary 
Stony the Road Gates, Henry Louis 
Their Eyes Were Watching God Hurston, Zora Neale ; Jurskis, Amy 
This Is How I Lied Gudenkauf, Heather 
The Unseeing Mazzola, Anna 
The Wife Stalker Constantine, Liv   
Worst Enemies King, Dana 
Armchair Travel
While many of us are staying at home more this year, the Athenaeum still offers many opportunities for armchair travel. This week let's look at Scotland, and imagine a cool breeze over the Highlands. Here is just a sampling of our holdings to transport you. If you would like to borrow any of the items listed, contact Librarian Jill LeMin Lee ( to arrange for vestibule pickup, or to have the items mailed to you.
Wives of the fishermen Angela Huth.
Bloody Scotland edited by James Crawford. (short stories)
Raven black Ann Cleeves. (+ 7 additional Shetland Islands mysteries )
Sacrifice S.J. Bolton.
The skeleton road Val McDermid
Call the nurse : true stories of a country nurse on a Scottish isle Mary J. MacLeod ; foreword by Lady Claire Macdonald of Macdonald.
Seasons on Harris : a year in Scotland's Outer Hebrides written and illustrated by David Yeadon.
Case histories (ca. 347 min.) Based on the Jackson Brodie novels by Kate Atkinson (Series 2 also available)
Loch Ness (approximately 275 min.)
Shetland. Season one & two (454 min.) based on the novels by Ann Cleeves. (also Shetland Seasons three, four, and five)
The beat goes on : the complete Rebus stories Ian Rankin (16 audio discs (20.5 hr.)
For assistance with eBooks, contact Lois Reibach ( ) .
When the Devil Drives Brookmyre, Christopher
Where the Bodies Are Buried Brookmyre, Christopher
Athenaeum Events
While our Speaker Series takes its summer vacation, why not listen to an Athenaeum Podcast you may have missed? The full list of podcasts can be found here . And stay tuned, we will have more webinars coming in the fall!
"The Book of Job, God on Trial" with Steven Weitzman
From May 13, 2019

Whoever wrote the book of Job did something so daring that it feels blasphemous to this day--he put God on trial. What was the charge? That the "Judge of all the earth," as God is referred to in Genesis, is himself unjust, that he conspires in allowing bad things to happen to good people. In this talk, we will explore Job's indictment of God--and God's efforts to defend himself—and will ask whether God is guilty as charged or not. Along the way, we will consider other biblical and post-biblical attempts to understand why God allows evil and suffering in the universe that is supposed to be fundamentally good.
From October 24, 2019

In this warmly felt tale of an American family’s fortunes, journalist Janny Scott excavates the rarefied world that shaped her charming, unknowable father, Robert Montgomery Scott, and provides an incisive look at the weight of inheritance, the tenacity of addiction, and the power of buried secrets. 
Circe with Madeline Miller
From May 23, 2019

In Homer’s Odyssey , Circe is a witch who turns Odysseus’ men into pigs. She’s long been remembered as a villain, but in Homer her portrait is much more nuanced than that. Madeline Miller talks about Circe’s long literary history, and what inspired her own interpretation of Western Literature’s first witch. Miller will also touch on other famous characters who make an appearance in her novels, including Odysseus and Penelope.
While I am on vacation until Monday, August 3, our staff is still available via email to help you with your needs or questions. 
Wishing each of you well as we finish up July.
In joy, hope, health, and peace,
Beth Shalom Hessel
Executive Director