THE ATHENAEUM BULLETIN
Dear Friends,

I am writing to you from my makeshift home office on a rainy Monday. Spouse is working in our study and the children are following their “Coronavirus Daily School Schedules” during their 3rd week out of school. My thoughts are with each and every one of you. Whether you are following Mayor Kenney’s orders to “shelter-in-place” in Philadelphia or practicing social distancing in the suburbs or distant climes, may you each remain safe, healthy, and sane. Take walks; practice yoga or meditation; read books, listen to podcasts, or watch shows that make you laugh, stretch your brain muscles, bring you hope; and make use of the wonderful technology we now have to maintain close contact with loved ones.
 
Our staff at the Athenaeum: Bruce, Lois, Denise, Mike, Jim, Jill, Lou, Tess, Gabrielle, and I have been sharing ideas for our first weekly email to you. Below you will find suggestions for “something new” for every day this week. 
Our new mode of All Staff Meetings!

This week, we will celebrate the final week of
Women’s History Month...
Monday, March 23, 2020: Grab a Mystery by or about Women

Lois Reibach, our Bibliographer reports: 

I prefer reading crime fiction, in all its variations. Some of my recent favorite reads that are available in our ebooks collection are :

One Night Gone
T ara Laskowski
The Lucky One
The Better Sister
Safe Houses
Dan Fesperman
The Last Widow
Karin Slaughter
I prefer reading on my Kindle as I have arthritis in my hands. Here is a recent photo of my favorite reading position.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020: She Came to Slay

Tess Galen, our Events Coordinator, suggests:
I am currently reading She Came to Slay by Eric Armstrong Dunbar. Dunbar won the Athenaeum Literary Award in 2017 for her book  Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave. She Came to Slay takes a look at one of America's most famous heroines, Harriet Tubman. This book is a simpler approach to a complex topic, perfect for when I have extra time on my hands, but am not in the mindset for a deep dive. Between chapters, I'm baking, listening to podcasts, and trying to stay out of my husband’s way! 

Listen to Dunbar's 2018 Athenaeum lecture on our website here .

For further learning, the recent film Harriet is streaming online!
Wednesday, March 25, 2020: Little Women

After seeing Greta Gerwig’s 2019 version of Little Women with my daughter, we decided to read again Louisa May Alcott’s enduring masterpiece from 1868. We are reading my much-loved copy gifted to me on my 9 th birthday:
PBS has a nice article about adaptations of  Little Women:   https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/specialfeatures/little-women-adaptations/#

Pick up a copy of the book and then watch an adaptation of it. Let me know if you’d like to take the challenge and watch them all. We can create a book/adaptation chat group online!


If you want to dig in a little, The New Yorker has a great piece by Pace University professor Sarah Blackwood on the role of Marmee in Little Women:
Thursday, March 26, 2020: Memoir-Writing by Strong Women

Perhaps you are in Concha Alborg’s memoir-writing class, or have it on your mind to record some stories about your life. Learn from some masterful storytellers by listening to these fantastic podcasts of author talks at the Athenaeum to learn from some masterful story-tellers:  


Friday, March 27, 2020: Women who Cook

Throughout history, women have nourished families, friends, colleagues, and neighbors. Their meals have set the place for conversations among heads of state, revolutionaries, and entrepreneurs, and nursed ailing patients to health. We recognize the contribution made by millions of nameless women to gastronomy by looking at recipes today. Cooking and baking are also great ways to embrace our creativity and release stress. Plan some adventurous or comforting meals for your weekend today!

This handwritten recipe book comes from the Robert L. M. Camden Collection at The Athenaeum of Philadelphia.* Librarian Jill LeMin Lee is transcribing the recipes; if you are able to parse them out, we invite you to try one or a few, for such late-19 th century delights as Snowball Pudding, Snow Pudding, German puffs, Donuts, Crullers, Corn Bread, Pies, Lemon Cream Pie, Chili Sauce, Chow-Chow, Rolls, Sally Lunn, Cucumber Sauce, Veal Stew, Spanish Stew, Baked Shad, Hamburg Steak, Pocketbook Biscuit, Mock Duck, Scalloped Mutton, Brown Betty, English Plum Pudding, Lemon Pie, Cream Pie, Green Tomatoe (sic) Pie, Floating Islands, Russian Cream, Velvet Blanc Mange, Ginger snaps, Gingerbread, and more. (are you salivating yet?!)

You can access it here .

*The Camden Collection consists of the artwork and personal materials of artist and graphic designer Robert L. M. Camden (1855-1922). It includes drawings, prints, photographs, and manuscripts. Examples of his work include cigar box designs, notepad covers, lettering and company logos. For most of his career, Camden worked as a solo artist and illustrator based in Philadelphia. In 1887, he briefly partnered with René Théophile de Quélin as "Camden & Quelin Artists, Designers & Illustrators."
Saturday, March 28, 2020: Women & World War II

Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach was a big hit in 2017. The historical-fiction novel traces the story of character Anna Kerrigan who becomes the first female diver at the Brooklyn Naval Yard in WWII. An excellent read, you can also listen to the podcast from Egan’s author talk at the Athenaeum:

Jennifer Egan; Manhattan Beach
On behalf of all of the staff, we hope that you have enjoyed this first week of Brain Treats. Next week, we will focus on one of the Athenaeum’s strengths – architecture and preservation.

I invite you to share your ideas with me for future issues ( bhessel@philaathenaeum.org ). Please email me to let me know how you are doing, as well. We are all anxious for your health!

Wishing you joy, hope, and health,

Beth, Tess, Gabrielle, Jill, Lois, Bruce, Denise, Mike, Jim, and Lou