LCP Podcasts



The mission of the Library Company is to preserve, interpret, make available, and augment the valuable materials in our care. We serve a diverse constituency throughout Philadelphia and internationally, offering comprehensive reader services, an internationally renowned fellowship program, online catalogs, and regular exhibitions and public programs. This podcast features our public programs.


  • Picturing Women: The Visual Politics of the Woman Suffrage Movement


    (February 28, 2013)This talk by 2012 - 2013 William H. Helfand Visual Culture Fellow Allison Lange discussed how images became powerful political tools for suffragists and their opponents, and the ways in which reformers used pictures to transform conceptions of gender and reimagine womanhood during the nineteenth century.Audio Download (MP3)

  • Understanding the Pennsylvania Railroad


    Contemporary Photographs in Response to the Historic Works of William H. RauMichael FroioThursday, March 7, 2013 This lecture by Michael Froio looks at W. H. Rau's 1890s photographs of the Pennsylvania Railroad and explores their importance to his project to photographically document the former PRR Main Line. Froio  also investigates the importance of dialog between historic and contemporary photographs.  Audio Download (MP3) - LectureAdobe PDF Document - Slides

  • How to See a Story: Representations for Children in Nineteenth-Century American Visual Culture


    (April 12, 2012)Visual Culture Program Fellow Catherine Walsh discussed the ways in which children learned to construct visual narratives by thinking about a variety of sources, including textbooks, primers and readers, illustrated magazines, toys, and games.  The goal is to begin to understand how visual education informed one's experience of genre paintings and illustrations, both as a child and later in life.Audio (MP3)Slides (PDF)

  • Audio Tour of "“Building a City of the Dead: The Creation and Expansion of Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill Cemetery” by Curator Aaron Wunsch


    Laurel Hill Cemetery is among the most celebrated – and most densely populated – swaths of Greater Philadelphia. Beneath seventy-eight acres of lawn, trees, and monuments lie some 70,000 bodies – a sprawling and silent subdivision that took shape over nearly two centuries. Today's expanses of stone and sod testify to the success of the original vision while making it hard to decipher.Listen to Curator Aaron Wunsch's audio tour of the gallery exhibition: the corresponding PowerPoint here: or follow along while browsing the online exhibition:

  • Thomas Slaughter, The Beautiful Soul of John Woolman


    (October 14, 2008)Audio Download (MP3) John Woolman (1720-1772), a Quaker tailor from New Jersey, had an extraordinary commitment to attaining self-purification through the rejection of slavery, war taxes, and rampant consumerism. Though not a famous politician, his persuasive ideals influenced the likes of fellow Quakers, social reformers, labor organizers, and peace advocates. Through Woolman’s essays and Journal, first published in 1774, historian Thomas P. Slaughter illuminates Woolman’s transformation from a humble idealist to a prophetic voice for the Anglo-American world.

  • Christopher Looby, "The Paradox of Philadelphia Gothic"


    (October 29, 2008) Audio Download (MP3) In the first half of the 19th century, Philadelphia spawned a literary tradition of Lurid Crime, Weird Hallucination, Brooding Supernatural, and Sheer Horror - largely the work of three forgotten novelists. This exhibition resuscitates Charles Brockden Brown, Robert Montgomery Bird, and George Lippard through early editions of their works and oil portraits never before exhibited, and puts them in the company of Edgar Allan Poe, who absorbed their themes and obsessions while he lived in Philadelphia - the birthplace of the Gothic tradition in American literature. Speaker: Christopher Looby, Professor of English, University of California at Los Angeles.

  • Maurice Jackson: Let This Voice Be Heard: Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism


    (February 5, 2009) Audio Download (MP3) In celebration of Black History Month, the Library Company’s Program in African American History and the University of Pennsylvania Press present Maurice Jackson, Assistant Professor of History at Georgetown University, to discuss his new biography of the man who led Quaker antislavery sentiment into a broad-based transatlantic movement.

  • Ed Pettit, the “Philly Poe Guy”: Edgar Allan Poe and the Philadelphia Gothic Tradition


    (February 19, 2009)Audio Download (MP3) An intriguing glance into the world of Philadelphia Gothic literature, where writers such as Charles Brockden Brown, George Lippard, Robert Montgomery Bird, and Edgar Allan Poe flourished. Ed Pettit, a freelance writer, book reviewer and literary provocateur, will examine the connections these writers had with one another and reveal how Philadelphia Gothic became one of the most influential sub-genres in American Literary History.Presented in conjunction with the Library Company’s exhibition Philadelphia Gothic: Murders, Mysteries, Monsters, and Mayhem Inspire American Fiction, 1798-1854.

  • The Women of the Republican Court Revisited


    (March 11, 2009) Audio Download (MP3) An evening event in the spirit of Martha Washington! As part of the Library Company's Visual Culture Program, Curator of Women's History Cornelia King brings to lfe the women depicted in Daniel Huntington's painting The Republican Court; or, Lady Washington's Reception Day (1861). The group portrait includes Martha Washington, Dolley Madison, Anne Willing Bingham, Harriet Chew Carroll, and many others who had public roles in the 1790s, when Philadelphia was the nation's capital. The image captures a nostalgic understanding of the early years of the country, and continues to stimulate interest in women's public roles in early American history. This Women's History Month event also celebrates the publication of Re-framing Representations of Women, edited by Susan Shifrin, whose "Picturing Women" exhibition inspired us to study the portraiture of these remarkable women. Co-sponsored by Bryn Mawr College and [email protected]

  • Clash of Extremes: The Economic Origins of the Civil War


    (March 19, 2009)Audio Download (MP3) Author Marc Egnal challenges the orthodoxy that the Civil War began for moral reasons, contending that more than any other concern, the evolution of the Northern and Southern economies explains the sectional clash. Egnal is Professor of History at York University and the author of several books, including A Mighty Empire: The Origins of the American Revolution.

  • Peter Collinson and the Eighteenth-Century Natural History Exchange


    (April 15, 2009)Audio Download (MP3)Corresponding Slides (PDF)Elizabeth P. McLean, garden historian and Library Company Trustee (and former President), speaks about her new biography of Peter Collinson, co-authored by Jean O’Neill. Collinson -- a London Quaker, a draper by trade, and a passionate gardener and naturalist by avocation -- was a facilitator in natural science, disseminating botanical and horticultural knowledge. He found clients for the Philadelphia Quaker farmer and naturalist John Bartram at a time when the English landscape was evolving to emphasize trees and shrubs, and the more exotic the better. Thus, American plants came to populate great British estates as well as the Chelsea Physic Garden. Collinson was a member of the Royal Society who encouraged Franklin’s electrical experiments and had the results published, he corresponded about myriad natural phenomena, and he was ahead of his time in understanding the extinction of animals and the migration of bi

  • LCP 2009 Annual Meeting


    (May 12, 2009)Audio Download (MP3)

  • Juneteenth Freedom Forum


    (June 19, 2009)Audio Download (MP3)This Juneteenth Freedom Forum event featured three area scholars discussing the African American struggle for freedom in the era of the Civil War and beyond.Dr. Robert Francis Engs, Professor of History (retired) University of Pennsylvania, “Who Freed the Slaves? The black Revolutionary Struggle for Freedom.”Dr. Elizabeth Varon, Professor of History and Associate Director, Center for the Humanities, Temple University, “From Appomattox to Juneteenth: Lee’s Defeat and the End of Slavery.”Dr. Randall M. Miller, Professor of History, St. Joseph’s University, “Juneteenth, Before and After: African American Freedom Celebrations, Historical Memory, and Contemporary Activism.”

  • Talk by Leo Damrosch, the Ernest Bernbaum, Professor of Literature at Harvard University, on “Tocqueville’s Discovery of America.”


    (May 11, 2010) Audio Download (MP3)Alexis de Tocqueville is more quoted than read; commentators across the political spectrum invoke him as an oracle who defined America and its democracy for all times. But in fact his masterpiece, Democracy in America, was the product of a young man’s open-minded experience of America at a time of rapid change. In Tocqueville’s Discovery of America, Damrosch shows that Tocqueville found much to admire in the dynamism of Americansociety and in its egalitarian ideals. But he was offended by the ethos of grasping materialism and was convinced that the institution of slavery was bound to give rise to a tragic civil war. Drawing on documents and letters that have never before appeared in English, as well as on a wide range of scholarship, Tocqueville’s Discovery of America brings the man, his ideas, and his world to startling life.

  • Juneteenth 2010 Panel Discussion: The President's House Slave Quarters


    (June 21, 2010) Audio Download (MP3) - Main ProgramAudio Download (MP3) - Audience DiscussionThe Library Company commemorated Juneteenth on June 21, 2010 with a panel discussion on the past eight years of controversy surrounding the discovery of the slave quarters and the nine slaves who served President George Washington at his Philadelphia home at 6th and Market Streets. Introductory remarks by Library Company Director John Van Horne and Curator of African American History Phil Lapsansky; moderated by Linn Washington, journalist with the Philadelphia Tribune; panelists were Edward Lawler, independent scholar; Michael Coard, attorney and founder of ATAC (Avenging the Ancestors Coalition); and Randall M. Miller, professor of history at Saint Joseph’s University. For more information on the President’s House, please visit:

  • Poulsons and Peales at the Library by Carol Soltis


    (October 17, 2011) Audio Download (MP3) - ProgramAdobe PDF Document - SlidesCarol Soltis, Library Company Trustee and Curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Center for American Art, will discuss the work of the artist James Peale, focusing on our recently-acquired portraits of Zachariah and Susannah Knorr Poulson. Co-sponsored by the Center for American Art.