Episode 25 of Cloister Talk Live!, “Dr. Franklin’s Library: A Conversation with James N. Green, Librarian Emeritus of the Library Company of Philadelphia,” Explores One of the United States’ Most Distinguished and Historic Libraries
Founded by Benjamin Franklin, the Library Company of Philadelphia is the thriving epicenter of early American book history, and the inspiration of librarianship in America. James N. Green, Librarian Emeritus of the Library Company and a scholar of early American book history, introduces us to the history of the Library Company, the contours of its Pennsylvania German collections, and possible futures for the fields of material texts, Pennsylvania German studies, and cultural heritage preservation broadly conceived.
Sharing personal memories of his long and distinguished career in librarianship and the scholarly study of the history of material texts, in this Cloister Talk interview Green also reflects on the unique library ecosystem that defines the Philadelphia region, the foundation of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL), and the evolving civic role of libraries.
Listen to “Cloister Talk Live! Dr. Franklin’s Library: A Conversation with James N. Green, Librarian Emeritus of the Library Company of Philadelphia” here:
Episode 24 of Cloister Talk Live!, “A Mystical Heritage: A Conversation with Allen Viehmeyer and Candace Perry of the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center,” Examines One of Pennsylvania’s Most Fascinating Spiritualist Communities
Das erste Teil der geistlichen Gesenge /von den wercken Jhesu Christi: und erstlich Von seiner gnad-reichen zukunfft und heiligen Menschwerdung. 1566. This volume has a Schwenkfelder provenance, having been inscribed by Maria Hübner in 1794. VR12-8 / L2004.0999.311. Courtesy of the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center, Pennsburg, Pennsylvania.
Mysticism is a central (if complex, debated, and often misconstrued) part of the religious DNA of early German Pennsylvania. The theology and devotional practice of the Schwenkfelders—a German-speaking sectarian group present in the colony—connected to early modern European mystical tradition in important ways, and the religious community practiced a rich manuscript tradition. This episode of Cloister Talk Live! takes us to the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center to dive into the Library’s astounding rare book, manuscript, and decorative-art collections. Curators and scholars Candace Perry and Allen Viehmeyer introduce us to the institution’s holdings, consider how they relate to the material culture of other Pennsylvania German groups, summarize the state of Schwenkfelder studies today, and suggest new directions for the field.
Listen to “Cloister Talk Live! A Mystical Heritage: A Conversation with Allen Viehmeyer and Candace Perry of the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center” here:
Episode 23 of Cloister Talk Live!, “Incense Hill: A Conversation with Kerry Mohn and Michael Showalter of Historic Ephrata Cloister,” Explores Early Pennsylvania’s Radical Religious Heritage
Few landmarks of early Pennsylvania history inspire awe and capture the imagination quite like Historic Ephrata Cloister in Lancaster County—a place of architectural beauty, spiritual devotion, mystical exploration, musical accomplishment, and tremendous historical significance to early-American book production and the manuscript arts. My trips to Ephrata over the years have been pivotal in shaping my perspectives on the research questions I explore in The Word in the Wilderness: Popular Piety and the Manuscript Arts in Early Pennsylvania, so I am delighted to have been able to make this thought-provoking conversation a part of Cloister Talk Live!
In this episode, Ephrata Curator Kerry Mohn and Museum Educator Michael Showalter guide us through the history and significance of Ephrata and help us place the site within the wider context of early American religion and material culture, with a particular focus on Ephrata’s musical culture.
Listen to “Cloister Talk Live! Incense Hill: A Conversation with Kerry Mohn and Michael Showalter of Historic Ephrata Cloister” here:
Nestled amid the rolling hills and verdant landscape of the Brandywine River Valley in Delaware, The Winterthur Library brims with rare books and manuscripts documenting material life in America, including early German Pennsylvania. Join Emily Guthrie, who until recently served as Director and NEH Librarian at The Winterthur Library, for a conversation about this remarkable repository of American history and culture, and how The Winterthur Library fits into the work of the Winterthur Museum and its surrounding 1,000-acre country estate. Ms. Guthrie, who recently took over as Librarian at the Library Company of Philadelphia, introduces us to the rich collections of Pennsylvania German rare books and manuscripts that reside in The Winterthur Library and tells us about her old side-gig as a shepherd and goatherd on the Winterthur estate.
Well-known as one of the most prominent cultural institutions specializing in American history, the Winterthur Museum, Garden, & Library comes to life in dynamic new ways in this special episode of Cloister Talk Live! Listen to the episode here: