The latest Featured Books Display in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center spotlights the City of Brotherly Love. “We have new students who’ve never been to Philadelphia and returning students who haven’t ventured off campus,” explains Eileen Kelly, Head of Collection Management. “The holdings we’ve selected are meant to encourage exploration and appreciation.”
Selected holdings highlight local luminaries, from feminist art icon Alice Neel (1991) to architect Edmund Bacon (2009), the “Father of Modern Philadelphia,” to world-renowned opera singer and civil rights heroine Marian Anderson (2002). “We also wanted to celebrate Philadelphia’s writers,” says Kelly. Hometown titles include Edgar Huntly or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker (1799; 2018) by Charles Brockden Brown (whom, Kelly notes, is “considered one of the first truly American writers”); David Goodis’s noir classic The Blonde on the Street Corner (1954; 1997); and the historical novel Lazaretto (2016) by Diane McKinney-Whetstone, a professor in Penn’s Department of English.
As with every Featured Books Display, the signage reflects Brown’s graphic design background. The image advertising this month’s exhibit is an early map of Philadelphia that was cribbed from an edition of Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography and then run through a filter “to make it look even grittier,” Brown explains. Those familiar with the city might note that some of the street names appear to be inaccurate; in fact, these “odonymic” discrepancies are a matter of Philly’s street names having changed over time.
Featured Books: Philadelphia will be available for patron perusal for six weeks. The next display, premiering in early October, will be Science Fiction-themed.