Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Philadelphia 1865: A City on the Edge

An Illustrated Presentation By

Bruce Laverty, Athenaeum of Philadelphia

Lecture at 6:00 PM

The museum will be open prior to the lecture.

Followed by the Annual Members' Reception

(Free for members, $10 for non-members)

Please Register Here

for the Lecture and the Reception

As part of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Wagner Free Institute's landmark building, Bruce Laverty, Gladys Brooks Curator of Architecture at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, will present an illustrated talk on the Quaker City in this pivotal year.

Enter our 150th Building Anniversary Cake Competition

Entries due by May 8, 2015

Microscopic View of Philadelphia

Chromolithograph by Herline & Co.

Published by John Weik, Philadelphia, 1869

Zebooker Collection, Athenaeum of Philadelphia

In 1865 Philadelphia was a city on the edge; a city on the edge of grief; a city on the edge of growth; and a city on the edge of genius. That year saw Philadelphia’s joy of Northern victory dashed by the overwhelming shock and grief brought on by the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Less acute, but even more sobering, was the growing realization in 1865 that Union victory and the abolition of slavery were by no means the end of race problems in the City of Brotherly Love. In 1865 Philadelphia commenced the most rapid physical growth in its history; by century’s end the built portion of the city had more than doubled in size. Finally, 1865 was the year when the genius of local entrepreneurs, both individually and collectively, through the efforts of scientific, benevolent, and educational associations, achieved the critical mass that launched Philadelphia into modernity.

Bruce Laverty, a life-long resident of Philadelphia and graduate of LaSalle College, has been Curator of Architecture at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia since 1983. He prepared that institution’s first catalog of architectural drawings. During his tenure at the Athenaeum, the architectural collection grew from 30,000 to more than 220,000 drawings and he oversaw the creation of nearly 8,000 Visual Materials records documenting them. He has served as curator for more than a dozen exhibitions at the Athenaeum and in 1998 he received the Preservation Achievement Award for his work as curator, editor and co-author of  “Monument to Philanthropy: The Design and Building of Girard College, 1832-1848."

Since 2000, in addition to his other duties, Mr. Laverty has been Director of the Philadelphia Architects and Buildings Project, a free, on-line database of architectural information and images consulted more than 150,000 times daily. He also serves as project director of the Greater Philadelphia GeoHistory Network, a Mellon Foundation-sponsored project that has digitized and web-mounted more than 5000 historic map and survey images. Mr. Laverty is an adjunct at Drexel University, where he teaches History of Philadelphia Architecture.











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