Athenaeum of Philadelphia

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Athenaeum of Philadelphia
The Athenaeum.jpg
The Athenaeum of Philadelphia in 2013
Athenaeum of Philadelphia
Location219 S. 6th St.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 39°56′49″N75°09′03″W / 39.946871°N 75.150956°W / 39.946871; -75.150956 Coordinates: 39°56′49″N75°09′03″W / 39.946871°N 75.150956°W / 39.946871; -75.150956
Architect John Notman
Public transit accessAiga bus trans.svg SEPTA.svg SEPTA bus: 9, 21, 42
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Architectural style Italianate
NRHP reference No. 72001144
Significant dates
Added to NRHPFebruary 1, 1972 [1]
Designated NHLDecember 8, 1976 [2]
Staircase in the Athenaeum AthenaeumPhilly.jpg
Staircase in the Athenaeum

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, located at 219 S. 6th Street between St. James Place and Locust Street in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a special collections library and museum founded in 1814 to collect materials "connected with the history and antiquities of America, and the useful arts, and generally to disseminate useful knowledge" for public benefit. [3] The Athenaeum's collections include architecture and interior design history, particularly for the period 1800 to 1945. The institution focuses on the history of American architecture and building technology, and houses architectural archives of 180,000 drawings, over 350,000 photographs, and manuscript holdings of about 1,000 American architects. [3]


Since 1950 the Athenaeum has sponsored the annual Athenaeum Literary Award for works of fiction and non-fiction.

Historic building

The building was designed in 1845 by architect John Notman in the Italianate style, and was one of the first buildings in the city to be built of brownstone, [3] although it was originally planned to be faced in marble – brownstone was used because it was cheaper. [4] Notman's design was influenced by the work of the English architect Charles Barry. [4]

The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976, as one of the nation's first examples of a building with a palazzo-style facade, and for its historic importance as an educational institution. [2] [5] Today, it is operated as a museum furnished with American fine and decorative arts from the first half of the nineteenth century.

On the right of the athenaeum is the house of Richardson Dilworth, the Mayor of Philadelphia from 1956 to 1962.

Athenaeum Literary Award

The Athenaeum Literary Award is a literary award presented by Athenaeum of Philadelphia since 1950. It is awarded to authors who are "bona fide residents of Philadelphia or Pennsylvania living within a radius of 30 miles of City Hall". [6] Eligible works are of general fiction or non-fiction; technical, scientific, and juvenile books are not included. [6] The award was established in 1950 by Charles Wharton Stork (1881–1971), who was a board member of the Athenaeum from 1919 until 1968. [6]


Source: Athenaeum Literary Award previous winners (1949–present) [7]

See also

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  1. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. 1 2 "Athenaeum". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  3. 1 2 3 "Mission and History" Archived 2013-01-07 at the Wayback Machine on the Athenaeum of Philadelphia website
  4. 1 2 Gallery, John Andrew, ed. (2004), Philadelphia Architecture: A Guide to the City (2nd ed.), Philadelphia: Foundation for Architecture, ISBN   0962290815 , p.51
  5. Carolyn Pitts (July 29, 1976). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: the Athenaeum of Philadelphia" (pdf). National Park Service. and Accompanying 6 photos, exterior and interior, from 1951, 1971, and undated  (32 KB)
  6. 1 2 3 Athenaeum Literary Award Archived 2011-05-22 at the Wayback Machine , official website.
  7. "Athenaeum Literary Award previous winners (1949-present)". Athenaeum of Philadelphia. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved December 25, 2017.