Boston Athenaeum-logo

Boston Athenaeum

Special Interest >

The Boston Athenæum, a membership library, first opened its doors in 1807, and its rich history as a library and cultural institution has been well documented in the annals of Boston’s cultural life. Today, it remains a vibrant and active institution that serves a wide variety of members and scholars. With more than 600,000 titles in its book collection, the Boston Athenæum functions as a public library for many of its members, with a large and distinguished circulating collection, a newspaper and magazine reading room, quiet spaces and rooms for reading and researching, a children’s library, and wireless internet access throughout its building. The Art Department mounts three exhibitions per year in the institution's Norma Jean Calderwood Gallery, rotating selections in the Recent Acquisitions Gallery, and a number of less formal installations in places and cases around the building. The Special Collections resources are world-renowned, and include maps, manuscripts, rare books, and archival materials. Our Conservation Department works to preserve all our collections. Other activities for members and the public include lectures, panel discussions, poetry readings, musical performances, films, and special events, many of which are followed by receptions. Members are able to take advantage of our second- and fifth-floor terraces during fine weather, and to search electronic databases and our digital collections from their homes and offices.

The Boston Athenæum, a membership library, first opened its doors in 1807, and its rich history as a library and cultural institution has been well documented in the annals of Boston’s cultural life. Today, it remains a vibrant and active institution that serves a wide variety of members and scholars. With more than 600,000 titles in its book collection, the Boston Athenæum functions as a public library for many of its members, with a large and distinguished circulating collection, a newspaper and magazine reading room, quiet spaces and rooms for reading and researching, a children’s library, and wireless internet access throughout its building. The Art Department mounts three exhibitions per year in the institution's Norma Jean Calderwood Gallery, rotating selections in the Recent Acquisitions Gallery, and a number of less formal installations in places and cases around the building. The Special Collections resources are world-renowned, and include maps, manuscripts, rare books, and archival materials. Our Conservation Department works to preserve all our collections. Other activities for members and the public include lectures, panel discussions, poetry readings, musical performances, films, and special events, many of which are followed by receptions. Members are able to take advantage of our second- and fifth-floor terraces during fine weather, and to search electronic databases and our digital collections from their homes and offices.
More Information

Location:

Boston, MA

Description:

The Boston Athenæum, a membership library, first opened its doors in 1807, and its rich history as a library and cultural institution has been well documented in the annals of Boston’s cultural life. Today, it remains a vibrant and active institution that serves a wide variety of members and scholars. With more than 600,000 titles in its book collection, the Boston Athenæum functions as a public library for many of its members, with a large and distinguished circulating collection, a newspaper and magazine reading room, quiet spaces and rooms for reading and researching, a children’s library, and wireless internet access throughout its building. The Art Department mounts three exhibitions per year in the institution's Norma Jean Calderwood Gallery, rotating selections in the Recent Acquisitions Gallery, and a number of less formal installations in places and cases around the building. The Special Collections resources are world-renowned, and include maps, manuscripts, rare books, and archival materials. Our Conservation Department works to preserve all our collections. Other activities for members and the public include lectures, panel discussions, poetry readings, musical performances, films, and special events, many of which are followed by receptions. Members are able to take advantage of our second- and fifth-floor terraces during fine weather, and to search electronic databases and our digital collections from their homes and offices.

Language:

English


Episodes

Nathaniel Silver, “Fra Angelico: Heaven on Earth”

4/5/2018
More
March 29, 2018 at the Boston Athenæum. In 1899, Isabella Stewart Gardner acquired the first Fra Angelico painting in America. The exhibition Heaven on Earth at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum reunites for the first time the founder's magnificent Assumption and Dormition of the Virgin with its three companions from the Museo di San Marco, Florence. Conceived as a set of jewel-like reliquaries between 1424 and 1434 for one of the most important churches in Florence, they tell the story...

Duration:00:55:15

Sarah McBride, “Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality”

3/22/2018
More
March 8, 2018 at the Boston Athenæum. In April 2012, when transgender issues had yet to break onto the national scene, Sarah McBride made headlines—and history—when she came out publicly as a transgender woman while serving as American University’s student body president. With a viral Facebook post that announced her identity, she suddenly found herself on the forefront of a movement, fighting for positive change. Since that day in April, Sarah has continued to make history, eventually...

Duration:00:31:19

Joel Richard Paul, “Without Precedent: John Marshall and His Times”

3/12/2018
More
March 5, 2018 at the Boston Athenæum. No member of America's Founding Generation had a greater impact on the Constitution and the Supreme Court than John Marshall, and no one did more to preserve the delicate unity of the fledgling United States. From the nation's founding in 1776 and for the next forty years, Marshall was at the center of every political battle. As Chief Justice of the United States - the longest-serving in history - he established the independence of the judiciary and...

Duration:00:47:42

Giles Milton,Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare:The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler's Defeat

3/2/2018
More
February 28, 2018 at the Boston Athenæum. In the spring of 1939, a top-secret organization was founded in London: its purpose was to plot the destruction of Hitler’s war machine, through spectacular acts of sabotage. The guerrilla campaign that followed was as extraordinary as the six men who directed it. One of them, William Fairbairn, was a portly pensioner with an unusual passion: he was the world’s leading expert in silent killing, hired to train the guerrillas being parachuted behind...

Duration:00:45:40

Robert Shiller, “The Transformation of the American Dream”

3/1/2018
More
February 15, 2018 at the Boston Athenæum. In his 1931 book The Epic of America James Truslow Adams first popularized the concept of the “American Dream" as "being able to grow to fullest development as man and woman, unhampered by the barriers which had slowly been erected in older civilizations." But the meaning of the term changes through time as culture changes, and as opportunists try to redefine to their own advantage. It is this dream which he thought "lured tens of millions of all...

Duration:00:45:22

Martin Puchner, “The Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization”

2/26/2018
More
February 13, 2018 at the Boston Athenæum. In “The Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History”, Martin Puchner tells the story of literature and its power to shape people, civilizations, and world history by exploring sixteen selected key stories from over 4,000 years of world literature. Beginning with the Iliad's influence on Alexander the Great to J. K. Rowling today, Martin Puncher takes us on a remarkable journey through history, as he tells stories of people whose...

Duration:00:41:49

Dr. John A. Buchtel, “A Picture of a Book is Not a Book”

2/15/2018
More
February 7, 2018 at the Boston Athenæum. For two centuries the members and proprietors of the Boston Athenæum have pooled their resources, interests, and expertise to create an extraordinary shared collection of rare books. From a hand-colored copy of the monumental 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle to the imaginative sculptural structures of contemporary book artist Julie Chen, the books in the Athenæum's collection are available to each and every member, as well as to a broader community of...

Duration:00:50:35

Georgia Barnhill, “What Makes Fitz Henry Lane's Lithographs So Special?”

2/15/2018
More
February 6, 2018 at the Boston Athenæum. In this richly illustrated talk, Georgia Barnhill sheds fresh light on the beloved American luminist painter and printmaker Fitz Henry Lane, the subject of her current exhibition, Drawn from Nature & On Stone: The Lithographs of Fitz Henry Lane at the Cape Ann Museum. Barnhill, curator emerita of graphic arts at the American Antiquarian Society, considers Lane’s work within the context of his contemporaries, Benjamin Chimney, Robert Cooke, Benjamin...

Duration:00:52:38

Nancy Koehn, “Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times”

2/2/2018
More
January 29, 2018 at the Boston Athenæum. An enthralling historical narrative filled with critical leadership insights that will be of interest to a wide range of readers—including those in government, business, education, and the arts—Forged in Crisis, by celebrated Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn, spotlights five masters of crisis: polar explorer Ernest Shackleton; President Abraham Lincoln; legendary abolitionist Frederick Douglass; Nazi-resisting clergyman Dietrich...

Duration:00:47:10

Jane Goodrich, “The House at Lobster Cove”

1/30/2018
More
January 25, 2018 at the Boston Athenæum. In The House at Lobster Cove, you see behind the doors of Kragsyde, the famous shingle-style house that once sheltered and shaped the elusive Bostonian George Nixon Black. While Black was probably content to slip away unnoticed, Kragsyde was to have no such fate. Published many times when it was first designed, and adored by architects and scholars ever since, the marvelous and photogenic house has made it impossible for Black to disappear. Using...

Duration:00:36:37

Poets' Theatre, “The New Colossus"

12/22/2017
More
December 13, 2017 at the Boston Athenæum. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” These words have become as well known and as deeply embedded in American patriotic lore as those of the Pledge of Allegiance, the Gettysburg Address, or the Declaration of Independence. But few remember that these lines are excerpted from an 1883 sonnet by American poet Emma Lazarus. Though the lines were meant to interpret the Statue of Liberty, they transformed the...

Duration:00:53:04

David A. Hopkins, “Red Fighting Blue: How Geography and Electoral Rules Polarize American Politics”

12/15/2017
More
December 11, 2017 at the Boston Athenæum. The national electoral map has split into warring regional bastions of Republican red and Democratic blue, producing a deep and enduring partisan divide in American politics. In Red Fighting Blue, David A. Hopkins places the current partisan and electoral era in historical context, explains how the increased salience of social issues since the 1980s has redefined the parties' geographic bases of support, and reveals the critical role that American...

Duration:00:42:29

Keridwen N. Luis, “Naked Among the Karma Eaters: The Body Politics of Women’s Lands”

12/14/2017
More
December 5, 2017 at the Boston Athenæum. At the risk of stating the obvious: we exist in the world in bodies. How our bodies interact in cultural spaces shapes us and shapes our cultural spaces. This talk examines how the "body politics" of women's land—communal living spaces created by and for women—shape individual experiences and larger expectations about gender, race, identity, and virtue. How does nudity change how bodies are perceived and policed? What does being connected to the...

Duration:00:54:04

Maya Jasanoff, “The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World”

12/11/2017
More
December 4, 2017 at the Boston Athenæum. Immigration, terrorism, the dangers of nationalism, the promise and peril of technological innovation: these forces shaped the life and work of Joseph Conrad at the dawn of the twentieth century. Joseph Conrad described the beginnings of globalization as we recognize it today. As an immigrant from Poland to England, and in travels from Malaysia to Congo to the Caribbean, Conrad traced an interconnected world and described it in a literary oeuvre of...

Duration:00:52:52

Laura Cavendish, Countess of Burlington, “House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth”

12/5/2017
More
November 15, 2017 at the Boston Athenæum. Chatsworth has been home to the Cavendish family and the hereditary dukes of Devonshire since the original Elizabethan house was built on the site purchased by Sir William Cavendish in 1549. A famous historic house in England, Chatsworth is renowned as much for its fashionable history—its majestic dresses and tiaras, magnificent lace, and splendid uniforms—as its unrivaled collection of art, palatial gardens, and celebrated family dynasty. From the...

Duration:00:50:36

Stephen Greenblatt, “The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve”

12/4/2017
More
November 14, 2017 at the Boston Athenæum. With the insight, eloquence, and erudition that have thrilled hundreds of thousands of readers of his books about Shakespearean England and the Italian Renaissance, Stephen Greenblatt breathes new life into the ancient story of Adam and Eve. He tracks the story’s origins back into humanity’s deep past and its first written form to the Hebrews’ exile in Babylon. Returning to us a precious cultural inheritance, The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve is an...

Duration:00:47:19

Liza Mundy, “Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II”

12/1/2017
More
November 7, 2017 at the Boston Athenæum. In 1942, reeling from Japan’s devastating surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States military launched a secret program to recruit young, female college graduates to act as code breakers in the newly ramped up war effort. In Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II, award-winning journalist and bestselling author Liza Mundy reveals for the first time the revolutionary achievements and patriotic service...

Duration:00:44:14

Carol Sanger, “About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in Twenty-First-Century America”

11/29/2017
More
November 1, 2017 at the Boston Athenæum. One of the most private decisions a woman can make, abortion is also one of the most contentious topics in American civic life. Protested at rallies and politicized in party platforms, terminating pregnancy is often characterized as a selfish decision by women who put their own interests above those of the fetus. This background of stigma and hostility has stifled women’s willingness to talk about abortion, which in turn distorts public and...

Duration:00:55:38

Helene Atwan, Ladette Randolph, Michael Reynolds, and Meghna Chakrabarti, “Editorial Perspectives”

11/16/2017
More
October 26, 2017 at the Boston Athenæum. For the reader, the world of books may seem a simple one: go to the local library or bookstore, select a title that suits our taste, open, and turn the pages. The story of the editors who shape the works we cherish is rarely told. What choices and challenges do these editors face? How do they perceive themselves and their role in the world today? How does their mission drive the works they publish? Join us for this rare opportunity to spend an...

Duration:00:54:39

Katherine Paterson, “My Brigadista Year”

11/13/2017
More
October 21, 2017 at the Boston Athenæum. In her new historical novel, Katherine Paterson tells a moving coming-of-age story, shedding light on a little-known moment in history. Inspired by true accounts, the narrative follows a Cuban teenager as she volunteers for Fidel Castro’s national literacy campaign and travels into the impoverished countryside to teach others to read, sharing in the danger posed by counterrevolutionaries hiding in the hills nearby. The novel includes an author’s...

Duration:00:39:56

Try Premium for 30 days

Live games for all NFL, MLB, NBA, & NHL teams
Commercial-Free Music
No Display Ads