Everyday Livin’ At The Library Company

May 20, 2013 | by Bradley Maule


John Wanamaker will tell you what he thinks of your request for a refund. | Image: Library Company of Philadelphia

John Wanamaker will tell you what he thinks of your request for a refund. | Image: Library Company of Philadelphia

Calling all collectors and hoarders: your time is now. Tomorrow, actually. With Remnants of Everyday Life: Historical Ephemera in the Workplace, Street, and Home, the Library Company of Philadelphia examines otherwise throwaway items from military recruiting posters and department store handouts to playbills and World’s Fair souvenirs dating from the late 18th century through the mid-20th.

On back order with Hasbro: early 20th century flash card game challenging you to learn Philadelphia architecture | Image: Library Company of Philadelphia

On back order with Hasbro| Image: Library Company of Philadelphia

Curated by Visual Culture Program co-Directors Rachel D’Agostino and Erika Piola, Remnants of Everyday Life draws from the Library Company’s extensive collection of ephemera to visualize the evolution of graphic design, from the workplace, from the street, and from home. Tomorrow’s opening features a talk at 5:45PM on scrapbooking by Dr. Ellen Gruber Garvey, author of Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance.

While the exhibition is not limited to Philadelphiana per se, plenty of Philly objects are on display. Founded here in 1731 by Silence Dogood, the Library Company has maintained an ephemera collection since 1785, when it pooled its resources to preserve Revolutionary War era pamphlets and broadsides. More recently—like, a century ago—this ‘Game of Philadelphia Buildings’ used flash cards to challenge its players to learn Philadelphia architecture.

Remnants of Everyday Life is on display at the Library Company, 1314 Locust Street, and runs through Friday, December 13, 2013. For more info, click HERE.


About the Author

Bradley Maule Bradley Maule is a former co-editor of the Hidden City Daily and the creator of Philly Skyline. He's a native of Tyrone, Pennsylvania, and he's hung his hat in Shippensburg, Germantown, G-Ho, Fishtown, Portland (Oregon), Brewerytown, and now Mt. Airy. He just can't get into Twitter, but he's way into Instagram @mauleofamerica.


  1. I have this “Game of Philadelphia Buildings.” It is a pretty sedate game, but what is intersting is the number of Philadelphia buildings pictured on the cards that still exist!

  2. Nic says:

    @Harry – very jealous. I’ve been looking to add this to my collection.

    Here is a link from the Library Company with all 53 places listed.


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