Face-to-Face Photos of Keith's Philadelphians - Atlas Obscura

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Face-to-Face Photos of Keith's Philadelphians

Tour an archive showcasing Philadelphians working, playing, and living life on their stoops and streets as photographed nearly a century ago by John Frank Keith.

Join Atlas Obscura for an intimate evening at The Library Company of Philadelphia to get a closer look at John Frank Keith’s photographic portraits. This rare collection of 250 images is now housed at the Library Company of Philadelphia, America’s first successful lending library and oldest cultural institution.

Throughout the early 20th century, legendary photographer John Frank Keith navigated the South Philly and Kensington neighborhoods, capturing friends, families, and individuals he encountered on the stoops and streets. His work offered a one-of-a-kind look at a cross-section of Philadelphians from this period.

In this exclusive evening event, Linda August, reference librarian and curator of art and artifacts, will greet us with an introduction to the library and a curator's tour of their current exhibition, Stylish Books: Designing Philadelphia Furniture.

The evening continues with a collection review and presentation of John Frank Keith's photographs by curator of prints and photographs, Sarah Weatherwax. We’ll learn about the photographer, and how the photographs came to the Library decades after his death, and get a closer up look of Keith’s original photographs. 

About the Library Company

In the Library Company’s history, it has the distinction of many firsts: the first public library; the first Library of Congress; and until 1850, the largest public library in America. Most of the books the Library acquired year by year over more than two and a half centuries are still on its shelves, along with many others added since it was transformed into a research library in the 1950s.


Email John Pettit at john.pettit@atlasobscura.com.

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Advance ticket sales only. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.