Archives Month: Hagley Open House

[Posted on behalf of Hillary Kativa]


On October 8th, the Hagley Library invited visitors to explore the history of American business, technology, and innovation with document displays and behind-the-scenes tours in honor of American Archives Month. Located at the historic DuPont powder yards on the banks of the Brandywine, the Hagley Library is home to a wealth of manuscript and archival collections, published volumes, and audiovisual materials and a selection of materials curated by Hagley staff underscored the breadth of the library’s collections. Highlights included a puzzle commemorating the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, trade ephemera featuring “Reddy Kilowatt” (branding character and corporate spokesman for electricity generation), and a WWII-era propaganda poster warning that worker absenteeism “makes Hitler’s heart grow fonder.”


In addition to the document display, visitors enjoyed special behind-the-scenes tours that offered snapshots of Hagley’s assorted storage areas and conservation laboratory. The rare book stacks provided a glimpse at Hagley’s oldest volume (a 1485 treatise on French gardening), as well as a pamphlet on newly-invented Pennsylvanian fire places signed by Benjamin Franklin. Staff also recounted their efforts to digitize Hagley’s collections (15 terabytes and counting!) and discussed the library’s web archiving program, which Library Director Erik Rau characterized as the 21st-century version of collecting trade literature and ephemera.

obsolete media on display

Couldn’t make Saturday’s open house? Check out more materials from the Hagley Library and other participating institutions at our “Food from the Archives” event on October 27th at the Free Library’s Culinary Literacy Center. For more info, visit  

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