The Rosenbach’s History and Library

The Rosenbach was added this year to the list of STAMP museums. However, The Rosenbach is not a well known museum right on the Parkway, so I am here today to share with you the magical mystery of The Rosenbach.

Located on one of the stateliest streets in Rittenhouse, The Rosenbach blends into its background on Delancey Street because the library and museum was once  a house. The house belonged to two brothers, Dr A.S.W. Rosenbach and Philip Rosenbach, who were antiques and book dealers. The brothers had their own immense collection and bought and sold art and books for various clients in the first half of the 20th century.

When you go to the Rosenbach, you will wait for a volunteer docent to take you through the house and give you a tour. There is plenty of Philadelphia history hidden inside the townhouse. The Rosenbachs had many connections to wealthy Philadelphians and also had a long history in the Jewish Philadelphia community. The house also has a replication of poet Marianne Moore’s New York apartment on one of the upper floors.

The real treasure of The Rosenbach is its library and impressive archive collection. The Rosenbach brothers were antique and rare book dealers who used to help private individuals develop and build their own private collections. Now, though, The Rosenbachs’ private collection is public. Their collection includes Bram Stoker’s notes for Dracula, letters from the Founding Fathers and Abraham Lincoln, and James Joyce’s Ulysses manuscript. They even allow anybody to access their collections after filling out an appointment request (about 60% of their collection is searchable if you want to find something to see). If you can’t get to the Rosenbach in person though they have some manuscripts online from George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and their physical objects. Hopefully, soon you will be visiting the Rosenbach with your STAMP pass.   

Amelia Dogan is a senior at Penn Charter and a member of the STAMP Teen Council.