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Rare Book Department, Philadelphia

Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia , Pennsylvania
Tel: 215 686 5416
view web site ›'s insider take:

More than 4,000 years of the written word are represented in the Rare Book Department at the Free Library of Philadelphia. The comprehensive collection ranges from Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets (dating from 3000 B.C. to 300 B.C.) and illuminated manuscripts to children's classics. (The Sumerian tablets can only be seen on a guided tour, which take place Monday through Friday at 11 a.m.) The centerpiece is the Elkins Room, a 62-foot-long paneled Georgian library room that was removed from the Main Line estate of industrialist William McIntire Elkins and installed in 1949. It contains Charles Dickens memorabilia and Elkins's literary collection.

Open Mondays through Fridays 9 am to 5 pm.

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