Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries
c/o The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia PA 19107
(215) 985-1445 voice, (215) 985-1446 fax *
About | Member Profiles | Member Resources | Catalogs | Projects | What's New | Exhibitions and Programs | Shopping | Contact PACSCL | HOME


One Book, One PhiladelphiaOne Book, One Philadelphia
The Price of a Child, by Lorene Cary

A city-wide celebration of reading
February 7- April 12, 2003

Price of a Child coverThis winter and spring, all of Philadelphia will be reading and discussing author Lorene Cary's The Price of a Child, a novel set in antebellum Philadelphia and inspired by the true story of escaped slave Jane Johnson and members of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society.

In researching her novel, Cary drew on the historical collections of PACSCL member libraries, especially the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and The Library Company of Philadelphia. In celebrating One Book, One Philadelphia's use of the drama of history to encourage reflection about our past and the issues that both unite and divide us, PACSCL is developing an online guide to related resources and events in member libraries. This page is a work in progress -- to receive periodic updates, send e-mail to

PACSCL Member Online Resources (check back for new entries):

Other PACSCL Member Collection Resources

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust St., Philadelphia
The papers of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania span the years 1748-1979. They include records of manumissions and indentures, as well as "Journal C of Station No. 2 of the Underground Railroad," William Still, agent, 1852-1857. This journal of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society is a day-to-day record of its Vigilance Committee's activity, including accounts of fugitive slaves passing through Philadelphia. The PAS papers are available on microfilm. More information about the PAS papers can be found on the Society's website:

Swarthmore College, Friends Historical Library.
"Quakers were heavily involved in the anti-slavery movement, and we have a number of collections that tie in directly to the book. We have letters and photographs of William Still, photographs and pamphlets concerning Passmore Williamson; one of the characters refers to attending the Institute for Colored Youth (we hold the records of that institution-- a Quaker founded and supported institution, later turned over to public control, and now known as Cheyney University); we have a manscript census of the African-American population of Philadelphia compiled by Quakers in 1847-- an extremely detailed look at every household in the city-- occupations, educational levels, wages, property ownership, former condition of servitude. We are currently working on a data base of the census and will make it available to the public on-line." -- Christopher Densmore, curator. Visit the library online at -- the "online resources" link at the left leads to considerable material about the Underground Railroad and related topics.

Temple University Library, Charles Blockson Collection and Urban Archives.
The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection is one of the nation's leading research facilities for the study of the history and culture of people of African descent. The core collection was donated to Temple University in 1983 by Charles L. Blockson, a Pennsylvania bibliophile and collector of Afro-Americana. As a major research facility, it provides materials, expository programs and service for Black Studies research scholars. The collection is used by a wide spectrum of researchers ranging from high school students to well-established scholars. The Urban Archives was established in 1967 to document the social, economic, and physical development of the Philadelphia area from the mid-19th century to the present. The Archives functions as a repository for organizational records and related materials, and as a research facility for those interested in urban studies. The Archives collections are particularly strong in areas involving social service organizations, unions, housing development, community organizations, and contain many records from organizations involved with African Americans, education, and crime.The Archives website includes The PACSCL Photograph Directory and the Directory of African American Collections, guides produced by the Urban Archives as grant projects. These guides contain descriptions of photographic and African American collections which are mostly located at institutions other than the Urban Archives.[website]

Other Online Resources:

Member Exhibitions and Events:

  • February 1-28. Exhibit. "The Price of A Child: Images and Documents." Swarthmore College Library, Friends Historical Library.
    Original images and documents concerning individuals and organizations included in Lorene Carey's The Price of a Child, including William Still, Passmore Williamson, Lucretia Mott, the Institute for Colored Youth and the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society; also on display, the 1847 manuscript census of the African-American population of Philadelphia. Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. [website]
  • Through March 2003. Exhibit. "First Person: Individual Lives in Historical Perspective." Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
    Drawing on diaries, letters, photographs, prints, scrapbooks, personal documents, and published biographies, this exhibit considers how the stories of individual lives illuminate and reflect larger historical themes and realities. Many of the collections displayed contrast the life stories of “great Americans” like George Washington with those of less mythologized people. Included are the stories of Philadelphia community leaders, women, and African Americans, as well as the ways in which individuals and families preserve and present their own histories through genealogy and memoirs.Admission $1.00. [website]
  • Through March 2003. Exhibit. "'Am I Not a Man and a Brother?' Decorative Arts of the Antislavery Movement." Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library.
    Discover how the decorative arts were used to convey the horrors of slavery and promote the cause of abolition. “Am I Not a Man and a Brother?” Decorative Arts of the Antislavery Movement, on display in the Galleries, showcases textiles, ceramics, prints, and other objects from the early 1800s that depict images of enslaved Africans. Such items were used in the ongoing campaign against slavery and the slave trade. This small but highly focused exhibition presents us with some of the most important images from the Abolitionist Movement. Included with Estate Passport, Members free. [website]
  • February 15, 7:30 p.m. Lecture. "The Quaker Connection: Documenting the Underground Railroad at Friends Historical Library." Swarthmore College Library, Friends Historical Library.
    Curator Christopher Densmore explores the holdings of Friends Historical Library relating to the people and organizations that form the background to The Price of a Child. [website]
  • February 19, 1:30 p.m. "Campus Tour: Swarthmore College's Underground Railroad Connections." Swarthmore College Library, Friends Historical Library.
    A forty-five minute walking tour of the Swarthmore Campus, with commentary on early founders and faculty of Swarthmore College who were involved in the Underground Railroad and the Anti-Slavery Movement. [website]
  • February 20-22. "The Intellectual History of Reconstruction" is the topic for the three-day, FREE symposium sponsored by the Southern Intellectual History Circle, Events will take place at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, unless otherwise noted. The attached program will detail specific days, times, and presenters. [program -- in Adobe Acrobat format]
  • March 31. The Author and the Librarian. Lorene Cary reads from The Price of a Child and The Library Company's Phil Lapsansky discusses finding the real-life story of Jane Johnson in the library's rare books and manuscripts. Sponsored by the South of South Neighborhood Assocation. St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 1831 Bainbridge Street, 7:30p.m. [website]
  • April 2. Mercer Gray's Philadelphia: A Workshop for Educators with Lorene Carey.
    Share historic materials related to the ethnic and racial diversity of antebellum Philadelphia. 4:30 p.m. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Call 215-732-6200 to register. [website]
  • April 8. One Book, One Philadelphia Town Meeting. Free Library of Philadephia, Central Library, Montgomery Auditorium 7:00 p.m. . The Penn Humanities Forum celebrates One Book, One Philadelphia in a special town meeting with Mayor John Street, The Price of a Child author Lorene Cary, Penn scholars and others.
  • April 9. Building The Price of a Child with Lorene Cary. Lorene Cary's The Price of a Child follows one woman's escape from slavery into this city's complex social world, c. 1855. Join the author as she discusses the meticulous research underlying her reconstruction of nineteenth-century Philadelphia, particularly those facts -- about race relations, economics and daily life -- that might seem stranger than fiction. Featuring historical materials from PACSCL member collections. Rosenbach Museum & Library, 7:30 p.m. Free with admission. [website]

One Book, One Philadelphia is a project of the Free Library of Philadelphia (a PACSCL member), the Office of the Mayor, and many community partners.



About | Member Profiles | Member Resources | Catalogs | Projects | What's New | Exhibitions and Programs
Shopping | Contact PACSCL

Site contents copyright 1995-2003 PACSCL except as herein indicated. PACSCL is a nonprofit educational corporation with 501(c)(3) designation.