Extra Credit Episode 002

For the extra credit assignment, I listened to Episode 002: Cornelia King, Chief of Reference at the Library Company of Philadelphia. In this episode, Liz Covart talks to Cornelia King, who is the Chief of Reference at The Library Company of Philadelphia. Cornelia discusses her job duties such as acquiring and cataloging materials, and setting up different exhibitions. The main gallery at the Library Company, changes twice a year, and takes more than a year to prepare. There are other smaller spaces, which change more frequently and are set up for conferences or events. In addition to the smaller spaces, there are also exhibitions that are only online, which allows the library to display items that would usually not make it into an exhibition. King states that the library’s main goal is to educate the public about early American History and to put items in the exhibitions that people can relate to and are familiar with. When this episode was released in 2014, the Library had just opened an exhibition called “That’s So Gay: Outing Early America”. In this exhibit she has different artifacts to represent the gay culture during 19th century America

Something that I learned from this podcast was “David and Johnathan relationships”. This term comes from the bible in which David and Johnathan had a relationship in which David loved Johnathan, more than women. This was then to describe close relationships between two men, even if they were not romantically involved. I have never heard of this term before, and I thought it was interesting and could help me understand parts of my sexuality and gender class.

During the episode, King talks about some of the public’s favorite exhibitions. The temperance movement, and economic/society are some of the most talked about subjects in relation to early American History. I can see why these are favored among the public because they are relatable and their influence can still be seen today. Alcohol consumption is still a huge problem in America today, such as alcohol addiction and alcohol related crimes. As for economic/society in early America, I think people find it interesting to look back at the past, such as the decisions and policies that were in place and compare them to modern times to see how far we have come. She also relates this topic to what we are learning in class, when she mentions the innovations regarding printing arts such as photography, and printing books and newspapers. It is amazing to see how far we have come since the 19th century, and how technology continues to shape our lives, such as how photography and print shaped the people of early America.

I thought that exhibit “That’s So Gay: Outing Early America” seemed very cool and I wish that I had a chance to see it. I am learning about the sexuality of Early America in my history of gender and sexuality class, and I feel that a lot of people do not realize that different sexual preferences existed so long ago and in fact, it is not really a modern subject. As King states, although there were no terms relating to LGBT communities, books and poems had their own language when describing or writing about such topics. It was amazing to me that King also said that there are so many novels that depict the LGBT community, and that it was a struggle for her to leave some of them out of the exhibition. It is amazing in how influential and telling a novel can be about sexual preferences.

Overall, I found this episode very interesting. I learned about the duties that a chief of reference holds, how exhibitions are set up, how they choose the pieces to go in them, as well information regarding to the LGBT community in early America.


3 thoughts on “Extra Credit Episode 002

  1. Hi Margaret! As you know I listened to the same podcast for the extra credit opportunity. To see the podcast through someone else’s point of view was super interesting, especially since you said you were taking a gender and sexuality course this semester. You did a great job summarizing, and highlighting the key points of this very interesting episode. Just like you said in your post I too do think that people enjoy looking at the past and policies in earlier times and relating them to today to see how different our society is. Great job!


  2. Margaret,
    I had never really considered the history of the LGBT community at that point in American history. Obviously people of such identities were around back then, but I haven’t come across a lot of history about them. In the podcast that I listened to, another librarian from the Library Company of Philadelphia was talking about how the fact that they had managed to retain so many of their books means that people who go to the library can get a real sense of the culture of the 18th and 19th centuries. What you wrote about is a great example of why this is so valuable. The materials on display at their exhibit must have provided a representation of gay culture in the 19th century that you couldn’t find in many other places.


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