Our Events


Walt Whitman Invents America with Mark Edmundson, author of Song of Ourselves

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 6:00 PM | online | free of charge | presented by the Athenaeum of Philadelphia

Walt Whitman believed that the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, glorious as they were, were not enough. We needed to learn to learn the true spirit of democracy. What does it feel like at its best to live as a democratic man or woman? In "Song of Myself," Whitman seeks to answer that question.

Mark Edmundson is University Professor at the University of Virginia. He is the author of a dozen books, including Self and Soul: A Defense of Ideals and The Heart of the Humanities: Reading, Writing, Teaching. He's won a Guggenheim Fellowship and received an NEH chair for distinguished teaching.


Zoom information will be sent the day of the event to the email address used during registration.

Purchase a copy of the book from Bookshop.org.

This event is presented by the Philadelphia Athenaeum, part of the Membership Library Group.

Formed in 1991, the Membership Library Group (MLG) is a consortium of 16 membership libraries across the United States. The 16 organizations of the MLG are sharing resources to allow members to hear from and connect with some of the brightest and most innovative minds in literature, history, the arts, and the sciences.

Membership libraries trace their history in America to the 18th century when Benjamin Franklin founded the Library Company of Philadelphia. These libraries played a significant role in their communities. While most subscription libraries were replaced or taken over with the advent of free public libraries in the 19th century, several have survived and thrived.

More information about our sister institutions is available in the 2007 book America’s Membership Libraries.