Banners for Framing Fraktur at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Word & Image installation, second floor gallery at the Free Library with works by contemporary artist Imran Qureshi. Courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Bob and Roberta Smith, Art Makes People Powerful (2013), installed at the Free Library of Philadelphia for Framing Fraktur. Fabric with applique and embroidery. Courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
The Free Library of Philadelphia is the city's public library, with 54 locations serving more than six million users annually. Its main branch on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is a grand Beaux-Arts building that houses the largest rare book collection in the country, in addition to a massive print archive. Recently, the Free Library renovated gallery space to showcase more of its extraordinary collections, including a selection of Fraktur, a manuscript-based folk art created by the German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania in the early 1700s. In 2020, the Free Library received a Center Project grant for Chronicling Resistance, a project that mines the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries’ extensive archives related to community activism to bring Philadelphia’s history of civic action into context with present-day social justice movements.