Events | October 7, 2019

The Rosenbach Presents the 2019 "Moby-Dick" Marathon Reading

Courtesy of the Rosenbach

Philadelphia — The Rosenbach is excited to present the Moby-Dick Marathon Reading, a 25-hour celebration of Herman Melville’s classic novel of Ishmael and the Great White Whale.
Beginning on Saturday November  9, and continuing through Sunday November 10, this collaboration with the Independence Seaport Museum celebrates the iconic novel and the adventures of 19th-century seafarers with the live reading, an interactive artifact show-and-tell, hands-on activities for all ages, boatloads of food and fare for purchase, a late-night happy hour, and much more. The Moby-Dick Marathon is free and open to everyone.
The event highlights include:
•  Family Friendly Activities, beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday before Marathon readers take the stage, will feature scrimshaw crafts, kid-friendly Moby-Dick storytimes, squid dissection, and whaling coloring activities.
•  The Marathon Reading, now in its second year, runs from 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 9—when Ishmael arrives to kick off the reading—through 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 10. The Marathon Reading features volunteer readers and special guests reading Moby-Dick aloud cover to cover.  
•  Artifact Show and Tell: The Real-Life History of Whaling will offer visitors a close-up look at artifacts related to the real-life history of whaling around the time that Herman Melville wrote Moby-Dick throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday. Collections staff from The Rosenbach and the Independence Seaport Museum will be on hand to share rare artifacts including the log book from the whaling vessel Ceres, which sailed out of Wilmington, Delaware in the 1840s; scrimshaw made aboard the Ceres, historic prints depicting the process of whaling, a model whaleboat, and other relics of the whalefishery.
The Moby-Dick Marathon is presented alongside American Voyager: Herman Melville at 200, a new exhibition on view at The Rosenbach through April 5, 2020. Few writers have achieved the cultural impact of Melville, yet he died unrecognized for his genius. To commemorate the 200th anniversary of his birth, the new exhibition explores the life, works, and legacy of this iconic but under-read author and considers what Melville might have to say about the modern United States.
“With our new exhibition activating our collection of Melville's rare books and letters, The Rosenbach is the ideal producer for a marathon reading of his greatest work, Moby-Dick,” says Derick Dreher, John C. Hass Director of The Rosenbach. “We couldn’t be happier to partner with the Independence Seaport Museum again this year, which provides the perfect setting for the unique event.”
The Moby-Dick Marathon Reading and American Voyager are inspired by and celebrate The Rosenbach’s extensive Herman Melville collection, which includes handwritten letters and first editions of his novels, including Moby-Dick. For more information, visit