Literary Parlor

The Mansion is hosting a Victorian Literature Book Club a.k.a. “Literary Parlor.” Everyone is welcome to join 19th century bibliophile, Kate Howe, at Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion for cookies and conversation about Victorian novels.

Literary Parlor Christmas Party

If you attended the Mansion’s Literary Parlor in 2018 or if you think you might wish to join us as we explore 19th century literature, we invite you to attend our Christmas Party on Sunday, December 9 at 2:00 pm to sing Christmas carols. 19th century bibliophile Kate Howe reads Anthony Trollope’s holiday story “Christmas at Thompson Hall.” Each guest receives a party favor to take home. Enjoy hot wassail, a piece of Twelfth Night cake and Christmas cookies.

Sunday, December 9 at 2:00 pm

Cost: $15, Member cost: $10  Become a member

Reservations are required. Make reservations online or call 215-438-1861

The Big Bow Mystery (1891) by Israel Zangwill

On a chilly December morning in Bow, a working-class area in London’s East End, a landlady unsuccessfully attempts to rouse a tenant whose door is locked and bolted from the inside. The alarmed landlady calls upon her neighbor, a retired Scotland Yard detective, who breaks down the door to reveal the tenant with his throat cut and no weapon in sight. “It seems clear that the deceased did not commit suicide,” the coroner declares at the inquest, adding, “It seems equally clear that the deceased was not murdered.”
So begins Israel Zangwill’s darkly humorous mystery, which marked a turning point in detective fiction. Sealed-room mysteries had appeared before, but this inventive tale offered a novel exploitation of the genre’s puzzling possibilities. The 1891 publication was serialized in the London Star, a tabloid notorious for its sensational coverage of the Jack the Ripper murders. Between installments, Zangwill engaged in a lively dialogue with his readers, who proposed solutions to the crime (none of them correct). As Publishers Weekly noted, “With a sardonic style and vivid, Dickensian characterizations of Victorian-era London, Zangwill still appeals to contemporary readers.”


Sunday, January 20, 2019 at 1:30 pm 

Cost: $15, Member cost: $10

Reservations are requiredMake reservations online or call 215-438-1861

Lovelorn Literary Parlor

Join bibliophile Kate Howe on Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 1:30 pm for a very special Valentine Literary Parlor. Volunteers select an excerpt from their favorite 19th century novel or short story – the topic “love” or “unrequited love.” Come with your sweetheart or come alone.

Select a story or excerpt that can be read in less than 10 minutes. Time allows for only 8 readers so submit your selection early. For consideration as a reader, send your short story choice to or call 215-438-1861. Readers will be chosen on a first-come, first-serve basis. Readers must purchase a ticket.

Enjoy special Valentine desserts.

Cost: $15, Member cost: $10

Click here for reservations or call 215-438-1861