PHILADELPHIA, PA, February 5, 2014 – History was made on February 9, 1964, when The Beatles twisted and shouted their way into the American psyche with their legendary television performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Penn Libraries’ Kislak Center marks the 50th anniversary of that pivotal evening with a two-day symposium on February 28 – March 1, held in conjunction with an ongoing exhibition in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library’s Kamin Gallery from February 24-August 11, 2014.  The Beatles in Text and Image - Materiality and Meaning Symposium will explore the phenomenon of the Fab Four’s extraordinary popularity that spawned a musical and cultural revolution during the rapidly changing political and social climate of the Sixties.  David McKnight, Director of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library in the Kislak Center for Special Collections, began planning the symposium two years ago. An avid book collector and Beatles’ fan, McKnight says his interest in the group resurfaced with the 1995 publication of The Beatles Anthology.  

“I was impressed with the range and volume of high-end publications documenting The Beatles’ career(s),” says McKnight, “and I’m excited to convene a panel of experts who will be able to illuminate the broader cultural meaning that can be derived from the study of these text-based materials.”

Participating on the Symposium panel are:
•    Larry Kane (Keynote address):  Philadelphia author, journalist and broadcaster, author of two books on The Beatles and one on John Lennon, and one of several journalists who accompanied the Beatles on their first tour of America
•    Walter Everett: University of Michigan, Professor of Music Theory, is the leading expert on the music of The Beatles
•    Gordon Thompson: Skidmore College, Professor of Music, explores The Beatles in the context of the British Invasion
•    Al Sussman: Executive Editor of Beatlefan Magazine, and former radio analyst for ASCAP, Al Sussman has just published an new book, 'Changin' Times: 101 Days That Shaped A Generation with Parading Press
•    Donna Parsons:  University of Iowa, Professor of English, teaches courses on the cultural impact of the Beatles
•    Jude Southerland Kessler (New Orleans):  Author of “She Loves You,” the 3rd volume of her nine-volume biography of John Lennon
•    Eugene Halus:  Immaculata University, Professor of History, teaches a course on the politics and reception of John Lennon
•    Anthony DeCurtis: University of Pennsylvania, Faculty Lecturer in the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing and a contributing editor at Rolling Stone Magazine. An award-winning writer, DeCurtis has published numerous articles and reviews on The Beatles during the past thirty years.

The exhibition in the Kamin Gallery will feature unique materials largely from McKnight’s personal collection dating from 1964 to the present that illustrate the British Invasion in the form of limited-edition books, periodicals, ephemera, commercial products,  memorabilia, and recordings. 

To register for the symposium and to learn more about these events and other related programming, visit