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Signature Events

Signature Events are the cornerstone of our calendar, each with a recurring theme: The Annual Meeting, 1835 Lecture, Hearth & Home, Memoir, Harriet Beecher Stowe Freedom Writer Award, Science & Nature, 2035 Lecture, Albert Pyle Urban, Modern Novel, and Words & Music. 

Signature Events are FREE for Mercantile Library members. Some of our past Signature Lecturers include: Claudia Rankine, Chuck D, Colson Whitehead, Susan Orlean, David Simon, Michelle Alexander, Jennifer Egan, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Wil Haygood, Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Melissa Clark, Steve Earle, Josh Ritter, Kiese Laymon, & Emily St. John Mandel.

Signature events lecture

Upcoming Events

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The Annual Meeting

Held on the third Tuesday of January, the Annual Meeting Lecture highlights an aspect of local and regional history.



Introduced in 2019, the Memoir Lecture showcases writers giving us a detailed glimpse into extraordinary lives that help us make sense of our own.  


1835 Lecture

A history-focused lecture held on or around the anniversary of the Mercantile Library, April 18, 1835.


Hearth & Home

Features experts on the art of living, art, and culture.


Harriet Beecher Stowe Freedom Writer Award & Lecture

Named in honor of Harriet Beecher Stowe, who spoke at the Library in 1873. The award-recipient and speaker is one whose work best exemplifies "writing to change the world".


Albert Pyle Urban Lecture 

Inaugurated in 2014 to honor former Library Director Albert Pyle's two decades of service to the library and focuses on issues important to the vitality of cities and beyond.


Science & Nature

The Library has a long history of hosting scientists, explorers, and innovators to deliver lectures. This lecture focuses on those personalities past and present.


2035 Lecture

With a nod to the forward-thinking young business leaders who founded the Mercantile Library, this annual late summer lecture looks at the future of business, design, technologies, and entrepreneurialism and the ways those will shape the global economy. 


Modern Novel

Invites novelists who are writing at the top of their form and whose work in literary fiction frequently becomes a part of popular culture.


Words & Music

Explores the process of songwriting and its parallels to literature.

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