American Antiquarian Society (1812– ) - American Education
The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) was established on October 24, 1812 in Worcester by an act of the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and was inspired by the efforts of Isaiah Thomas, printer, publisher, and book collector, to “encourage the collection and preservation of the Antiquities of our country, and of curious and valuable productions in Art and nature [that] have a tendency to enlarge the sphere of human knowledge.” Thomas donated his collection of more than eight thousand books to the society’s initial holdings. Christopher Columbus Baldwin (1800–1835), a lawyer and a librarian who was elected to the Society in 1827, succeeded Thomas as head librarian from 1827 to 1830 and from 1832 to 1835. Baldwin compiled a several-hundred-page catalogue of the library collections, which was published in 1837. The AAS has a large collection of the Richard Mather family writings, along with the books of Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather, and Samuel Mather. Other significant holdings and interests include American book history; New England diaries; papers of prominent early New Englanders in the political, religious, and military spheres; and papers and records of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century central Massachusetts families, voluntary associations, and businesses. The American Antiquarian Society is a charter member of the American Council of Learned Societies, founded in 1919.
- American Antiquarian Society: http://www.americanantiquarian.org (viewed August 16, 2006).
- Burkett, Nancy Hall, and John B. Hench. Under Its Generous Dome: The Collections and Programs of the American Antiquarian Society, second edition, revised. Worcester, Mass.: American Antiquarian Society, 1992.