American Antiquarian Society

The American Antiquarian Society (AAS), located in Worcester, Massachusetts, is both a learned society and national research library of pre-twentieth century American History and culture. Its main building, known also as Antiquarian Hall, is a U.S. National Historic Landmark. The mission of the AAS is to collect, preserve and make available for study all printed records of what is now known as the United States of America This includes printed records from first European settlement through the year 1876. The AAS offers programs for professional scholars, pre-collegiate, undergraduate and graduate students, educators, professional artists, writers, genealogists, and the general public. AAS has many digital collections available, including A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns 1788-1824 which includes the election data gathered by AAS employee Phil Lampi. The Library collection of the AAS contains over three million books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, graphic arts materials and manuscripts as well as books from all fifty U.S. states, most of Canada and the British West Indies are included in their repository. The Society has two thirds of the books printed in the United States before 1820. Many of these volumes are exceedingly rare and many are unique. One of the more famous volumes held there is a copy of the very first book printed in America, The Bay Psalm Book. AAS also has one of the largest collections of newspapers printed in America through 1876.

AAS was founded by Isaiah Thomas on October 24, 1812 by an act of the Massachusetts General Court. It is the third oldest historical society and the first to be national in scope. Isaiah Thomas started the collection with approximately 8,000 books from his personal library. The first library building was erected in 1820 in downtown Worcester, Massachusetts. This building was later abandoned and a new building was constructed. It was completed in 1910 and stands on the corner of Park Avenue and Salisbury Street. There have been several additions to this building to accommodate the growing collection, the most recent of which was completed in 2003.

Notable members

John Adams Thomas Jefferson James Madison James Monroe John Q. Adams Andrew Jackson Rutherford B. Hayes Franklin Pierce Rice Theodore Roosevelt William H. Taft Woodrow Wilson Calvin Coolidge Franklin D. Roosevelt Jimmy Carter Walter Cronkite Henry Louis Gates

Building Activity

  • Anthony Pizzo
    Anthony Pizzo updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via
  • Georgi Sokolov
    Georgi Sokolov updated
    about 6 years ago via
  • updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via