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American Philosophical Society selected records, 1784-1954

American Philosophical Society


Collection Information

Size: 3 Microfilm reels, 3 partial microfilm reels

Summary: The microfilmed American Philosophical Society selected records contain art related letters; committee reports; registrar's and curators' records; pamphlets; and exhibition catalogs from the archives of the American Philosophical Society. Many of the letters are to the Society's secretary and librarian John Vaughan; a few are to the Society's presidents Thomas Jefferson and Peter S. Du Ponceau, and officials John K. Kane and J. Peter Lesley. Among the correspondents are Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin West, Charles Willson Peale, Jacob Perkins, Philip Tidyman, Charles B. Lawrence, John Trumbull, Thomas Sully, Joseph Delaplaine, Robert Patterson, John Quincy Adams, Titian Ramsay Peale, Rembrandt Peale, Joel Roberts Poinsett, Victor G. Audubon, and Robert Fulton.
Also included are copies of the registrar's cards for portraits and busts owned by the Society, arranged alphabetically by sitter; "Preliminary Notes, Biographical Sketches, and Memoranda chronologically arranged, for insertion in the Curator's Catalog of Portraits, Busts, and Bas-Reliefs in the Collection of the American Philosophical Society. Illustrated by photographs taken from the originals by Mrs. Julius A. Sachese, member APS"; circa 25 exhibition catalogs and pamphlets (1811-1840) for exhibitions of the Society of Artists of the United States, Columbian Society of Artists, Artists' Fund Society, Artists' and Amateurs' Association, and for works by Thomas Sully, Gilbert Stuart, Benjamin Robert Haydon, Joseph Delaplaine, and others; and newspaper clippings (1917) about the controversy surrounding portraits by Albert Rosenthal hung in Independence Hall (reel P36, frames 372-401).

Biographical/Historical Note

The American Philosophical Society (founded 1743) is a scholarly organization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded by Benjamin Franklin, the American Philosophical Society "promotes useful knowledge" through research, professional meetings, publications, library resources, and community outreach.


Microfilmed for the Archives of American Art, 1955. The letters are mainly American Philosophical Society records, but many were pulled from ASP's Misc. Mss. and various other collections, and microfilmed in no apparent order. Descriptive cards microfilmed with each letter indicate location of originals.

Related Materials

The American Philosophical Society holds the American Philosophical Society archives, 1743-1984.

Language Note

English .

Location of Originals

  • Originals in: American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pa.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reels P34 (fr. 199-213); P35 (fr. 164-259; 262-489); P36 (fr.1-10; 372-401); P37 (fr.588-870) available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.

How to Cite This Collection

American Philosophical Society selected records, 1784-1954. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.