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American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Coordinates: 42°22′51″N 71°06′37″W / 42.380755°N 71.110256°W / 42.380755; -71.110256
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The American Academy of Arts and Sciences
AbbreviationThe American Academy; The Academy
FormationMay 4, 1780; 244 years ago (1780-05-04)
TypeHonorary society and independent research center
HeadquartersCambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
5,700+ active members
Websitewww.amacad.org Edit this at Wikidata
The House of the Academy, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (The Academy) is one of the oldest learned societies in the United States. It was founded in 1780 during the American Revolution by John Adams, John Hancock, James Bowdoin,[1] Andrew Oliver, and other Founding Fathers of the United States.[2] It is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Membership in the academy is achieved through a thorough petition, review, and election process.[3] The academy's quarterly journal, Dædalus, is published by the MIT Press on behalf of the academy,[4] and has been open-access since January 2021. The academy also conducts multidisciplinary public policy research.[5]

Laurie L. Patton will become President of the Academy in January 2025.[6]



The Academy was established by the Massachusetts legislature on May 4, 1780, charted in order "to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people."[7] The sixty-two incorporating fellows represented varying interests and high standing in the political, professional, and commercial sectors of the state. The first class of new members, chosen by the Academy in 1781, included Benjamin Franklin and George Washington as well as several international honorary members. The initial volume of Academy Memoirs appeared in 1785, and the Proceedings followed in 1846. In the 1950s, the Academy launched its journal Daedalus, reflecting its commitment to a broader intellectual and socially-oriented program.[8]

Since the second half of the twentieth century, independent research has become a central focus of the Academy. In the late 1950s, arms control emerged as one of its signature concerns. The Academy also served as the catalyst in establishing the National Humanities Center in North Carolina. In the late 1990s, the Academy developed a new strategic plan, focusing on four major areas: science, technology, and global security; social policy and education; humanities and culture; and education. In 2002, the Academy established a visiting scholars program in association with Harvard University. More than 75 academic institutions from across the country have become Affiliates of the Academy to support this program and other Academy initiatives.[9]

The Academy has sponsored a number of awards and prizes,[10] throughout its history and has offered opportunities for fellowships and visiting scholars at the Academy.[11]

In July 2013, the Boston Globe exposed then president Leslie Berlowitz for falsifying her credentials, faking a doctorate, and consistently mistreating her staff.[12] Berlowitz subsequently resigned.[13][14]



The Humanities Indicators


A project of the Academy that equips researchers, policymakers, universities, foundations, museums, libraries, humanities councils, and other public institutions with statistical tools for answering basic questions about primary and secondary humanities education, undergraduate and graduate education in the humanities, the humanities workforce, levels and sources of program funding, public understanding and impact of the humanities, and other areas of concern in the humanities community.[15][16][17][18] It is modeled on the Science and Engineering Indicators, published biennially by the National Science Board as required by Congress.



Founding members


Charter members of the Academy were John Adams, Samuel Adams, John Bacon, James Bowdoin, Charles Chauncy, John Clarke, David Cobb, Samuel Cooper, Nathan Cushing, Thomas Cushing, William Cushing, Tristram Dalton, Francis Dana, Samuel Deane, Perez Fobes, Caleb Gannett, Henry Gardner, Benjamin Guild, John Hancock, Joseph Hawley, Edward Augustus Holyoke, Ebenezer Hunt, Jonathan Jackson, Charles Jarvis, Samuel Langdon, Levi Lincoln, Daniel Little, Elijah Lothrup, John Lowell, Samuel Mather, Samuel Moody, Andrew Oliver, Joseph Orne, Theodore Parsons, George Partridge, Robert Treat Paine, Phillips Payson, Samuel Phillips, John Pickering, Oliver Prescott, Zedekiah Sanger, Nathaniel Peaslee Sargeant, Micajah Sawyer, Theodore Sedgwick, William Sever, David Sewall, Stephen Sewall, John Sprague, Ebenezer Storer, Caleb Strong, James Sullivan, John Bernard Sweat, Nathaniel Tracy, Cotton Tufts, James Warren, Samuel West, Edward Wigglesworth, Joseph Willard, Abraham Williams, Nehemiah Williams, Samuel Williams, and James Winthrop.



From the beginning, the membership, nominated and elected by peers, has included not only scientists and scholars, but also writers and artists as well as representatives from the full range of professions and public life. Throughout the Academy's history, 10,000 fellows have been elected, including such notables as John Adams, John James Audubon, Sissela Bok, Willa Cather, T. S. Eliot, Duke Ellington, Josiah Willard Gibbs, Joseph Henry, Washington Irving, Thomas Jefferson, Edward R. Murrow, Martha Nussbaum, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Jonas Salk and Eudora Welty.

International honorary members have included Jose Antonio Pantoja Hernandez, Albert Einstein,[19] Leonhard Euler, Marquis de Lafayette, Alexander von Humboldt, Leopold von Ranke, Charles Darwin, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Otto Hahn, Jawaharlal Nehru, Pablo Picasso, Liu Guosong, Lucian Michael Freud, Luis Buñuel, Galina Ulanova, Werner Heisenberg, Alec Guinness, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Menahem Yaari, Yitzhak Apeloig, Zvi Galil, Haim Harari, and Sebastião Salgado.[20]

Astronomer Maria Mitchell was the first woman elected to the Academy, in 1848.[21]

The current membership encompasses over 5,700 members based across the United States and around the world. Academy members include more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.[22]

Of the Academy's 14,343 members since 1780, 1,406 are or have been affiliated with Harvard University, 611 with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 433 with Yale University, 425 with the University of California, Berkeley, and 404 with Stanford University. The following table includes those institutions affiliated with 300 or more members.[23]

Institution Members (1780–2021)
Harvard 1,406
MIT 611
Yale 433
Berkeley 425
Stanford 404
Chicago 367
Columbia 344
Princeton 322

† Excludes members affiliated exclusively with associated national laboratories.

Classes and specialties


As of 2023, membership is divided into five classes and thirty specialties.[24]

Class I – Mathematical and physical sciences

Class II – Biological sciences

Class III – Social and behavioral sciences

Class IV – Arts and humanities

Class V – Public affairs, business, and administration

  • Section 1. Journalism, media, and communications
  • Section 2. Business, corporate, and philanthropic leadership
  • Section 3. Educational and academic leadership
  • Section 4. Public affairs and public policy
  • Section 5. Scientific, cultural, and nonprofit leadership

Presidents, 1780–present


See also



  1. ^ Kershaw, G. E. (2014). American Academy of arts and sciences. In M. Spencer (Ed.), The Bloomsbury encyclopedia of the American Enlightenment. London, UK: Bloomsbury.
  2. ^ "Yale Faculty Named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences". Yale University. May 4, 2004. Archived from the original on September 18, 2016. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
  3. ^ "Academy Bylaws – American Academy of Arts & Sciences". Archived from the original on June 2, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  4. ^ "About the Academy". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on September 2, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  5. ^ "Our Work". American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
  6. ^ "Announcing Laurie L. Patton as the Next President of the Academy | American Academy of Arts and Sciences". www.amacad.org. May 2, 2024. Retrieved June 26, 2024.
  7. ^ "Charter of Incorporation". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on January 3, 2011. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
  8. ^ "Gale Encyclopedia of US History: American Academy of Arts and Sciences". Answers.com.
  9. ^ "Visiting Scholars Program". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on August 30, 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  10. ^ "Prizes". American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
  11. ^ "Fellowships". American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
  12. ^ "Leader of Cambridge's prestigious Academy of Arts and Sciences inflated resume, falsely claiming doctorate – The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com.
  13. ^ Embattled head of American Academy of Arts and Sciences resigns after questions about resume – Metro. The Boston Globe (July 26, 2013). Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
  14. ^ Academy loses a tireless advocate of arts, sciences – Letters. The Boston Globe (July 30, 2013). Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
  15. ^ Humanities Indicators.
  16. ^ Chronicle of Higher Education, "First National Picture of Trends in the Humanities Is Unveiled," January 7, 2009.
  17. ^ "A New Humanities Report Card," September 4, 2013.
  18. ^ "The State of the Humanities: Funding 2014" (PDF). humanitiesindicators.org.
  19. ^ "Albert Einstein". American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
  20. ^ "Mr. Sebastiao Ribeiro Salgado". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved August 13, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ "She is an Astronomer" Maria Mitchell.
  22. ^ "Hillary Rodham Clinton, Tyler Jacks, Andre Previn, and Melinda F. Gates Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. April 17, 2012.
  23. ^ "Member Directory". www.amacad.org. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  24. ^ "New Members Elected in 2023". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved April 24, 2023.
  25. ^ Bowditch, Nathaniel Ingersoll, Memoir of Nathaniel Bowditch, Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1840. Cf. p.138
  26. ^ White, Daniel Appleton, "Eulogy on John Pickering, LL. D., President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences", eulogy delivered to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, October 28, 1846; published in Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, v.3

42°22′51″N 71°06′37″W / 42.380755°N 71.110256°W / 42.380755; -71.110256