Salem Philosophical Library

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The Salem Philosophical Library (1781–1810) or Philosophical Library Company was a proprietary library in Salem, Massachusetts.[1] Men affiliated with the library included: Tho. Bancroft, Thomas Barnard, William Bentley, Joseph Blaney, Nathaniel Bowditch, Manasseh Cutler, Nathan Dane, Joshua Fisher, Edward Augustus Holyoke, Joseph Mc'keen, B. Lynde Oliver, Joseph Orne, William Prescott, Samuel Page, Joshua Plummer, John Prince,[2] Nathan Read, John D. Treadwell, Ichabod Tucker, and Joseph Willard.[3][4] "The Library was kept at the house of Rev. Joseph Willard of Beverly, till ... December, 1781. ... His successor was Rev. Dr. Prince, who had the volumes at his mansion" in Salem.[5] "By 1810, many of the members of the [Salem] Social Library also belonged to the Philosophical Library, and the two bodies were merged to create the Salem Athenaeum."[6]

"The Philosophical Library had as nucleus the valuable private library of Dr. Richard Kirwin of Dublin, captured with the cargo of the British ship 'Mars' by the ship 'Pilgrim' belonging to John and Andrew Cabot of Beverly."[7] "The Rev. John Prince was desired to attend the auction and make the purchase. Accordingly on the 12th of April, 1781, the said books, consisting of the greater part of the Philosophical Transactions of the French Academy, the Royal Society of London, and the Society of Berlin; ... the works of Sir Robert Boyle compleat ... — making in all 116 volumes."[3]

Titles in the Library[edit]

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ For context, see: List of libraries in 18th century Massachusetts
  2. ^ "John Prince (1751-1836)", WorldCat 
  3. ^ a b Henry Wheatland (1862), "Historical Sketch of the Philosophical Library at Salem", Historical Collections of the Essex Institute, 4 (4) 
  4. ^ D. Hamilton Hurd (1888). History of Essex County, Massachusetts. Philadelphia: J.W. Lewis & Co. 
  5. ^ Joseph Barlow Felt (1849), Annals of Salem, 2 (2nd ed.), Salem: W. & S. B. Ives 
  6. ^ "About". Salem Athenaeum. Retrieved February 17, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Salem Athenaeum Celebration", Library Journal, 35 (4), April 1910 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Plummer Hall: its Libraries, its Collections, its Historical Associations, Salem, Mass.: Salem Athenaeum, 1882, OCLC 13736607 
  9. ^ "Salem Athenaeum", North American Review, January 1818 
  10. ^ Catalogue of the Library of the Athenaeum, in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem. 1842. 
  11. ^ Davies Project. "American Libraries before 1876". Princeton University. Retrieved February 17, 2011. 

External links[edit]

  • Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum. Salem Athenaeum Records, 1760-1889 (contains records of the Philosophical Library, 1781-1810)