American Philosophical Society Hall
|Location||104 S. Fifth St.|
|NRHP reference No.||66000675|
|Added to NRHP||October 15, 1966|
|Designated NHL||January 12, 1965|
The American Philosophical Society (APS), founded in 1743 in Philadelphia, is a scholarly organization that promotes knowledge in the sciences and humanities through research, professional meetings, publications, library resources, and community outreach. Considered the first learned society in the United States, it has about 1,000 elected members, and by April 2020 had had only 5,710 members since its creation. Through research grants, published journals, the American Philosophical Society Museum, an extensive library, and regular meetings, the society supports a variety of disciplines in the humanities and the sciences.
Philosophical Hall, now a museum, is just east of Independence Hall in Independence National Historical Park; it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965.
The Philosophical Society, as it was originally called, was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin, James Alexander, Francis Hopkinson, John Bartram, Philip Syng, Jr. and othersas an offshoot of an earlier club, the Junto.
Early members included: Benjamin Franklin, John Dickinson, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson,Alexander Hamilton, James McHenry, Thomas Paine, David Rittenhouse, Peter Stephen Du Ponceau, Nicholas Biddle, Owen Biddle, Benjamin Rush, James Madison, Michael Hillegas, John Marshall, Charles Pettit and John Andrews.
It was common at the time for intellectual societies to invite members from around the world. And so the society recruited members from other countries, including Alexander von Humboldt, the Marquis de Lafayette, Baron von Steuben, Tadeusz Kościuszko, and Princess Dashkova.
The society lapsed into inactivity by 1746, but in 1767 it was revived. On January 2, 1769, it united with the American Society for Promoting Useful Knowledge under the name American Philosophical Society Held at Philadelphia for Promoting Useful Knowledge. Franklin was elected the first president. Sr., was built in the 1820s.During this time, the society maintained a standing Committee on American Improvements; one of its investigations was to study the prospects for a canal to connect the Chesapeake Bay and the Delaware River. The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, which had been proposed by Thomas Gilpin,
After the American Revolution, the society looked for leadership to Francis Hopkinson, one of the signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence. Under his influence, the society received land from the government of Pennsylvania, along with a plot of land in Philadelphia, where Philosophical Hall now stands.
Charles Darwin, Robert Frost, Louis Pasteur, Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz, John James Audubon, Linus Pauling, Margaret Mead, Maria Mitchell, and Thomas Edison became members of the society.
Many members of the Society of the Cincinnati were among the APS's first board members and contributors; the APS and SOC still maintain an informal, collegial relationship.
Membership of the APS "honors extraordinary accomplishments in all fields". It has about 1,000 elected members, comprising about 840 "resident" members (United States citizens or those working or living in the United States) and about 160 "international" members. As of April 2020 [update] it had elected 5,710 members in all since its foundation.
In 1786, the society established the Magellanic Premium, a prize for achievement in "navigation, astronomy, or natural philosophy," the oldest scientific prize awarded by an American institution, which it still awards. Other awards include the Barzun Prize for cultural history, the Judson Daland Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Investigation, the Benjamin Franklin Medal, the Lashley Award for neurobiology, the Lewis Award, and the Thomas Jefferson Medal for distinguished achievement in the arts, humanities, or social sciences.
The APS has published the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society since 1771. Five issues appear each year. The Proceedings have appeared since 1838; they publish the papers delivered at the society's biannual meetings. The society has also published the collected papers of Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Henry, William Penn, and Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Jane Aitken bound 400 volumes for the society.
The society also has an expansive archive on framer of the U.S. constitution John Dickinson.
Philosophical Hall, at 104 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, between Chestnut and Walnut Streets, immediately south of Old City Hall, was built in 1785–89 to house the society and designed by Samuel Vaughan in the Federal style.A third floor was added in 1890 to accommodate the expanding library, but was removed in 1948–50, when the building was restored to its original appearance for the creation of Independence National Historical Park. In 2001, it was opened to the public as The American Philosophical Society Museum, hosting revolving, thematic exhibitions that explore intersections of history, art, and science. The museum features works of art, scientific instruments, original manuscripts, rare books, natural history specimens, and curiosities of all kinds from the APS's own collections, along with objects on loan from other institutions.
In 1789–90, the Library Company of Philadelphia (LCP) built its headquarters directly across 5th Street from APS. In 1884 LCP sold its building, which was demolished for the expansion of the Drexel & Company Building in 1887. This building was demolished in the mid-1950s, during the creation of Independence National Historical Park.
APS built a library on the site in 1958 and recreated the façade of the old LCP building.
APS restored the former Farmers' & Mechanics' Bank building at 425–29 Chestnut Street, which was built in 1854–55 to the design of John M. Gries in the Italianate style,to serve as a lecture hall. It is the site of meetings and most major events the society hosts.
Constance C. and Edgar P. Richardson Hall at 431 Chestnut Street, immediately west of Benjamin Franklin Hall, is the former Pennsylvania Company for Insurances on Lives and Granting Annuities Building, which was built in 1871–73 and designed by Addison Hutton.It contains offices and the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine.
The Chesapeake & Delaware Canal is a 14-mile (22.5 km)-long, 450-foot (137.2 m)-wide and 35-foot (10.7 m)-deep ship canal that connects the Delaware River with the Chesapeake Bay in the states of Delaware and Maryland in the United States.
Charles Willson Peale was an American painter, soldier, scientist, inventor, politician and naturalist. He is best remembered for his portrait paintings of leading figures of the American Revolution, and for establishing one of the first museums in the United States.
Independence Hall is a historic civic building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in which both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted by America's Founding Fathers. The structure forms the centerpiece of the Independence National Historical Park and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent was a public history museum located in Center City, Philadelphia from 1938 until 2018. The museum occupied architect John Haviland's landmark Greek Revival structure built in 1824–1826 for the Franklin Institute. The Museum operated as a city agency as part of Philadelphia's Department of Recreation. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 1, 1979.
Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia is an important early-American cemetery. It is the final resting place of Benjamin Franklin and his wife, Deborah. Four other signers of the Declaration of Independence are buried here, Benjamin Rush, Francis Hopkinson, Joseph Hewes and George Ross. Two more signers are buried at Christ Church just a few blocks away.
Philip Syng Physick was an American physician born in Philadelphia. He has been called "the father of American surgery."
Timothy Matlack was a brewer and beer bottler who emerged as a popular and powerful leader in the American Revolutionary War, Secretary of Pennsylvania during the war, and a delegate to the Second Continental Congress in 1780. He became one of Pennsylvania's most provocative and influential political figures, but he was removed from office by his political enemies at the end of the war; however, he returned to power in the Jeffersonian era. Matlack was known for his excellent penmanship and was chosen to inscribe the original United States Declaration of Independence on vellum.
The Syng inkstand is a silver inkstand used during the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the United States Constitution in 1787. Besides paper documents, it is one of four still-existing objects that were present during the Constitutional Convention, along with the Liberty Bell, the chair that George Washington sat in as the Constitutional Convention's presiding officer, and Independence Hall itself.
Independence National Historical Park is a federally protected historic district in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States that preserves several sites associated with the American Revolution and the nation's founding history. Administered by the National Park Service, the 55-acre (22 ha) park comprises many of Philadelphia's most-visited historic sites within the Old City and Society Hill neighborhoods. The park has been nicknamed "America's most historic square mile" because of its abundance of historic landmarks.
The Library Company of Philadelphia (LCP) is a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia. Founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin as a library, the Library Company of Philadelphia has accumulated one of the most significant collections of historically valuable manuscripts and printed material in the United States.
Society Hill is a historic neighborhood in Center City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a population of 6,215 as of the 2010 United States Census. Settled in the early 1680s, Society Hill is one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Philadelphia. After urban decay developed between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, an urban renewal program began in the 1950s, restoring the area and its many historic buildings. Society Hill has since become one of the most expensive neighborhoods with the highest average income and second highest real estate values in Philadelphia. Society Hill's historic colonial architecture, along with planning and restoration efforts, led the American Planning Association to designate it, in 2008, as one of the great American neighborhoods and a good example of sustainable urban living.
Philip Syng was, like his namesake father, Philip Syng, Sr. (1676–1739), a renowned silversmith who created fine works in silver and sometimes gold for the wealthy families of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1752 he created the Syng inkstand, which was used to sign the 1776 United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution in 1787.
The Powel House is a historic house museum located at 244 South 3rd Street, between Willings Alley and Spruce Street, in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Built in 1765 in the Georgian style, and embellished by second owner Samuel Powel (1738–1793), it has been called "the finest Georgian row house in the city." As with other houses of this type, the exterior facade is understated and simple, but the interior was elaborately appointed.
Horace Trumbauer was a prominent American architect of the Gilded Age, known for designing residential manors for the wealthy. Later in his career he also designed hotels, office buildings, and much of the campus of Duke University. Trumbauer's massive palaces flattered the egos of his "robber baron" clients, but were dismissed by his professional peers. His work made him a wealthy man, but his buildings rarely received positive critical recognition. Today, however, he is hailed as one of America's premier architects, with his buildings drawing critical acclaim even to this day.
Carpenters' Hall is the official birthplace of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a key meeting place in the early history of the United States. It is in Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Christ Church is an Episcopal church in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia. Founded in 1695 as a parish of the Church of England, it played an integral role in the founding of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. In 1785, its rector, William White, became the first Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
The Hill–Physick–Keith House, also known as the Hill–Keith–Physick House, the Hill–Physick House, or simply the Physick House, is a historic house museum located at 321 S. 4th Street in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Built 1786, it was the home of Philip Syng Physick (1768–1837), who has been called "the father of American surgery". The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976. It is now owned and operated by the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks as a house museum.
Old City Hall located at Chestnut Street at 5th Street in the Independence Hall complex of Independence National Historical Park in Center City, Philadelphia, was built in 1790–91 in the Federal style. The architect was David Evans, Jr.
Philosophical Hall is a historic building at 104 S. 5th Street in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US. Located near Independence Hall, the building has, for over 200 years, been the headquarters of the American Philosophical Society. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965 for its association with that organization.
Benjamin Loxley, also known as Benjamin Lockley was a prominent Philadelphia carpenter-architect, master builder, investor and military leader in the American Colonial Period. He began his career by working as a carpenter-architect and renting out land outside the city. He then worked as a master builder and built various properties in the city. He invested in many schemes and was the largest stockholder of the Carpenters' Company of the City and County of Philadelphia at one point. He was also a philanthropist and participated in several civil activities.
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|Wikisource has the text of a 1920 Encyclopedia Americana article about The American Philosophical Society .|
(Wayback Machine copy)