The Athenaeum of Philadelphia is one of 16 surviving
membership libraries. Some, like the Charleston (SC; 1748), New York Society
(1754), and Newport (RI; 1741) libraries date from the 18th century. The
Athenaeum of Philadelphia was established in 1814 as a subscription library,
at a time when the free public library system did not exist and collections
of books, available for reading or research, were still mostly limited to
institutions and schools or colleges. Only a small number of individuals
could afford to amass a collection of books. From its beginnings the
Athenaeum of Philadelphia emphasized not only its lending collections, but
also programs where the members could meet and discuss historical, literary,
and cultural topics. In 1847 the Athenaeum moved into its Renaissance
Revival brownstone designed by John Notman.
Members have the use of both the historical and
contemporary collections maintained by the Athenaeum, and are invited to the
full range of our programs, most of which are free or offered at a nominal
fee. Furthermore, your membership will support this unique historical
organization and help maintain its National Historic Landmark Building.
Become a part of Philadelphia’s rich 19th century history by joining the
The Athenaeum offers three levels of membership
Shareholder: The current price
of a share is $500, with annual dues set at $155. Shareholders have full
privileges in the organization as well as access to Shareholder-only
events. Shareholders may vote at the Annual Meeting and serve on the
Subscriber: Subscribers to
the Athenaeum pay an annual membership fee of $200. Subscribers enjoy
full use of the Athenaeum’s lending collection and programs.
Young Friends: Young
Friends membership is reserved for those individuals who are 18 years of
age, up to age 35. Annual dues are $75. Young Friends may make full use
of the Athenaeum’s lending collection and programs.
Contact our Membership Secretary Rebecca Daniels for further information
at 215-925-2688 or
Please choose your membership type below.
To make an additional contribution check the box below and enter an
amount. Amounts entered here are tax-deductible. The Athenaeum is grateful for your support!