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A SHORT

ACCOUNT

OF THE

L I B R A R Y.

TH

HE foundation of the present library was laid in the year 1731 ; a

period when Philadelphia afforded little assistance to the inquiries of the studious. A number of gentlemen having raised the fum of one hundred pounds by subscription a small library was formed upon principles the best calculated to disseminate knowledge: the books were not, as in many of the public libraries of Europe, confined to the apartments, but the subscribers were allowed to carry them home for a reasonable space of time.

The plan soon became populár; accessions to the number of members took place, and the stock of books was annually increased by purchases at the company's expense, and liberal donations from persons both at home and abroad.

The then proprietaries of Pennsylvania appear to have taken a patriotic pleasure in the encouragement of the plan. Besides several valuable donations, they granted a charter of incorporation in the year 1742.

A spirit of literary improvement made its way among all classes of people, and the philanthropy of the great and amiable character* who suggesta ed the plan, was gratified by tracing the books as well into the hands of the opulent, with whom literature is sometimes no more than one of the ornaments of civil life, as among those to whom it renders a more fuba stantial benefit. Letters, while they employ the leisure of the artist, reconcile him to his labour ; by removing grosser relaxations they promote his health, while they enlarge his mind; and prolong his life, while they teach him to enjoy it.

• Doctor Franklin,

b

The respectable and intelligent character of the latter class of people in Philadelphia and its environs, cannot be referred to a more probable cause, than the habits of reading promoted by this institution.

The great utility and success of this measure, occasioned the formation of other libraries upon similar principles. But as it appeared more conducive to the interests of literature, to be possessed of one large, than of several smaller collections of books, coalitions gradually took place among them, till the Amicable, the Association and the Union Companies were blended with the Library Company of Philadelphia, the title conferred by the charter.

Since this event, which took place in the year 1769, the members and the property of the company have continued to increase : the former being nearly seven hundred in number. The number of volumes, exclusive of nearly four thousand, in the Loganian Library, now annexed to this institution ; at present, amounts to about fourteen thousand five hundred; the selection of which, has in general been calculated to promote the more important interests of society. And the ftock of books is continually increased by occasional donations, annual importations and purchases of most of the American productions of merit.

Some valuable machines and apparatus for the purposes of natural philosophy, &c. and a variety of curious artificial and natural productions also belong to the company, and are deposited in their apartments.

Besides the collection, the personal property, consists in some public, stocks the fale of shares, which since the year 1793 have been fixed at forty dollars, and the annual payments which since the year 1795, have been fixed at two dollars from each member. The real estate of the inftitution, consists of the lot and buildings, where the Philadelphia and Loganian libraries are kept.

The members hold the property as tenants in common, and dispose of their shares by will or deed; but the affent of the Directors, as well in such cases as in case of an original purchase, is previously necessary

a restriction early adopted, in order, as much as possible, to prevent improper persons from having access to a collection of a nature so liable to injury

Ten Directors and a Treasurer are annually elected by the members : the Directors appoint a Secretary and a Librarian,- for the respective powers and duties of whom, the reader is referred to the charter and the subsequent laws and regulations.

THE

CHARTER

J ,

OHN PENN, THOMAS PENN, and RICHARD PENN,

Esquires, true and absolute proprietaries of the province of Pennsylvania, and counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex, upon Delaware: To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting, Whereas Benjamin Franklin, Robert Grace, Anthony Nicholas, Preamblę: Thomas Cadwalader, William Coleman, Thomas Godfrey, Henry Pratt, Benjamin Paschall, Jofeph Breintnal), John Jones, jun, Samuel Hale, William Parsons, Nicholas Caffel, Francis Richardson, William Maugridge, David Bush, Thomas Hopkinson, Philip Syng, Jacob Duché, Evan Morgan, Joseph Stretch, John Paschall, Nicholas Scull, Thomas Green, Hugh Roberts, Rees Lloyd, John Roberts, Richard Standley, John Nicholas, John Sober, Charles Read, Daniel Harrison, James Morris, Thomas Shaw, John Read, Joshua Richey, James Hamilton, William Plumsted, John Bard, Samuel Morris, John Stamper, Samuel Norris, John Mifflin, John Langdale, Samuel Coates, Samuel Rhoads, Joseph King, Alexander Graydon, James Merrywether, Anthony Morris, jun. Tobias Griscom, Charles Willing, Ifaac Williams, William Allen, Joseph Peters, Richard Peters, Thomas Clay, Phineas Bond, Israel Pemberton, jun. Robert Greenway, William Crofthwaite, William Callender, George Emlen, jun. Ifaiah Warner, Tench Francis, James Bingham, Charles Meredith, Samuel M.Call, Hugh Davy, Amos Strettell, Benjamin Shoemaker, Joseph Hatton, Andrew Hamilton, Thomas Bond, and William Peters, liave, at a great expense, purchased a large and valuable collection of useful books, in order to erect a library for the advancement of knowledge and literature, in the city of Philadelphia ; Now know ye, That we Motives to

grant, being truly sensible of the advantage that may accrue to the people of this province, by so useful an undertaking, and being willing to encourage the fame, Have given and granted, and by

Names of the

gran. tees

these presents do, for us, our heirs and fucceffors, give and grant, That the said Benjamin Franklin, Robert Grace, Anthony Nicholas, Thomas Cadwalader, William Coleman, Thomas Godfrey, Henry Pratt, Benjamin Paschall, Joseph Breintnall, John Jones jun. Samuel Hale, William Parsons, Nicholas Caffel, Francis Richardson, William Maugridge, David Bush, Thomas Hopkinson, Philip Syng, Jacob Duché, Evan Morgan, Joseph Stretch, John Pafchall, Nicholas Scull, Thomas Green, Hugh Roberts, Rees Lloyd, John Roberts, Richard Standley, John Nicholas, John Sober, Charles Read, Daniel Harrison, James Morris, Thomas Shaw, John Read, Joshua Richey, James Hamilton, William Plumsted, John Bard, Samuel Morris, John Stamper, Samuel Norris, John Mifflin, John Langdale, Samuel Coates, Samuel Rhoads, Joseph King, Alexander Graydora James Merrywether, Anthony Morris, jun. Tobias Griscom, Charles Willing, Ifaac Williams, William Allen, Joseph Peters, Richard Peters, Thomas Clay, Phineas Bond, Israel Pemberton, jun. Robert Greenway, William Crofthwaite, William Callender, George Emlen, jun. Isaiah Warner, Tench Francis, James Bingham, Charles Meredith, Samuel M Call, Hugh Davy, Amos Strettell, Benjamin Shoemaker, Joseph Hatton, Andrew Hamilton, Thomas Bond, and William Peters, and such other persons as fhall hereafter be admitted, or become members of The Library Company of Philadelphia, according to the laws and conftitutions of the said company, hereafter to be made, be, and forever here

after shall be, by virtue of these presents, one body corporate and Name of politic in deed, by the name of The Library Company of Pkiladel

phia ; and them by the name of The Library Company of Philadelphia, one body politic and corporate in deed and in name, we do for us, our heirs and successors, fully create, constitute and confirm by these presents; and that by the name of The Library Company of Philadelphia, they shall have perpetual succession ; and that they, by the name of The Library Company of Philadelphia, be, and at all times hereafter shall be, persons able and capable in law, to have, hold, receive, and enjoy lands, tenements, rents, liberties, franchises, and hereditaments, in fee fimple, or for term of life, lives, years, or otherwise ; and also goods, chattels, and

other things, of what nature, kind or quality foever. And also Power to to give, grant, let, sell, or aslign, the same lands, tenements, hold lands, hereditaments, goods, and chattels; and to do and execute all &c.

other things about the fame, by the name aforesaid : And also, that they and their fucceffors, by the name of The Library Com

the company.

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