Today in History: The Library Company of Philadelphia

Benjamin Franklin opening first subscription library in Philadelphia
Today in History–November 14–the Library of Congress features the Library Company of Philadelphia, which signed a contract with its first librarian on this date in 1732. The subscription library was actually founded in November 1731 by Benjamin Franklin and friends but they had to wait until books arrived from England. The Library Company’s holdings were later made available to the first Continental Congress when it convened in September 1774 and became, in effect, the de facto Library of Congress until the legislature moved permanently to Washington, D.C.  Learn more about the Library Company of  Philadelphia and subscription libraries by visiting the Today in History section and clicking the links below.

Library Company of Philadelphia image set

Library Company of Philadelphia historical newspaper coverage

Boston Athenaeum in Massachusetts (1807)

Onarga Community Library in Illinois (1858)

Andrew Carnegie & public libraries

Today in History: Benjamin Franklin