Athenaeum of Philadelphia

219 South 6th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215-925-2688 voice
215-925-3755 fax

Monday to Friday 9:00-5:00

  • Peter Conn, Executive Director, 215-925-2688,
  • Bruce Laverty, Curator of the Architectural Collection, 215-925-2688,
  • Jill LeMin Lee , Librarian,
  • Michael Seneca, Director-Regional Digital Imaging Center, 215-925-2688,

The Athenaeum was founded in 1814 and for more than 200 years has been collecting materials "connected with the history and antiquities of America, and the useful arts." As an independent research library with museum collections, the Athenaeum focuses on American cultural history for the period 1814-1914. Its architecture and interior design collections for this period are nationally significant.

The Athenaeum's collections divide into the 100,000-volume research library; the architectural archive consisting of more than 380,000 drawings, 300,000 photographs, and 1,000,000 manuscript items representing the work of more than 2,000 American architects and firms; and the fine and decorative arts collection. The collection is catalogued. The Athenaeum's cataloging records are available from OCLC and from its online catalog, Athena.  

The Athenaeum is housed in a National Historical Landmark building near Independence Hall, which is open for tours and research by appointment. The building is furnished with fine and decorative arts of the period 1800-1850. The Athenaeum sponsors historical and educational activities including lectures, concerts, and exhibitions. It publishes books on aspects of 19th-century culture and provides awards and research grants for outstanding literary achievement and scholarship in architectural history.