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Exhibition Join In: Voluntary Assocations in America

Library Company of Philadelphia. The Charter, Laws, and Catalogue of Books, of the Library Company of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Printed by B. Franklin and D. Hall, 1764 [1765]. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (011.00.00)
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Library Company of Philadelphia. The Charter, Laws, and Catalogue of Books, of the Library Company of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Printed by B. Franklin and D. Hall, 1764 [1765]. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (011.00.00)
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Making the Rules for a Library

Benjamin Franklin first proposed the creation of a subscription library in Philadelphia to fellow members of the Junto in 1731. He planned that each subscriber would pay forty shillings to join the library and a yearly contribution of ten shillings for the purchase of new books. Franklin wrote up the by-laws and asked an attorney to draft articles of agreement, essentially a contract to form the basis of the group’s activities. The Library Company printed and circulated these, as well as its catalog and charter, to its members. Today, the Library Company remains a vital center for research on the history of early America. It is one of a handful of associations that Franklin created that still exists today.