We Have What You’re Looking For

Founded in 1731, the library that once served our founding fathers now serves the nation as an internationally renowned research center. Since the days of Benjamin Franklin, the collection has grown to more than half a million rare books, manuscripts, pamphlets, broadsides, prints, and photographs, making the Library Company one of the nation’s largest collections of printed and graphic materials relating to early American history. There are many ways that you can explore America’s first lending library.

Subject Guides

Misc. books on shelf.

View our extensive list of subject guides to learn more about our collection strengths, including African Americana; American science, technology, economics, architecture, agriculture, natural history, education, philanthropy, and medicine; German-Americana; the history of printing and publishing; American Judaica; the history of women, domestic economy, and family life; printmaking, mapmaking, and photography in Philadelphia; and the libraries of James Logan and Benjamin Franklin.

Library Catalog

Card catalog in the William H. Scheide Reading Room.

WolfPAC is the catalog of the Library Company of Philadelphia, and the gateway to the catalogs of several other area libraries. It is named in honor of Edwin Wolf 2nd, 1911-1991. Mr. Wolf was Librarian at the Library Company from 1953 to 1984; under his direction, the Library Company, founded in 1731 as the first subscription library in America, became an independent research library serving the scholarly community worldwide.

Digital Collections

Concetta Barbera, Digital Outreach Librarian and Curatorial Assistant, scanning a book in the Library Company Digitization Department.

Our digital collections catalog features a growing number of the Library Company’s graphic, ephemera and bindings collections. It complements and supplements the descriptive records in our online catalog WolfPAC, and the online exhibitions and featured collections mounted on our website. The online repository currently contains over 36,000 records representing numerous digital collections.

Fellowships

Fellow speaking with Librarian James N. Green in his office.

The fellowship program began in 1987 and now has more than 900 alumni. A list of former fellows and their topics is available here, along with a list of publications resulting from their fellowship research.

Digital Humanities

Nicole H. Scalessa, IT Manager & Digital Humanities Coordinator with Ann McShane, Digital Collections Project Assistant.

The Library Company has had a hand in digital humanities since it launched it’s first online exhibition in 1999. With nearly two decades of experience we continue to collaborate with scholars and educators to create exceptional online resources.

Events

Photograph depicting a crowd of attendees sitting and watching a presentation.

The Library Company provides a wide range of opportunities for scholars to collaborate. Through lectures, seminars, colloquia, workshops, and conferences we strive to provide an atmosphere for discussion, debate, and learning. Many events are free and open to the public.