The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) cultivates understanding of the American past, grounded in its ever-growing collection of printed and manuscript sources. Through wide-ranging programs, community engagement, and generously supporting researchers and students of early American history, the Society works to cultivate a broad community of inquiry―locally and nationally.

Since its founding in 1812 by Revolutionary War patriot and printer Isaiah Thomas, AAS has assembled what is today the world’s largest and most accessible collection of books, pamphlets, broadsides, newspapers, periodicals, children's literature, music, and graphic arts material printed before the twentieth century in what is now the United States. The library of over four million items also includes a substantial collection of secondary texts, bibliographies, digital resources, and reference works. AAS is also a learned society with over 1,200 members, who are elected based on distinctive achievement in academic or public life. The Society was presented with the 2013 National Humanities Medal by President Obama in a White House ceremony.

Our History

An Introduction