Library Company of Philadelphia
1314 Locust St., 215/546-3181
HOURS: Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–4:45 p.m., print room by appt. only
The country’s first lending library was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731 when he was just 25 years old. In its original Old City location, today called Library Hall, it served as the Library of Congress when Philadelphia was the capital.
The only intact colonial-era library and the oldest circulating library in the nation, it was also the largest library in the nation until 1850. It remains an excellent resource on 17th-to-19th-century American society and culture.
In addition to its extensive circulating collections, the library holds more than half a million rare books, 75,000 graphics, 160,000 manuscripts, and an array of artwork, prints, and photographs of early Philadelphia.
Since its opening, the independent research library has been supported by shareholders. Revolving free exhibits draw from the collections.
© Karrie Gavin from Moon Philadelphia, 1st Edition