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The Library Company of Philadelphia is an independent research library specializing in American history and culture from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Open to the public free of charge, the Library Company houses an extensive collection of rare books, manuscripts, broadsides, ephemera, prints, photographs, and works of art. Founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin, the Library Company is America's oldest cultural institution and served as the Library of Congress from the Revolutionary War to 1800. The Library Company was the largest public library in America until the Civil War.
The mission of the Library Company is to preserve, interpret, make available, and augment the valuable materials in our care. We serve a diverse constituency throughout Philadelphia and internationally, offering comprehensive reader services, an internationally renowned fellowship program, online catalogs, and regular exhibitions and public programs.
1314 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (215) 546-3181 FAX (215) 546-5167
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