American Philosophical Society

Philadelphia 2019 WTW Tour

American Philosophical Society

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, United States

Created By: Taylor & Francis Group


The first drudgery of settling new colonies is now pretty well over," wrote Benjamin Franklin in 1743, "and there are many in every province in circumstances that set them at ease, and afford leisure to cultivate the finer arts, and improve the common stock of knowledge." The scholarly society he advocated became a reality that year. The American Philosophical Society founded in 1743, published the first scientific journal in the Americas, The Transactions of the American Philosophical Society in 1771.

Greatly contributing to the Society's international fame was its participation in astronomical observations of the 1760s. With one of his telescopes, erected on a platform behind the State House (now Independence Hall), David Rittenhouse plotted the transit of Venus, thus attracting the recognition of the scholarly world. Until about 1840 the APS, though a private organization, fulfilled many functions of a national academy of science, national library and museum, and even patent office. Accordingly, chiefs of staff, cabinet officers, and presidents often consulted the Society. Jefferson, and other Members of the Society, instructed Lewis and Clark concerning the scientific, linguistic, and anthropological aspects of their impending exploration of the Louisiana Territory. The Publications program, which had maintained a journal and a monograph series, added a book series, the Memoirs, and a Yearbook.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Philadelphia 2019 WTW Tour


Leave a Comment



Download the App

Download the PocketSights Tour Guide mobile app to take this self-guided tour on your GPS-enabled mobile device.

iOS Tour Guide Android Tour Guide



Updates and Corrections

Please send change requests to