Learned Societies and Historical Associations

These are professional organizations that exist to foster and strengthen academic disciplines. Generally, they are non-profit entities, host conferences where the results of research are presented, as well as publish or sponsor academic journals. Those featured here are tied to the study of American history or have some connection to the American Revolution. This page is sponsored by USA.

American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS)
Founded in 1780 by James Bowdoin, John Adams, and John Hancock in Boston, the Academy’s purpose was to “cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honour, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.” It is headquartered in Cambridge, boasting a membership of 4000 with several hundred foreign honorary members.

American Philosophical Society (APS)
Founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin, this is America’s oldest learned society. “An eminent scholarly organization of international reputation, the American Philosophical Society promotes useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications, library resources, and community outreach. This country’s first learned society, the APS has played an important role in American cultural and intellectual life for over 250 years.”

American Antiquarian Society (AAS)
Located in Worcester, Massachusetts, it was founded in 1812 as both a learned society and a research library. The library collections include more than three million volumes of books, pamphlets, newspapers, manuscripts and more. The Society’s mission focuses on collecting, preserving and making available for research all printed records in the United States of America from first settlement to the American centennial in 1876. Programs for scholars, students, educators, artists, writers, genealogists and the public are continuously sponsored.

Organization of American Historians (OAH)

The Organization of American Historians is the largest learned society devoted to the study of American history. Since its founding in 1907 as the Mississippi Valley Historical Association, the OAH has promoted the study and teaching of the American past through its many activities. The work of the organization is supported primarily through the contributions of its membership .

American Historical Association (AHA)
The AHA was founded in 1884; it was incorporated in the District of Columbia by Congress in 1889, “for the promotion of historical studies, the collection and preservation of historical manuscripts and for kindred purposes in the interest of American history and of history in America.” The Association brings together historical associations and historians with a membership of over 14,000 members and more than 4,000 subscribing institutions. Most are university-level faculty, secondary-level teachers, historians, independent scholars, archivists and librarians.

New England Historic Genealogical Society
Founded in 1845, the New England Historic Genealogical Society advances genealogical scholarship and develops the capabilities of both new and experienced researchers of family history by collecting, preserving, interpreting, and communicating in a variety of accessible formats reliable genealogical data with emphasis on families and communities connected to New England.


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“The goodly heritage of Americans in the nineteenth century is the natural ripening harvest of the seed sown in the seventeenth. The Republic of America, or the American Union, is the natural growth of certain fixed principles of civil and religious liberty”

Rev. Samuel C. Damon, Seaman's Chaplain. The Americans' Goodly Heritage: A Thanksgiving Discourse. Fort Street Church, Honolulu: November 19, 1866.
Source: The Friend: January 1867, Honolulu.