Introducing the David Center for the American Revolution

at the American Philosophical Society

The David Library of the American Revolution has signed a partnership agreement with the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia that will create an unparalleled single site for the comprehensive study of early U. S. history.

The David Center for the American Revolution at the American Philosophical Society will be established at the American Philosophical Society on South Fifth Street in Philadelphia. APS will house DLAR’s vast collection of rare and important documents, microfilm and other material from the David Library of the American Revolution. The partnership will:

  • provide for the long-term care and protection of the David Library’s collections,
  • permit expanded public access to the materials,
  • advance the current fellowship program to support long-term research fellows,
  • expand and enhance educational outreach, and
  • enable digitization of manuscripts.


The American Philosophical Society is the oldest learned society in the United States and was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purpose of “promoting useful knowledge.” Today, the society engages leading scholars, scientists and professionals in intellectual fellowship, including the facilitation of research of manuscripts and other collections internationally recognized for their enduring historic value. Its holdings on the American Revolution will be greatly enhanced by the DLAR’s collections. We believe we’ve found the perfect partner for the David Library as we seek to amplify accessibility and usefulness of our collections for generations to come.

This means that the David Library of the American Revolution will close operations in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania at the end of this year.

  • The David Library will continue to operate as usual until December 31. The reading room will continue to be open Tuesdays through Saturday from 10AM to 5PM.
  • The David Library will continue to welcome its current class of Fellows until the end of the year.
  • The David Library will offer a robust schedule of educational programs for the general public at least through December.


After a reasonable amount of time for moving and cataloguing, the David Library collections will be available to you at the David Center at APS. Eventually, once it is digitized, much of it will be accessible online.
The decision to partner with the American Philosophical Society and move to Philadelphia was reached over several years of discussion and analysis. The goal has always been to determine the best way to accomplish the vision of the Library’s founder Sol Feinstone, who hoped for ever-increasing access to his collection of seminal documents on the American Revolution.

The partnership is strategic.  By joining with the larger, better endowed and more comprehensively staffed APS, the David Library Board of Trustees ensures that the new David Center will have the professional, financial and technological resources to fulfill its mission long term.  Co-locating in Philadelphia will allow additional collaborations with such institutions as the Museum of the American Revolution, the National Constitution Center, Independence Mall National Park, and others.

The Board of Trustees of the David Library is tasked with determining the next life for its 118-acre property at 1201 River Road in Upper Makefield Township.  A significant portion of the property, 52.53 acres along River Road, has already been protected from development and will remain open space.  With that restriction, the entire property will be sold, and the proceeds will fund the future of the David Center for the American Revolution at the American Philosophical Society.

Please re-visit this page and follow the David Library on social media for updates on the transition and  plans for farewell events.  

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