The David Library of the American Revolution will soon be closing the doors to is Washington Crossing, PA location. At the end of 2019, the library will be moving to Philadelphia as part of a new partnership with the American Philosophical Society.
The David was founded in 1959 by Sol Feinstone, a collector who specialized in historic documents related to the American Revolution, and opened to the public in 1979. Today, it is one of the most extensive archives of American Revolution history in the country. It’s holdings include over 10,000 reels of microfilm, one of the largest privately held collections of original George Washington letters, and documents microfilmed from the British Archives, unavailable anywhere else in the country.
Financial issues and concerns about accessibility drove the David’s decision to merge with the American Philosophical Society. It’s current location, on an old 118 acre farm, requires much costly upkeep. Further, most of its holdings are on microfilm. The technology to maintain the microfilm is becoming more difficult to acquire, and the David does not have the means to digitize the collection.
As part of the new partnership, The David Library will become the the David Center for the American Revolution at the American Philosophical Society. It will retain its own board and endowment, however, it will be staffed by American Philosophical Society employees. The partnership will allow the David’s collection to be digitized and be accessible online. In a statement, the David said that the partnership will ensure that ” the new David Center will have the professional, financial and technological resources to fulfill its mission long term.”