Philadelphia Library Company of Colored People

Philadelphia Library Company of Colored People

Founded in 1833 and incorporated in 1836, the Philadelphia Library Company of Colored People was established to serve Philadelphia's black community by providing a place of learning and intellectual exchange, much as the Library Company of Philadelphia served the white community. Its main objectives were to build up a collection of useful books on every subject for the benefit of its members and to enlighten its members on literary and scientific subjects. The Library served to promote literacy and public speaking among its members through a number of activities, including readings, debates, and weekly lectures, which were given by members and others. The membership fee was $1.00, plus a monthly twenty-five cents assessment fee.  By 1838, the Library contained six hundred volumes.

by Aslaku Berhanu


Porter, Dorothy B. “The Organized Educational Activities of Negro Literary Societies, 1828-1846.” The Journal of Negro Education. 5.4 (Oct. 1836). 555-576.

Wilson, Joseph. Sketches of the Higher Classes of Colored Society in Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Merrihew and Thompson, 1841.