What Did Our Country’s Founding Fathers Read?

Did you know that on April 2, 1790 Aaron Burr borrowed Volume 8 of the Complete Works of Voltaire from The New York Society Library, and that he returned it on April 7 at which time he borrowed Volume 7?  You would if you accessed the New York Society Library’s first ‘charging ledger’ which they recently put online.

The New York Society Library is the city’s oldest surviving library (established 1754).  The charging ledger records borrowing activity during the period July 1789 through April 1792.

If you are interested in the reading habits of over five hundred Society Library members, many of whom were prominent New Yorkers (George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, DeWitt Clinton) visit the website and peruse its contents.

The website also contains a short biography of the borrower, a fascimile of his signature and related links.  It’s definitely worth a visit.

-posted by Ed G., Reference Services


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