Foreign Corresponding Members


The Independent Research Libraries Association was established in 1972 in order to address the future of independent, privately-supported research libraries. From its inception, IRLA has dealt with common needs and aspirations -- how to preserve the precious cultural heritage represented in our vast collections, how best to serve the public and the world of scholarship, and how to finance and manage costly, fragile libraries that must survive largely without the security of public or university support.


Our nineteen member institutions have diverse origins, ranging from the eighteenth-century beginnings of the Library Company of Philadelphia and the American Philosophical Society through the mid-twentieth century founding of the Linda Hall Library and the Hagley Museum and Library. Some, such as the The Morgan Library & Museum, the Huntington and Winterthur, include major museum collections. Several of the nation's oldest and most distinguished historical societies are IRLA libraries. Many, such as the Newberry, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the American Antiquarian Society, are national centers of scholarship in the humanities.

Three common threads unite IRLA's members, in effect comprising the criteria for membership:

  1. our libraries house collections of national or international significance that are capable of supporting sustained research in a variety of interrelated subjects and of attracting scholars from all over the world;
  2. they are organized as privately endowed, independent institutions, each with its own act of incorporation or charter, its own board of trustees, and a full-time professional chief executive officer;
  3. their primary purposes are to collect and to make available the records of the past, to promote research in them, and to share those materials with scholars and the public.

For more information about membership, please contact Erik Rau, chair of the Nominating Committee at the Hagley Museum and Library. If you would like to know more about the needs and opportunities at the libraries in IRLA, please contact the current President of IRLA, Kathleen Salomon at the Getty Research Institute.

Research Centers

IRLA libraries have developed as centers for organized research and education. Scholars are served through fellowhips, seminars, conferences, institutes, as well as through such publications as catalogs, guides, monographs, journals, and books. Many collections are cataloged on nationally accessible computerized databases. The public is served through exhibitions, tours, lecture programs, classes, audio-visual and computer-based materials, and popularly oriented pamphlets, facsimiles, and books. Independent research libraries have become true intellectual communities.

Foreign Corresponding Member

In 1984 IRLA elected a Foreign Corresponding Member -- the renowned Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbuttel, Germany. The Herzog August Bibliothek originated as a ducal collection in 1572; by the seventeenth century its 130,000 items constituted the largest collection in Europe; today the Library contains approximately 800,000 volumes, most of them dating from before 1850. It includes many special collections, manuscripts, and documents in all areas of history and the humanities for the early modern period.

Independent research libraries are fragile treasure houses of our civilization. They represent vital elements in America's cultural heritage, and they make a unique contribution to the quality of American life.


American Antiquarian Society
185 Salisbury Street
Worcester, Massachusetts 01609-1634
Tel: 508-755-5221; Direct dial: 508-471-2161
Fax: 508-753-3311
Scott Casper, President

American Philosophical Society
105 South Fifth Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106-3386
Tel: 215-440-3400; Direct dial: 215-440-3403/5
Fax: 215-440-3423; Direct fax: 215-440-8579
Patrick Spero, Librarian & Director

Boston Athenæum 
10½ Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108
Leah Rosovsky, Director

The John Carter Brown Library
Box 1894
Providence, RI 02912
Tel: 401-863-2725
Fax: 401-863-3477

Canadian Centre for Architecture
1920, rue Baile
Montréal, Québec
Canada H3H 2S6
Tel: 514-939-7000; Direct dial: 514-939-7001, ext. 1322
Fax: 514-939-7032

The Folger Shakespeare Library
201 East Capitol Street, S.E.
Washington, DC 20003-1094
Tel: 202-675-0300/1
Fax: 202-675-0330
Michael Witmore, Director

The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Dr., Ste. 1100
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1688
Tel: 310-440-7482
Kathleen Salomon, Chief Librarian and Assistant Director

The Hagley Museum and Library
298 Buck Road
P.O. Box 3630
Wilmington, DE 19807-0630
Tel: 302-658-2400
Fax: 302-658-0568
Erik Rau, Director of Library Services

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-5699
Tel: 215-732-6200; Direct Dial: 215-982-2392
Fax: 215-732-2680
Charles T. Cullen, President/CEO

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, CA 91108-1299
Tel: 626-405-2100; Direct dial: 626-405-2114/5
Fax: 626-405-0225; Direct fax: 626-405-2289
Sandra Ludig Brooke, Avery Library Director

The Library Company of Philadelphia
1314 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-5698
Tel: 215-546-3181
Fax: 215-546-5167
Michael J. Barsanti, Director

Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology
5109 Cherry Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64110-2498
Tel: 816-363-4600; Toll Free: (800) 662-1545
General Fax: 816-926-8790
Eric Dorfman, President

Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02215-3695
Tel: 617-536-1608; Direct dial: 617-646-0520
Fax: 617-859-0074
Catherine Allgor, Director

The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016-3405
Tel: 212-685-0008; Direct dial: 212-590-0305
Fax: 315-533-4758
Colin B. Bailey, Director

The Newberry Library
60 W. Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60610-7324
Tel: 312-943-9090; Direct dial: 312-255-3600
Fax: 312-255-3712
Daniel Greene, President & Librarian

The New York Academy of Medicine
1216 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10029-9957
Tel: 212-822-7200; Direct dial: 212-822-7350
Paul Theerman, Director, Library and Center for the History of Medicine & Public Health

The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way
New York, NY 10024
Tel: 212-485-9219
Valerie Paley, Vice President & Director of the Patricia B. Klingenstein Library

The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations
Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street
New York, NY 10018-2788
Tel: 212-930-0674
Fax: 212-869-3567
William P. Kelly, Director of the Research Libraries

Science History Institute
315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Tel: 215.925.2222
David Cole, President and CEO

The Virginia Historical Society
428 North Boulevard
PO Box 7311
Richmond, Virginia 23221-0311
Tel: 804-358-4901; Direct dial: 804-342-9656
Fax: 804-355-2399
Jamie O. Bosket, President & CEO

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Winterthur, DE 19735
Tel: 302-888-4649
Fax: 302-888-4870
Catharine Dann Roeber, Interim Director of Academic Programs

German Affilliate Member

Herzog August Bibliothek
Postfach 1364
D-38299 Wolfenbuttel, Germany
Peter Burschel, Director

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Last Modified: Mon Jun 2 2014