The Library of the American Philosophical Society (APS) is manuscript archive and special collections library that has been continuously collecting information on the indigenous languages of the Americas since the late-18th century, including the linguistic papers of Franz Boas and his contemporaries and students. From 1945 to the present, the APS has also been funding linguistic fieldwork through the Phillips Fund for Native American Research. The results of this fieldwork are added to the APS collections, helping to ensure that the APS also serves as an active repository for contemporary linguistic data.
The APS’s research collections relating to indigenous peoples and languages of the Americas now consist of over 1800 linear feet of manuscript material covering 270 different cultural groups, including over 3200 hours of audio material in 162 languages, all digitized and cataloged in the APS Digital Library.
In 2014, the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) was founded as a component of the APS Library devoted to reconnecting these legacy archival materials in digital form to the indigenous communities from which they came, and to forming ongoing partnerships with these Nations, often in collaboration with linguists and other scholars actively working with these communities.