The American Philosophical Society Library & Museum

The Library of the American Philosophical Society (APS) is a 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 and Pacific now consist of over 2000 linear feet of manuscript material covering 650 different cultural groups, including over 3900 hours of audio and video material in 162 languages, nearly all digitized or born-digital. These materials can be located and accessed through the Indigenous Subject Guide to the APS collections.

In 2019, the APS endowed its Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) as a permanent entity of the Library & Museum devoted to reconnecting these legacy archival materials with the Indigenous communities to which they are connected, often forming ongoing partnerships with these communities and Nations, including co-archiving collaborations, and coordinated projects with community and allied linguists.

Center for Native American and Indigenous Research, American Philosophical Society