Two Weeks at the David Library

For the next two weeks I will be in residence (for the second of two visits) as a visiting scholar at the David Library of the American Revolution in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania. (Yes, this about a mile away from where George Washington crossed the Delaware River in 1776). The David Library has quickly become my favorite place to do research. The staff is excellent and hospitable, the collections are outstanding (mostly microfilm), and visiting fellows are treated to comfortable accomodations in a 19th century farmhouse that overlooks the Delaware.
But one of the biggest perks of being a David Library fellow is the 24 hour access to the collections and library. Since I am a night owl, I have taken full advantage of this option. I cannot tell you how freeing it is to work at a world class research facility without being confined to a 9-5 schedule. It is quiet here, but as Philip Vickers Fithian knew all too well, the pastoral life is very conducive to intellectual work. While I am here I am reading through the letter books of the Society of the Propagation for the Gospel, the Anglican mission to the American colonies. On July 12 I will be doing a book talk and signing for The Way of Improvement Leads Home.

2 thoughts on “Two Weeks at the David Library

  1. Phil: A 3am call slip! I like it! Has this ever happened since the rise of modern historical archvies?Actually, the David Library is all microfilm and books. They are kind of like the Mormons–they microfilm everything from Revolutionary War muster rolls to diaries (the diary collections of the MHS are here) to the papers of the Founders. Once the library closes to the public at 5pm, the librarians go home and fellows have the place to themselves.


  2. Brings back memories of working in the multiple archives Boston has to offer. I only wish I had 24-hour access to places like the MHS, or the Congregational Library. So, how many of the fellows actually work into the wee hours of the morning? And is there really an archivist on duty at this time of day, too? What I wouldn’t give to submit a document request slip to an archivist at 3:00am!


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