Audio Collections

The APS Library has digitized more than 3,500 hours of digital material, the majority of which is Native American Linguistics.

Some of our audio files are accessible to authorized users only. Certain recordings are not accessible online due to copyright restrictions and cultural sensitivity concerns, but may be accessed in the Reading Room of the Library. For more information, please see our audio access help page

To learn more about the collection, and to hear selections, please visit the online Native American audio exhibition.

Native American Audio

The collections of the American Philosophical Society include hundreds of audio recordings made over the past three quarters of a century, including interviews with scientists, oral histories, and linguistic studies. The richest part of the audio collections, however, is associated with the library's holdings in American Indian history, culture, and languages. Inventoried in the online Daythal Kendall Guide to Native American Collections, most were recorded by ethnographers, linguists, or ethnomusicologists during the course of their research, often funded by research grants provided by the APS. The resulting sound archives comprise one of the largest resources in North America for documenting American Indian languages, some of which remain robust, while others, like the Wampanoag dialect, are represented by few, if any native speakers.

Graphics Collections

Graphics material

With collections concerning archaeology, linguistics, cultural anthropology, and physical anthropology, the APS is a rich resource of images depicting both the study of these disciplines and the people who practiced them.

APS Prints Collection

The Prints Collection contains a large number of engravings, relief prints and photographs. This collection includes portraits, political cartoons and land- and cityscapes, among other subjects.

Biological Sciences Images

Images related to biology, chemistry, bio-chemistry and zoology. Enjoying some conceptual overlap with the genetics images, this collection focuses on images of biological scientists, in both professional and non-professional settings.

Early American Images

Images related to prominent founding figures, early citizens, and important events, largely before 1840.

Eugenics Images

Images from the eugenics collections, including numerous photographs of eugenics exhibitions, winners of Fitter Families contests, examples of folks considered less fit according to eugenics standards, and eugenics researchers such as Davenport, Harry H. Laughlin, and others.

Franklin Images

A highly selective representation of images of Franklin, these images also include several items owned by or otherwise associated with him.

Photographs and drawings from the early and middle parts of the 20th Century that document geneticists in both their private and professional lives as well as their working environments.


The APS holds a large number of maps. The images here represent a selection. More about the full map collection can be found here.

Math & Physics Images

These items range from 18th Century engravings of physical observations, such as the transit of Venus, to prominent 20th Century mathematicians and physicists, both in professional and non-professional settings.

Medical History Images

Photographs and drawings from the early and middle parts of the 20th Century that document doctors and researchers in both their private and professional lives as well as their working environments.

Native American Images

The APS holds a substantial number of collections containing Native American images. These collections include candid observations as well as formal portraits.

Natural History Images

By virtue of the fact that its early membership was strongly committed to scientific discovery and understanding of the natural world, the APS features significant holdings depicting natural history.

Philadelphia Views

The graphics collections at the APS include several dozen images of the Philadelphia region dating from the 18th through 20th centuries. Among these are a nearly complete set of the engravings of William and Thomas Birch, along with lesser known engravings and works of original art.

Social Science and Humanities Images

The APS houses a large amount of material documenting developments in the social sciences and humanities, broadly defined. Included here are images as diverse as the Nautilus submarine North Pole expedition to the famed 19th Century spirit photographer Albert de Rochas. Images related to figures in such varied fields as geology, psychology and history are also included.

Text Collections

The text collections represent digitized manuscripts, books and born-digital files.

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The text collections represent digitized manuscripts, books and born-digital files. Additional context for many of the items in the text collection are avaiable through finding aids, which can be found through our Collections Search, or by following the "parent collection" links found with each item.


The American Philosophical Society holds Member Meetings twice a year. Many of the videos collected here are recorded presentations given at the meetings, and represent a wide range of topics.

For additional context, and to browse by date, please see our Webcast Archives page.