Editorial: David Library’s move to Philadelphia a loss for Bucks CountyRoundup
tags: David Library, Colonial American history
Since its founding in 1959, the David Library of the American Revolution has housed an astounding collection of original books, manuscripts, letters and journals written by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and others.
It is an extraordinary cache of Revolutionary War history that has long served as a destination for historians and researchers studying the era. And it’s right here in Bucks County, in a converted farmhouse near the site of Washington’s famous 1776 Christmas Day crossing of the Delaware River.
That storied event led Washington to two crucial victories in Trenton and Princeton, which buoyed the colonists’ fighting spirits and served as a defining moment in the Revolutionary War’s early years. So Washington Crossing has always seemed to us like a fitting place for the Library.
Alas, at the end of the year, the David Library will leave Upper Makefield for Center City, where the collection will be housed in a new David Center within the American Philosophical Society’s library near heavily trafficked Independence Hall and the National Constitution Center.
We understand that this great collection, which provides fascinating insight into the birth of our nation, deserves to be seen by as many people as possible, and the American Philosophical Society library draws 130,000 visitors per year, compared with the 500 or so people who visit the library here. We also know that joining forces will help position both organizations for the future.
Yet we are still saddened by the loss of one of our treasures.
For history buffs living nearby, the library has offered much to be thankful for since the late Sol Feinstone, a Bucks County businessman, established it at Washington Crossing Historic Park then moved it to a farm on River Road that he ultimately donated to the library foundation.
In addition to being open to the public every Thursday through Saturday with no admission charge, the David Library has a conference center that keeps a busy schedule of lectures and panel discussions that are also free. This summer’s offerings include presentations about a plot to limit Washington’s control of the Continental Army, the experiences of neutrals and pacifists living in Philadelphia during the war, and the role of slaves in Washington’s life.
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