Guidelines for Access

UPDATE SPRING 2021: The Academy Archives are currently closed for in-person research due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, the Archives staff is available for remote inquiries. Use the Contact the Archives form to submit inquiries.

Online Resources


These are inventories of material that has been arranged and described, and can be detailed down to the folder or item level.

To Browse — Navigate to the Browse the Findings Aids page and click on a link to open a finding aid. Hint: Use the web browser's Search on this Page function function to look for particular words, names, or phrases.

To Search — Type a search term into the box labeled "Search finding aids" and hit Enter to return results from all available finding aids. Hint: Put phrases in quotation marks for more relevant search results.


The Academy is committed to making more of its collection materials available remotely. Thousands of digitized images can be accessed through the finding aids. Select audio recordings will also be added as they are digitized.

Finding aids can include links to digital assets and transcriptions

Requests for higher resolution images and permission to publish can be submitted through the Contact the Archives form.


Select documents and recordings have been transcribed for better access. These transcriptions can be found in the finding aids (see above).

Want to help make more of these documents accessible? Visitors are encouraged to submit transcriptions they may create during the course of their work with Academy records. To submit a transcription, use the Contact the Archives form. Please note that transcribers will not be cited or credited at this time.


Since 1780, over 14,000 people have been elected to membership in the Academy. Basic information about each individual can be found in the Academy's online membership directory

Online membership directory showing Member Status menu

To Browse — Click the Member Status menu to select All Members (the default setting is Active Members), then scroll to browse the entire historic membership in alphabetical order.

To Search — Type a full or partial name or search term into the box labeled "Search members" and hit Enter to return results across all member records. Hint: To search for a full name, enter the name as [Last, First] in the Search box.

Requests for additional information on historic members can be submitted using the Contact the Archives form.


Since 1785 the Academy has produced several serial publications to promulgate its work and studies. Each of these titles—Memoirs, Proceedings, Bulletin, Records, Daedalus—are available through a partnership with JSTOR**. In addition, more recent issues of Dædalus are openly accessible through the Academy website.

Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Volumes 1 - 24 (1783[5]-1957)
Published between 1785 (not 1783, as published in the first volume) and 1957, the wide variety of topics covered by the Memoirs through the middle of the twentieth century mirrored the research interests of Academy members, including mathematics, the physical and biological sciences, medicine, the social sciences and humanities, business, government, public affairs, and the arts.

Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Volumes 1 - 85 (1846-1958)
Beginning in 1846 and continuing until 1958, the Academy published selective accounts of its meetings, elections, and other activities as Proceedings.

Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Volumes 1 - 69 (1948-2015**)
Serves as the Academy quarterly newsletter since 1948 and includes reports on Stated Meetings, other meetings, and Academy projects. The fall issue has doubled as the annual report since 2005.

Records of the Academy (American Academy of Arts and Sciences), No. 1958/1959 - No. 2003
Published as the Academy's annual report from 1958 until 2003.

Dædalus, Volumes 86, No. 1 - Vol. 150, No. 1 (1955-present)
The successor to Proceedings, this quarterly journal is the Academy’s main vehicle for the dissemination of research and ideas.

** There is a six-year rolling wall for access to certain Academy publications.

Usage Restrictions

Under current policy, only materials that have been processed (i.e. arranged and described) are open for research. However, when possible the Archives staff will consider reasonable requests for unprocessed materials.

Some materials are restricted due to type of time since creation. These materials will be marked as [RESTRICTED] in finding aids.

Similarly, information related to the Academy's nominations process is also restricted to protect the anonymity of the process. Finding aids and transcriptions will be marked accordingly.

Onsite Use of Materials

UPDATE SPRING 2021: The Academy Archives are currently closed for in-person research due to COVID-19 closures. However, the Archives staff is available for remote inquiries. Use the Contact the Archives form to submit inquiries.

General rules to be followed when using Academy records onsite—include but are not limited to—the following:

  1. All researchers must complete a Registration Form prior to accessing materials. Photo ID is required to register.
  2. Only pencils, paper, laptops, or tablets may be used in the Research Room. All other items must be stored in the spaces designated for that purpose.
  3. Food and beverages are not permitted in the Research Room.
  4. Researchers are required to fill out request forms for records they wish to review.
  5. All materials consulted must be handled with great care. Researchers handling materials carelessly will be denied further access to the collections.
  6. Researchers are held responsible for all materials charged to them. Materials may not be transferred from one researcher to another.
  7. Requests for photocopies or other forms of duplication are considered by the staff on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with the department’s photo-reproduction policy.

To request an appointment, use the Contact the Archives form to submit your name, proposed visit details, records requested, and a brief description of your research.

Photocopying and Scanning

Non-flash photography of materials for reference is permitted during in-person research. The Archives staff can also provide reproductions in a variety of formats for offsite research. Please note that the Academy reserves the right to reject requests for reproductions that are considered to be unreasonable (e.g. massive quantities, obsolete formats, etc.)

Photocopying — First 15 pages are free; thereafter $0.05 per black & white copy ($0.10 for color) plus postage

On-Demand Scanning: Low resolution (≤150 dpi) — First 20 pages are free; thereafter $0.25 per page

On-Demand Scanning: High resolution (>150 dpi) — Contact the Archives for details


To request permission to publish or exhibit an item, contact the Archives.

Materials should be cited using the following format:

[Item title, date]. RG [#]: [Record series], [yyyy-yyyy]. Archives, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Hint: Each finding aid includes a preferred citation for guidance.

External Resources

Collections of records that complement and supplement the Academy's materials—such as at Harvard, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Boston Athenaeum, et al.—can be located by searching the individuals catalogs of those individual institutions, or by utilizing an aggregator such as OCLC's ArchiveGrid.

Need More Help?

If further assistance is required, please contact the Archives using the online form or calling (617) 441-6128.