Junto and American Philosophical Society
In 1727, Benjamin Franklin founded the Junto (Latin for "meeting"), a society devoted to the progress and study of science. The idea for the intellectual group stemmed from the ideas of John Bartram, a botanist and a farmer from Pennsylvania. Franklin adopted his vision of a society comprised of a "most ingenious and curious men" and made it a reality. He was first secretary of the society, and Thomas Hopkinson was elected first president. In 1743, Benjamin once again refined the organization and its purpose, and the American Philosophical Society was created to "promote useful knowledge in the colonies." In 1769 it merged with the American Society of Promoting Useful Knowledge. The combined society elected Franklin as president, an office he served until his death in 1790. Interestingly, Thomas Jefferson (who would later serve as President of the United States of America), was his immediate successor. Since then, the society has expanded into an international institution, and maintains an extremely extensive library in Philadelphia. A great deal of this information was gathered from the American Philosophical Society web site, which can be visited at http://www.amphilsoc.org.
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