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Athenaean Society: records

 Record Group
Identifier: A04.37

  • Staff Only
  • Please use the Collection Organization section below to place requests.

Scope and Content

This collection contains records of the Athenaean Society of Bowdoin College. Catalogues of books in the Athenaean Society library, meeting minutes, and financial records are included.


  • Creation: 1817 - 1887


Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Biographical/Historical Note

Begun as a rival to the Peucinian Society in 1808, the Athenaean Society was said to have been founded by a disgruntled Peucinian who did not graduate. The literary and debating society was disbanded in 1811, revived in 1813, disbanded again in 1816 and revived again in 1817. An intense rivalry existed between the Athenaean and Peucinian Societies. Unlike the Peucinian Society, the Athenaean Society initiated freshmen in order to attract the youngest students and initiate them before they could be recruited by the Peucinian Society. This policy forced the Peucinian Society to admit freshmen as well. The Athenaean Society was the first to form its own library with books purchased from dues paid by inducted members. The rise of Greek letter fraternities at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century spelled the end for the literary societies. After a period of relative dormancy, the libraries of the Athenaean and Peucinian Societies were merged in 1880. Two attempts to revive the society failed. In 1886, the Athenaean Society was granted a bequest of $1000 by Samuel Hazen Ayer, class of 1839. Since the society ostensibly had ceased to exist, the bequest formed a book fund. The Athenaean Society had an annex scientific society, Phi Alpha.


4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Guide to the Athenaean Society Records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011 Repository

3000 College Station
Brunswick Maine 04011 USA
(207) 725-3288