Labors for the Good of Mankind: Hidden Collections in Science and Social Policy


The Academy archive reflects concerns of the nation's intellectual leaders from the eighteenth century to the present. Containing both formal and informal evidence of how important ideas developed during the past two centuries, the holdings offer rich material for intellectual historians, researchers in many academic disciplines, public policy experts, and for members of the general public interested in what their predecessors valued and how they thought. The Academy requests funds to preserve and catalog three categories of materials: the history of science, technology, medicine, and public health; American social policy and institutions; and international relations and global security. Holdings in each category span the history of the nation There are many hidden treasures among these manuscripts, transcripts, documents, rare books, and audio-visual materials, such as: The transcript of the exchanges between Asa Gray and Louis Agassiz on natural selection, considered the first Darwinian debate in America and currently available only in published synopses; Detailed accounts of Daniel Patrick Moynihan's work on American poverty; Records of the 1960 “Summer Study on Arms Control,” a formative meeting in U.S. arms control policy. Part of the project title--Labors for the Good of Mankind--comes from a 1796 letter from Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford, which is among our holdings in the history of science, technology, medicine and public health.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded

Year Added



American Academy of Arts and Sciences


  • Leslie Berlowitz

Collection Size

292 boxes, 500 objects

Date Range

1582 - 1985

Geographic Scope

The holdings in the three categories selected for this project are international in scope.