Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
The Constitution of the Mutual Literary Society , 1810s

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, November 2011

Summary Information
Title: The Constitution of the Mutual Literary Society
Creator: Mutual Literary Society
Inclusive dates: 1810s
Extent: 1 volume
This copy of The Constitution of the Mutual Literary Society , once owned by John Amedey, outlines the official procedures for the society, founded in the 1810s. The society was intended to promote debate and discussion about scientific advances and other subjects.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1992. M-2784.4.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

The Constitution of the Mutual Literary Society , William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Lot Stoddard, John Kingman, Jr., John Amedey, and Josiah Waterman led an initiative to found the Mutual Literary Society in the 1810s, to discuss scientific advancements and other subjects. At its inception, the society had 11 members; at least one, Duncan M. B. Thaxter, Jr., lived in Hingham, Massachusetts.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This copy of The Constitution of the Mutual Literary Society (15 pages), once owned by John Amedey, outlines the group's official procedures, values, and purpose. The Mutual Literary Society, founded in the 1810s, was intended to encourage "Scientific Improvement" through orations, essays, and other compositions, composed and discussed by the group's members. In addition to describing the roles of a president, vice president, and secretary, the constitution establishes an "inspector of composition" to collect written exercises and offer candid critiques and critical remarks. Though the society operated primarily as a means for the expression of opinion through written and oral debate, the constitution prohibits discussions on politics and religion, as well as the use of "all profane and vulgar language." Fines could be levied on members for tardiness or for revealing the club's secrets. Other procedures include processes for approving new members and for amending the constitution. The names of the Mutual Literary Society's original 11 members appear at the end of the document.

Subject Terms

    • Learned institutions and societies--Massachusetts.
    • Literature--Societies, etc.
    • Societies--History, organization, etc.
    • Amedey, John.
    • Kingman, John, Jr.
    • Stoddard, Lot.
    • Waterman, Isaiah.
    Genre Terms:
    • Constitutions.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    The Constitution of the Mutual Literary Society ,  1810s [series]