Salem Athenaeum


The word Athena means "Goddess of Wisdom" in Greek, which is a fitting name for this private library full of words of wisdom, the Salem Athenaeum. This establishment is the city’s first permanent cultural institution, created in 1810 but with roots of a beginning in 1760 when the Social Library and Salem Private Library separately conducted business successfully before merging into what this library is today. This contemporary and historic library is actually one of the oldest private library organizations in the United States and aims to preserve and excite literary and cultural passions in the North Shore Community.

Inside your group will see over 50,000 various historic and modern volumes of the greatest books and manuscripts. This collection works to enrich the lives of members of the library and surrounding community by lending, preserving, and adding wisdom as often as possible. This beautiful library building in the McIntire Historic District is maintained and enhanced, as well as its grounds, to be the most authentic athenaeum of its kind. Enjoy tours, cultural or educational programs, or any of the current exhibits, which have in the past featured such things as first edition Mark Twain books!