Two Chips Off the Same Block

John Van Horne
cover of two chips
Special Publications

One frequently hears the phrase “sister institutions” used to refer to a pair or group of institutions that share many attributes. Colleges of a certain type can be sister institutions; The Seven Sisters come readily to mind. Likewise, libraries of a certain type can be sister institutions; both the American Philosophical Society (APS) and the Library Company of Philadelphia (LCP) are members of the Independent Research Libraries Association (IRLA), and we consider all of the 19 member libraries to be our sister institutions. But when it comes to speaking of just these two institutions—the APS and LCP—we can be more precise and indeed more literal, for the APS and LCP are sister institutions genetically as well as metaphorically. That is to say, both institutions sprang from the fertile mind of the same father—Benjamin Franklin. For 275 years these two institutions have grown, evolved, and achieved eminence in their respective fields.