Strangers – Today

On this day in history, January 25 . . .
Since 1814, The Athenaeum has been visited by politicians, diplomats, scientists, and literary figures. Our guest book was traditionally called the Record of Strangers: each non-member, or "Stranger" was usually signed in by an Athenaeum member. Here are the Strangers who signed in on this date over the years.
Major Gen. [Winfield] Scott
(signed in by J. [John] C. Montgomery)

Tuesday January 25, 1820
Philosophical Hall
104 South Fifth Street, Independence Square, First Floor


Occupation: Military Officer
Residence: U.S. Army

Volume 2 

Winfield Scott, June 13, 1786 – May 29, 1866

Winfield Scott was an American military officer. He saw his first military action during the War of 1812, during which his success saw him rise to national prominence. In the late 1830s, Scott oversaw the forced removal of the Cherokee from their homes and lands in Georgia in what would become known as the Trail of Tears. In 1841, he was made the commanding general of the U.S. Army, and oversaw its operations in the Mexican-American War. Following the war, he was made lieutenant-general of the Army, the first to hold the title since George Washington. The Record of Strangers shows that Scott visited the Athenaeum multiple times, both in 1820, following his rise to prominence in the War of 1812, and in 1840, after his supervision of the Trail of Tears.

Portrait courtesy of Smithsonian Open Access — SourceSourceSourceSource

John Brown Francis
(signed in by Roberts Vaux)

Tuesday January 25, 1831
Philosophical Hall
104 South Fifth Street, Independence Square, First Floor

Politics, Diplomacy & Law
Education & Scholarship

Occupation: Politician
Residence: Rhode Island

Volume 3 

John Brown Francis, May 31, 1791 – August 9, 1864

John Brown Francis was an American politician. He was born in Philadelphia to a wealthy merchant family from Providence, Rhode Island, where he spent much of his early life. He attended Brown University and law school, though he never practiced law. Instead, he spent several years managing his family's business and estate before entering politics as a representative in the Rhode Island General Assembly in 1821. Francis then served in the state senate before being elected governor in 1833, a position he held until 1838. He subsequently served several more terms in the state senate, and one term in the United States senate. Francis was also involved in the leadership of Brown University, serving on the board of trustees for nearly three decades, and as Chancellor from 1841 to 1854. The Record of Strangers indicates that Brown visited the Athenaeum multiple times throughout his career.

Portrait courtesy of Wikimedia Commons — Source — SourceSource