Membership with the Society
Do you know me? Once I received a Presidential appointment. Then, after a change in administration, the Secretary of State refused to deliver it. Sure, you remember him. He went on to become President. You see his picture on the $5,000 bill every time you fish one out of your wallet to pay for lunch. I brought suit and took it to the Supreme Court, but now I’ve faded into obscurity and the Ukrainian Embassy leases my old house. Why, if it weren’t for the Supreme Court Historical Society, no one would even know what I look like.
That picture to the right? It’s a part of a vast collection of portraits, busts and historical memorabilia gathered by the Society and the Court. The Curator of the Court uses them in educational displays, providing tangible links to the Court’s rich history for the building’s half million annual visitors. Preserving my portrait alone would be enough to justify supporting the Society, but there are so many more reasons to join, and you won’t have to pull out one of those Madisons to do it either. It’s a paltry $150—for a whole year! I look forward to hearing from you.
The Society, a private non-profit organization, is dedicated to the collection and preservation of the history of the Supreme Court of the United States. Incorporated in the District of Columbia in 1974, it was founded by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, who served as its first honorary chairman. The Society’s headquarters is located at Opperman House, 224 East Capitol Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20003. Opperman House has two important resources: The Goldman Library and the Membership Lounge. The Goldman Library has a conference table suitable for small meetings and luncheons. The books housed therein have been collected through the efforts of Professor James B. O’Hara, a Trustee of the Society, and comprise one of the finest collections of judicial biographies, Justices’ writings, and histories of the Court. The collection also includes materials relating to Solicitors and Attorneys General and Presidents of the United States. The headquarters also has a Membership Lounge, a meeting space located on the third floor sufficient in size for small receptions and luncheons. The Society accomplishes its mission by conducting educational programs, programs of interest to legal practitioners, scholars and historians and the general public, supporting historical research, publishing books, journals, and electronic materials, and by collecting antiques and artifacts related to the Court’s history. These activities and others increase the public’s awareness of the Court’s contributions to our nation’s rich constitutional heritage. At present, the Society has about 3,700 individual members who provide financial support and volunteer for service on its standing and ad hoc committees. These committees report to an elected Board of Trustees; the Executive Committee of the Board is principally responsible for policy decisions. The Chief Justice of the United States is the Honorary Chairman of the Society. The Society employs twelve full-time staff members and operates the Gift Shop located in the Supreme Court at One First Street, N.E. Information about the Gift Shop including hours of operation may be found by clicking on the Gift Shop tab of this web site. The Society provides financial support for the Supreme Court Fellows Program as well as staff support and serves as a fiduciary for the Supreme Court Musicale. The Supreme Court Historical Society supports its programs through contributions from its members, gifts and grants from foundations, corporations, law firms and individuals, Gift Shop Sales and a small endowment. The Society is recognized as a (501) (c) (3) organization by the Internal Revenue Service.
About the Society
The Supreme Court Historical Society is a private non-profit organization, incorporated in the District of Columbia in 1974. The Society is dedicated to the collection and preservation of the history of the Supreme Court of the United States.
The Society seeks to accomplish its mission by supporting historical research, collecting antiques and artifacts relating to the Court’s history, sponsoring lectures or educational curriculum, and publishing books and other materials which increase public awareness of the Court’s contribution to our Nation’s rich constitutional heritage.
“Much of the history of the Supreme Court can be found in memorabilia, art, and documents that have gathered dust for too long in storerooms and attics. Some have been lost forever, because of carelessness, or neglect, or the failure to appreciate their worth, or the absence of any plan to preserve them. I am confident that the Society will reverse that trend and will acquire significant materials and preserve them for future generations. Equally important, it will encourage research on all aspects of the Court and on the rich and varied traditions and personalities that are part of its history.”
Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, November 1974
How to Become a Member
Membership can be obtained online through our Gift Shop website’s secure checkout, please select your desired membership level below, or for information about becoming an Historical Society member email our Director of Membership. You may call us at (202) 543-0400. Members may also send by email change of address information.
Memberships are provided at four different levels depending on the level of contribution. Below you can select the level at which you wish to join.
- Student (ID required) – Regular Level: 50.00
- Membership – Regular Level: 150.00
- Membership – Contributing Level: $250.00
- Membership – Sustaining Level: $1,000.00
- Membership – Lifetime Level: $25,000.00
Your Membership Benefits
As a member of the Society you will receive:
- SCHS Journal of Supreme Court History — Publication of selected scholarly articles on the Court’s history, its members and those who have appeared before it. The Journal comes out three times a year and is illustrated with many rare photographs, engravings, and drawings.
- The SCHS Quarterly — A member-oriented newsletter with informative articles on the Court’s past, and timely announcements of Society activities and meetings
- Our Members are also invited to educational programs and other Society-sponsored functions throughout the year. The Society’s Annual Meeting includes the Annual Lecture, as well as a formal reception and dinner held each year at the Supreme Court. Other programs open to members have included lecture series on The Supreme Court and Free Speech, Associate Justices of the Gilded Age, President Abraham Lincoln, the Supreme Court and the Constitution and the Supreme Court and Separation of Powers. Members are also cordially invited to make use of the Society’s building, just behind the Supreme Court.
- Members receive a 20% discount on items purchased through the Society’s Gift Shop
The John Marshall Circle
In October 2016, The Society established the John Marshall Circle; a membership level open only to active members of the Society. Initial registration proved to be outstanding and we would like to once again offer this unique invitation.
This limited membership allows benefits such as one ticket and priority seating at the Society’s Annual Lecture and Dinner; two tickets to each of the Society’s Educational Programs; annual membership in the Society; recognition in the Society’s publications; and a very special gift of our Constitution Box. The limited edition Constitution Box features text from Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution and the interior is fitted with velvet fabric and trim that were part of the draperies that formerly adorned the Courtroom.
Members may get in touch with the Society at our headquarters, (202) 543-0400, to obtain additional information regarding membership in the John Marshall Circle.
Change of Address / Update Mailing Information
Members, to update your personal and business address or email information, please email:
Your contact information will be updated immediately. You may also call the Society at (202) 543-0400 and speak to a member of our staff.
The Supreme Court Historical Society is always eager to hear what you think. Please share your ideas and suggestions at:
Your comments will be sent to a member of the Society’s staff. Thank you for your interest in helping the Society improve its services and program offerings.