The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen
The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York was founded as a charitable organization in 1785 to provide cultural, educational, and social services to families of skilled craftsmen. Today, this 230 -year old organization continues to serve and improve the quality of life of the people of the City of New York through its educational, philanthropic and cultural programs including its tuition-free Mechanics' Institute, The General Society Library, and its nearly two century-old Lecture Series.
In 1820, The General Society opened one of the City's first free schools as well as the Apprentices' Library. The school, which became the Mechanics' Institute in 1858, continues to provide tuition-free evening instruction in trades-related education and provides a unique service to improve job opportunities for New Yorkers in the building and construction industry. It also provides a trained workforce for the building and construction industry. Without a tuition-free education, many of our students wouldbe unable to get the technical education needed to advance in today's environment.