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an institution for the promotion of literary or scientific learning.
a library or reading room.
(initial capital letter) a sanctuary of Athena at Athens, built by the Roman emperor Hadrian, and frequented by poets and scholars.
Historical Examples

In fact most of our knowledge of the founder of the atheneum comes more from memories and traditions than from exact data.
The Friendly Club and Other Portraits Francis Parsons

Doubtless this served to swell the crowd when the convention met at night in the atheneum.
Makers and Romance of Alabama History B. F. Riley

The trustees finally took the lead in the establishment of a public library into which the collection of the atheneum was merged.
Historic Towns of the Western States Various

The strange experiences of his visit in October 1879 are duly recorded in the atheneum of the following January.
Nooks and Corners of Old England Allan Fea

Here at the atheneum they have the very sign-board that attracted the traveler to “Putnam’s Hotel.”
Peculiarities of American Cities Willard Glazier

an institution for the promotion of learning
a building containing a reading room or library, esp one used by such an institution
(in ancient Greece) a building sacred to the goddess Athena, esp the Athenian temple that served as a gathering place for the learned
(in imperial Rome) the academy of learning established near the Forum in about 135 ad by Hadrian

1727, from Latinized form of Greek Athenaion “(the temple of) Athene,” in ancient Athens, in which professors taught and actors or poets rehearsed. Meaning “literary club-room or reading room” is from 1799; “literary or scientific club” is from 1864.


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