As with any work that attempts to cover a subject as complex as the history of the American nonprofit sector, many works by numerous authors were researched and consulted.  For those readers interested in learning more, I suggest the following:

Ahlstrom, Sydney E. A Religious History of the American People. [New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972]

Brooks, A. Who Really Cares. [New York: Basic Books, 2006)

de Tocqueville, A. Democracy in America. Trans. Henry Reeve. [New York: Barnes and Noble, 2003].

Friedman, L. and McGarvie, M. Ed. Charity, Philanthropy, and Civility in American History. [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003]

Hall, Peter Dobkin.  “A Historical Overview of Philanthropy, Voluntary Associations, and Nonprofit Organizations in the United States, 1600–2000.”  Appears in W.W. Powell & R. Steinberg (eds.), The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook – Second Edition (Yale University Press, 2006). An earlier version of this essay appeared in W.W. Powell (ed.), The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook (Yale University Press, 1987). Available at

Hammack, D.

-Ed. Making the Nonprofit Sector in the United States. [Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press; 1998].

“Nonprofit Organizations in American History”. The American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 45, No. 11. 1638-1674.

Kelley, T. “Rediscovering Vulgar Charity: A Historical Analysis of America’s Tangled Nonprofit Law.” Fordham Law Review. 73 (2005): 2437-99.  Available at

Morris, A.J. The Limits of Volunteerism. [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009]

Osborne, D. and Gaeber, T. Reinventing government: how the entrepreneurial spirit is transforming the public sector. [Reading, MA:  Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 1992]

Salamon, L. Ed. The State of Nonprofit America. First Edition. [Washington, DC. Brookings Institution, 2002]

Salamon, L. Ed. The State of Nonprofit America. Third Edition. [Washington, DC. Brookings Institution, 2012.]

Salamon, L. The Resilient Sector Revisited. Second Ed. [Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 2015]

Whalen, William J. Separated Brethren.  Second Revised Edition. [Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1968]

Woodard, C. American Nations.  [New York: Penguin Books, 2011]