May 15th, 2013 by Elizabeth Watts Pope
Aristotle’s Master-piece, Completed. In Two Parts.The First Containing the Secrets of Generation… The Second Part being a Private Looking-Glass for the Female Sex. New-York: Printed for the Company of Flying Stationers, 1812.
Aristotle’s Masterpiece is a fascinating hybrid text. It used the veneer of a supposed classical author (Aristotle really had about as much to do with this work as the Pope did) in order to give legitimacy to its discussion of the culturally sensitive subject of sex. Printed under various titles for over a century in America (from the 1740s-1840s), sections were added, dropped, and changed at will, including a midwifery manual. Most notable in almost all editions are the illustrations of monstrous births, hairy women, conjoined twins, etc.
This 1812 edition is unrecorded, but about a dozen among the more than fifty editions of Aristotle’s Masterpiece at AAS bear the imprint “for the company of flying stationers.” Flying stationers were book chapmen who, alongside broadside and ballad pedlars, hawked their wares on the street. Elsewhere in AAS’s collections, an almanac for 1761 was described as “sold also by the country storekeepers, moving-merchants, flying stationers and old ballad-women.” This early sex manual would have had a similar street-level distribution system, although perhaps it was advertised more through tantalizing whispers than the usual street cries?
May 13th, 2013 by Jackie Penny
The March 2013 issue of AJN: The American Journal of Nursing featured on its cover a well-known AAS collection item – A Map of the Open country of a Woman’s Heart by “A Lady” published by Kellogg c. 1833–1842. Throughout the month of April, we received queries about this image from nurses around the country.
We enjoyed talking and working with them so much, that in observance of this year’s National Nurses Week, we compiled additional items to showcase the history of nursing. Celebrated last week to coincide with the birthday of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), these items – culled from the AAS archive – represent the print culture of nursing from Nightingale through 1876 which is the end of the Society’s collecting period.
To the celebrated nurses – thank you again for all that you do, and we hope you had a well-earned National Nursing Week.
May 8th, 2013 by Tracey Kry and Tom Knoles
Beal, Thomas.Account Book, 1809-1810.
Thomas Prince Beal (1785-1852), son of David Beal and Lydia Prince, was a lawyer in the coastal town of Kingston, Massachusetts. He married Betsy Sampson, and the couple had seven children. His account book, although short, reflects his professional life from 1809 through 1810. Arranged by customer and listing debts and credits, the volume shows Beal’s activity with insurance on ships. Entries include “To premium for insuring 400 dollars on the Minerva” and “Insured one thousand Dollars on the Sch. Jefferson from Kingston…” Beal also collected mortgages on homes and land. It wasn’t all business, however. Beal was also sure to make a note of books he lent out to Dr. Bartlett – Johnson’s Lives of the Poets and Savage’s Poems.
May 7th, 2013 by Kayla Haveles
“Good, good – now next time, keep the scream going longer and continue the dialogue over it. Let’s see how that works.” This was just one of many exchanges between the group of nine actors practicing a staged reading of the historically-based play Sockdology, and Jeffrey Hatcher, the playwright who was also serving as director. These interactions continued all afternoon as the group – most of whom had only just met each other that day – attempted to bring excerpts of a play to life using just their acting talent, no scenes, no props, not even the entire script.
This wasn’t my first trip to the beautifully restored Hanover Theatre on Main Street in Worcester, but it was quite possibly the most interesting. (In the interest of full disclosure it was only my second visit, but I stand by my statement.) The actors and playwright had gathered at the Hanover around noon to begin rehearsal for the performance taking place that evening, an AAS and Hanover co-sponsored public program called “Creating Historical Theater: A Dramatic Reading of Sockdology.” When I arrived an hour later, they were sitting in a circle in an elegant sitting room just off the lobby of the theatre, reading their parts with periodic directions from Hatcher. Aside from wishing that I could attend a cocktail party in this fabulous room, I was struck by the process going on in which a script became a performance, actors got to know their characters, and a director made all of the pieces fall into place. It was fascinating to see how an actor implementing a simple direction could make something funnier, more emotional, or more significant.
Once the rehearsal moved to the stage, an entirely new dimension was added to the practice. There’s something about an empty theater that makes it seem so grand, so full of possibilities. The performance, audience and all, was taking place on the stage itself, so that’s where we all congregated to continue with the rehearsal. I’d recently been to the Hanover for a great performance of West Side Story, and it was a bit strange to be on the stage looking out at the audience, seeing the spot where I had just been sitting as part of the masses. To think that this is what the actors see, but full of people, is humbling and gives a new appreciation for their work. Not to mention the deep orchestra pit in front, which prompted a conversation about the skill it takes dancers not to fall off the stage into it (although some did tell stories about those who were not so skilled at avoiding that particular “pitfall”).
But I digress. Being on the stage as the rehearsal continued, and into the evening as the audience filled the seats placed around the music stands holding the actors’ scripts, made the performance more intimate, in some ways providing a new sense of how the actors create their art.
Then there was the play itself. The quote that began this post was a line in the play Our American Cousin, and was likely the last line that Lincoln heard before being shot while watching this play at Ford’s Theater. “Sockdology” is a boxing term that means a knock-out punch or “the brutal end of everything.” Hatcher used this somewhat ironic historical footnote to create his play, Sockdology, about the acting troupe that was performing Our American Cousin. The famous line weaves itself in and out of Hatcher’s script, as time moves forward and backward, imagining the moments before, during, and after Lincoln’s assassination. It was fascinating to watch the contemporary actors take on the quirky personalities of these historical actors while also creating the feeling that just off-stage, in the imaginary Ford’s Theater, Lincoln sat watching this popular play unaware of the fate about to befall him.
I took a trip up to one of the boxes to put myself in Lincoln’s viewpoint – sitting in a box, listening to lines (albeit here intermittently) from the play Our American Cousin. The style of the Hanover only added to the ambience. Its lush drapery, gilded ceiling décor, and sparkling chandelier are everything you would expect in a nineteenth-century city theater. Lincoln or no Lincoln, if you’ve ever wished you could have attended the theater in the nineteenth century the Hanover is a great place to start.
But perhaps one of my favorite parts of the night was watching Neil Gustafson, the actor who performs our one-man show Isaiah Thomas – Patriot Printer about AAS’s founder, transform from Isaiah (we had done a show at an elementary school just that morning) to the bombastic and petulant orchestra director in Sockdology who just doesn’t know when to quit proposing to a girl. I’d only ever seen him as Isaiah, so it was fun to see him play a very different part, reminding me how much talent it takes to make Isaiah come alive for so many students.
Despite the short rehearsal time the cast did a wonderful job and the audience appreciated the discussion after the performance with Jeffrey Hatcher. He answered questions about historical accuracy, how he comes up with ideas for plays, and screenwriting versus playwriting. He was well-qualified to answer these questions, having written plays such as Scotland Road and Compleat Female Stage Beauty, the latter which he later adapted into the screenplay Stage Beauty. He also co-wrote the stage adaptation of Tuesdays with Morrie with Mitch Albom, wrote for the TV series
Columbo, and wrote the screenplays for the period films Casanova and The Duchess. He takes his historical research seriously. He conducted research for Sockdology in 1995 as part of AAS’s first class of fellows in our Creative and Performing Artists and Writers program, which allows artists and writers to delve into AAS’s collections and find new ways to incorporate them into products designed for audiences outside of the academy. Hatcher’s project was a prime example of the spirit behind the fellowships. His varied experience showed in his interactions with both the actors and the audience, and it was a real pleasure to watch him work.
All in all, this was one of those days I was thrilled to work where I do with the people I do. A little art, a little history, a beautiful setting, and interesting people are a mix that’s hard to beat.
May 1st, 2013 by Laura Wasowicz and Lauren Hewes
Bible Characters, Instructive and Entertaining Compiled for the use of Young Children (3rded) on a sheet with History of Haman and Mordecai compiled by a Friend to Youth. New York: Mahlon Day, 1837.
This single sheet printing shows the way in which multiple-page books were laid out (or composed) during the nineteenth century. Such sheets are rare survivors as they mostly were either made into saleable books or pulped if unused. In this case, two titles were laid out together by the printer to make the best use of the sheet. Both titles are illustrated with woodcuts of Bible figures including Adam and Eve, and Esther. Curiously, the tail piece to Bible Characters, which is illustrated throughout with toga-wearing figures in foreign climates, is a small cut of a very 1830′s steamboat at a riverside dock.
AAS has an edition of Bible Characters originally issued by New York Quaker publisher Mahlon Day and reissued with a new cover by New Bedford, Mass. publisher Charles and Augustus Taber. The Tabers also reissued both Bible Characters and History of Haman and Mordecai under one cover, and since this combined sheet was found in a New Bedford warehouse, it points to a definite connection between Mahlon Day and the Taber firm, a business relationship perhaps undergirded by their shared Quaker faith.
April 30th, 2013 by Kayla Haveles
This Thursday, May 2, at 7 p.m., Nathaniel Philbrick will deliver a lecture titled “Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution,” based on his new book of the same name. We’re particularly excited to have Mr. Philbrick here this week as the book’s release date is today, making his visit to AAS one of the first stops on his promotional tour! No doubt Antiquarian Hall will be full of energy and historical enthusiasm.
The award-winning and bestselling author’s latest book brings him back to Massachusetts and takes a fresh look at one of Boston’s most well-known events, the Battle of Bunker Hill. In this new examination of the beginnings of what would become the American Revolution, Philbrick weaves a tale with a vibrant cast of characters, some still famous for their parts in the Revolution, others long-forgotten heroes that reemerge here in their rightful places. Among the revived is Joseph Warren, a thirty-three-year-old physician who became the on-the-ground leader of the Patriot cause. Warren gave William Dawes and Paul Revere the orders to send out the alarm that British troops were headed to Concord; Warren remained in the city until the last possible moment, and was then elected President of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress even as he supervised the organization of the nascent Continental Army. Clearly the credit for choreographing the Revolution doesn’t belong solely to the likes of John and Sam Adams, John Hancock, and George Washington.
Philbrick’s story embroils us in the fabric of pre-Revolutionary Boston—a city of 15,000 inhabitants packed onto a land-connected island of just 1.2 square miles. The narrative includes the larger-than-life personalities and soon-to-be heroes, but it also gets down into the interplay of ideologies and personalities that provoked a group of merchants, farmers, artisans, and sailors to take up arms against their own country – no small stakes, indeed.
If you loved In the Heart of the Sea, Mayflower, or any of his other narratives, this is sure to be a wonderful introduction to the new book given by the man himself. We hope to see you there, as well as at our other public programs this spring!
April 29th, 2013 by Vincent Golden
The American Antiquarian Society has a large number of periodicals and newspapers of which only a single issue was printed before they folded. There are a variety of reasons for why this might be. Sometimes issue no. 1 is really a prospectus trying to generate interest and subscribers, but failing in this mission. Often it is due to something I call “hope over business sense.” Someone had a great idea for a magazine and put together enough to get the first number published, but he then had to face the daunting task of coming up with more material. Others misjudged the demand for such a paper or were publishing it in the wrong region. For most publications, we have no idea why a second issue did not come out. They just disappeared like a popped bubble.
Here are three examples of publications that lasted just one issue:
1.) The Gambler’s Mirror (Boston, MA). The only issue published came out in January 1845 and was edited by Jonathan H. Green. On the title page Green is described as “the reformed gambler, author of ‘Green on gambling:’; designed to expose the wiles practiced by the gambling and sporting gentry, and intended to warn the community against the evil tendency of their despicable habits.; illustrated by appropriate engravings.” The front wrapper has an illustration of two men playing cards. Both are seated on oversized dice and a barrel of rum is next to them. One gambler is winning all the money and is thumbing his nose at his despondent opponent. The articles include literary stories involving gambling as well as non-fiction ones aimed at educating the reader on the evils of gambling and how they can be cheated. The issue is 64 pages long and has woodcuts scattered throughout. No other issue was published. One reason might be the fact that Green did not have time to devote all his energies towards further issues as he was regularly travelling about lecturing on gambling.
2.) The White Man’s Newspaper (New York, NY). Issue no. 1 is dated May 1851. No other issue has been found of this anti-abolitionist newspaper. In the first issue, it boasted as having $50,000 of capital backing the publication of this radical newspaper. Apparently that was not enough as it disappeared as suddenly as it made its debut. AAS and Harvard have the only recorded copies of the first issue.
3.) Smith & Barrow’s Monthly Magazine (Richmond, VA). This is one of the latest acquisitions for the periodical collection, purchased at an auction in April. It is a Confederate literary periodical published with the goal of developing a Confederate world of literature independent of what was produced by authors in the northern states. Smith and Barrow were also trying to elevate the literary tastes of its readers by reprinting some of the best British literature being published (despite the blockade). W.A.J. Smith and H.C. Barrow had been partners since the beginning of 1864 and published the family newspaper Magnolia Weekly. The one issue of the Monthly Magazine was dated May 1864, about the time the partnership broke up over a dispute of ownership. This periodical died without a second issue being published, though W.A.J. Smith kept the Magnolia Weekly going until the fall of Richmond in April 1865 by taking on a new partner.
April 24th, 2013 by Jackie Penny and Kayla Haveles
If not, a PDF version is currently available on the AAS website. But that’s not what this post is about. This is not a post about digital surrogacy. It’s a post about good, old-fashioned printing presses (okay, okay, a 1995 press). While we undoubtedly advocate for the most seamless access to all-things-AAS, we still get disproportionately excited about phrases like “trim-size,” “prepress proof” and “collate & saddle-stitch.”
We all channel printer/founder Isaiah Thomas; it’s an occupational hazard – what can we say.
The March 2013 issue of the Almanac – which hit mailboxes a few weeks ago – was crafted, curated, created, edited, designed and printed in Worcester County, Massachusetts (we believe Thomas would have been proud). Its birth began right here in house at AAS. After gathering information and copy from each department, the editing – and inevitable heart-breaking cutting – began. As evidenced by our initial draft that ran four pages longer than planned, it is extremely difficult for an institution that loves both words and images to make choices about what stays and what goes.
Nonetheless, several drafts and many eye-straining hours later, we had our final version and were ready to go to press. This is where the really interesting stuff begins.
Printed, bound and mailed by American Printing and Envelope Company Inc., the Almanac was produced on a Heidelberg SM 52-6P Six Color Perfector Press (alas, the Almanac is only a four color job). This press runs 9,000 sheets per hour and is so fast that it actually required the Sports-Setting on the camera to be used to capture a sheet coming off into the press’s delivery.
The Heidelberg is an offset press – a relative of the lithographic family. With the Almanac, Endurance Silk 80lb paper is loaded in the feeder and quickly moves its way through the press where each unit lays down one color of ink from the ink fountains (I spoke to one pressman who still called it an ink ball – another Thomas-proud moment). Working to distribute the ink evenly, some rollers oscillate and others are stationary. It is the set bead of ink from the fountain which determines a uniform and crisp impression on the paper.
Pictured below are Almanac pages 10 and 7 on the CPC (Computer Print Control) station. This is where the pressman can manage and adjust color as needed to make the final copy look as close to the approved proof as possible.
The first issue of the Almanac in its newsletter format (in 1968) articulated the desire of the director to be in “closer communication” with the members and friends of the Society. Little – and arguably much – has changed since that first issue. The AAS Newsletter (retitled the Almanac in 1997) reports on publications, conferences, lectures, meetings, staff news, building repairs and renovations, members and fellows, cataloging and access tools and, of course, collections. We suppose our initial problem of simply having too much to include is a good one – it means there is a rich variety of activities, events, and news to share.
Although the Almanac’s informal style is somewhat ephemeral, that does not mean the quality or attention to its content, design, layout and printing is any less important or carefully considered. As a labor of love, it both inspires and requires strict attention to detail and painstaking design work.
This attention extends to the lessons we learned through the course of the process. Case in point, while working on the Almanac, we challenged each other to use the word “indicia” in a sentence. It’s harder than you’d think; try it. We also learned things about designing, prepress and printing that were somewhat alarming. (For instance, the Almanac has bleeds, knockouts and traps.)
Indeed, newsletter work is a dangerous business.
Again we ask, have you received your copy of the Almanac yet? You’re welcome to download it from our website, but if you are now channeling Isaiah Thomas, send us an email or give us a call. We’d be happy to mail you a hard copy.
April 24th, 2013 by Lauren Hewes
Archive of American Publishers’ Ephemera, 1840-1900, 216 pieces.
The American Antiquarian Society’s collection of American ephemera includes much material related to the book and printing trades, including bookplates, binders’ tickets, and trade cards for printers and publishers. A recent donation in honor of long time ephemera dealer and collector Joseph Freedman (who passed away in January of 2013), expanded the collection greatly. The new material includes over two hundred examples of printer’s bill heads, trade cards, and advertising handbills from large urban centers like Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, as well as smaller towns like New Bedford, Massachusetts, York, Pennsylvania, and Cincinnati, Ohio. These receipts for orders, detailed bills for printing jobs, and lists of supplies all help to reconstruct the vibrant printing history of the United States in the last half of the nineteenth century. Some highlights include an 1841 letter from lithographer George Endicott complaining to his landlord about a leaky roof, a bill from printer Augustus Kollner for book illustrations for a genealogy, an elegant engraved trade card for printmaker J. B Longacre, and an invitation to a typographer’s ball in Philadelphia.
April 17th, 2013 by Laura Wasowicz
Captain Gregg and His Dog.Providence: H.H. Brown, 1831.
This is a scarce copy of an adventure story about an injured soldier and his loyal dog who survive the perils of the American Revolution in upstate New York. I was able to successfully bid on this book at a recent Swann auction through the kind assistance of AAS member Joseph Felcone.
April 12th, 2013 by AAS Fellow Mazie Harris
As a Jay and Deborah Last Fellow at the American Antiquarian Society, I was excited to find a wealth of material related to my dissertation on photography and intellectual property law. The United States Constitution pledged “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing, for limited Times, to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” But it has often been difficult for American courts to determine how to accommodate visual forms as “writings” and to decide in what ways artists might be considered “authors.” When photography was introduced in the mid-nineteenth century, it proved particularly problematic to slot the new medium into existing frameworks of legal protection.
Until photography was granted a separate category of federal protection in 1865, photographers in many districts were able to apply for copyright only by registering their works as prints. But even once the new classification was available, distinctions between photography and other media were not always clear. I assumed from study of the copyright archives in the Library of Congress that the first images registered as photographs in the Southern District of New York were creative rather than documentary—their titles were Ceres, Sweet Sixteen, and Purity—but it was not until my residency at AAS that I was finally able to see copies of the photographs and learned that each is a carte-de-visite of an allegorical lithograph. Like the subjects of the images initially registered, photography in the mid-nineteenth century was in a stage of unfettered promise.
The wealth of varied photographic images in the American Antiquarian Society collections is an important reminder that inventive images were as prevalent as the documentary photographs favored in most histories of the medium. In 1868 photography dealer George W. Thorne marketed 370 portrait photographs—some captured contemporary celebrities while others reproduced painted or printed sources—as well as more than 450 “miscellaneous subjects,” encompassing titles which might have been photographed from life, such as Cats (“15 kinds”), as well as more imaginative options which were presumably staged or reproduced from other media, such as Angel’s Whisper, Convenience of Married Life, The Immaculate Conception, Mozart Before the Court of Austria, and Naughty.
But American courts wrestled with the rich variety of photographic forms and their close relationships with other media, struggling to determine whether photographic prints were translations or mere copies of their subjects. If a photograph was considered a form of translation, then reproduction of a print or painting would not necessarily be deemed infringement, but if photography was perceived as merely transcriptive, then it would be difficult for photographers to claim rights to much of what they produced. Further complicating matters, because painting and sculpture were not covered by American copyright until 1870, some artists registered photographs of their works in other media as a means of attempting to control circulation of their compositions, contributing to the
perception of photographers as conduits for ideas rather than originators. My dissertation tracks the ways in which mid-nineteenth-century photographers sought to assert themselves as authors rather than mere copyists, but frequent changes to copyright statutes left potential applicants in all media unsure of how best to guarantee protection of their compositions. I laughed aloud when I saw that a copy of the handbill Directions for Securing Copyrights in the American Antiquarian Society archive of Prang materials was inscribed and underscored “Don’t lose this” by an employee—a conspicuous reminder of the confusion which reigned in mid-nineteenth century copyright protocols.
Today, as copyright laws again grapple with how best to regulate new photographic technologies, looking back to historic attempts to control appropriation and circulation of images is a reminder that photography has long proven difficult to delimit. Photographs such as Ceres, Sweet Sixteen, and Purity are apt metaphors for the medium’s fecundity.
April 10th, 2013 by Lauren Hewes
Group of 100 pieces of American ephemera, 1830-1900.
In order to mark the Society’s 200th birthday, AAS member and collector Lisa Baskin took the unique approach of donating 100 pieces of American ephemera, including the examples shown here. The collection includes labels, trade cards, and tickets, and features a variety of printing styles, including letter press, lithography and wood engraving. Boat makers, dentists, and sellers of pickles, books, and safes are all represented. A set of trade cards for Fulton Street fish mongers is perhaps the most exciting, as on their versos the cards were used by a young boy to keep a diary in November and December of 1876. He records lighting the stove in school, delivering fish, and shopping at a local store for supplies, as well as breaking a window during a snow ball fight! Bicentennial gift of Lisa Baskin.
April 9th, 2013 by Kayla Haveles
Over the next several months we are very excited to offer a new series of workshops for K-12 teachers. First up is “The Emancipation Proclamation” on Saturday, April 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., led by prominent Lincoln historian Harold Holzer.
During this one-day workshop we will examine carefully the text of the proclamation, examine the political and social culture from which it sprung, and the impacts it had both in its own day and through American history. We will also be tying our study of the proclamation to recent popular culture by examining how the proclamation and the broader issues of slavery and race relations in nineteenth-century America can be taught through the award-winning Steven Spielberg film Lincoln.
The day will begin with a lecture/discussion with Dr. Holzer, who served as a consultant for the film Lincoln and wrote the official young adult companion book for the film, Lincoln: How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America, which will act as a guide for the day. This lecture/discussion will be followed by a series of interactive workshops in which participants will be able to examine first-hand a variety of historic texts and images from AAS’s collections. Investigating a variety of these primary sources relating to slavery, race relations, and the Civil War, and discussing how to use them effectively in the classroom, will be a major component of the day.
As evidenced by his role as a consultant on the film, Holzer is one of the country’s leading authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era. He serves as chairman of The Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation and is a prolific writer, having authored, co-authored, and edited 43 books. In addition to the official young adult companion to the film his latest book is Emancipating Lincoln: The Emancipation Proclamation in Text, Context, and Memory. (For more information about Holzer visit his website.)
As a nice complement to the workshop, Holzer will also kick off our spring public program series the previous night, April 19, with “Emancipating Lincoln: How the Great Emancipator Led, and Misled, America to Freedom.”
The cost for the day-long workshop is $60 per person (Worcester Public School educators can attend at no charge due to grant funding), which includes morning refreshments, lunch, and educational materials for use in the classroom. Professional development points for attending the session will also be available. For more information or to register visit: http://www.americanantiquarian.org/k12workshop
And keep your eyes open for more information on upcoming K-12 workshops!
April 8th, 2013 by Vincent Golden
In show business timing is everything. It is the same at the American Antiquarian Society. Sometimes you acquire a piece when a researcher is here and it is just what he or she needs. Other times you acquire an item and you think it would have been perfect for that person that was here the previous month.
A few years ago I went to an auction with Marcus A. McCorison, former President of AAS. One of the items up for auction was a bound volume of the National Magazine; or, a Political, Historical, Biographical, and Literary Repository dated 1799-1800 and published in Richmond, Virginia by James Lyon. The publisher was originally a Vermont printer who fled to Virginia and then later to Washington to escape debts. Mr. McCorison had published a bibliography on Vermont imprints and was very interested in the career of James Lyon. The volume up for auction contained issues not at AAS, but unfortunately I was limited in what I could bid. Mr. McCorison kept insisting I bid higher, but I had reached my limit and was the underbidder. He never let me forget it. Over time the volume appeared twice in other dealers’ catalogs with the price going up each time. As each one came out, I knew I would get a photocopy of the entry in the mail from Mr. McCorison with the price underlined.
Marcus McCorison passed away on February 3rd. About a month later a dealer offered me an unrecorded periodical called Franklin; or A Political, Agricultural, and Mechanical Gazette published in Washington and dated October 31, 1801. The publisher was James Lyon. Inside the front wrapper is a note from James Lyon about his difficulties publishing the Friend of the People (Richmond, Virginia) and having to move to Washington before subscribers received “the full worth of the sums advanced.” This periodical was published at the office of the National Magazine, Or, Cabinet of the United States, another periodical that Lyons was publishing. The Franklin included articles originally printed in this publication as well as material from other sources. This is issue no. 1 of the Franklin and may have been the only one published. No evidence has been found so far of another one being printed and the National Magazine folded less than three months later.
I wish I could have shown Marcus McCorison this periodical. I am sure he would have loved it. Sometimes the timing is just a little off. I will miss him and the opportunities of showing him new acquisitions.
For those who wish to celebrate Marcus McCorison’s life, a reception will be held in honor of Mr. McCorison for dealers, collectors, and AAS members at the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America book fair in New York City this Saturday, April 13.
April 5th, 2013 by Lauren Hewes
Tonight is the night! Come to AAS at 6 p.m. for the Society’s 6th annual Adopt-a-Book event! There will be food, drinks, original collection materials to view, and curatorial knowledge-sharing. If you haven’t pre-adopted it will be $10 to get in, but if you have, it’s free! You can still browse the 2013 Adopt-A-Book Catalog to view the 125 items up for adoption, but remember 50 NEW items will be available exclusively tonight. Here’s an example of one of the graphic arts items that will only be up for adoption in person tonight:
Adopt me for $50
This small broadside from a library in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, spells out the penalties for breaking rules (mostly fiduciary in nature) and also clarifies stockholders’ borrowing terms and how long books may be used at home. The rules end with a declaration set in all caps that there will be no smoking or loud talking or, most importantly, no indecorous conduct in the library. Not much has changed, really, when it comes right down to it.
We look forward to seeing you tonight!
April 4th, 2013 by Elizabeth Watts Pope
We hope to see you in the library in person tomorrow, Friday, April 5, at 6 p.m. AAS’s 6th annual Adopt-a-Book event will bring together book-loving research fellows, staff, and supporters for an evening of viewing historical material recently purchased by the curators, sharing a drink, and, of course, raising funds for the Society’s future acquisitions. You can still browse the 2013 Adopt-A-Book Catalog to view the 125 items up for adoption ahead of time, but remember 50 new items will also be available exclusively tomorrow night. If you adopt online, admission to the event is FREE, otherwise $10 at the door.
Munson, Laura Gordon. Flowers from My Garden. Sketched and Painted from Nature with an Introductory Poem by Mrs. L. H. Sigourney. New York: Anson D.F. Randolph, 1864.
Adopt me for $200
Acquired by the Society’s Curator of Books Elizabeth Pope, this book of poetry is interleaved with seventeen hand-colored illustrations of flowers. Poets featured in the volume include Lydia Sigourney, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Felicia Hemans. The volume is inscribed “Aug. 24th, 1865, Kaalaa, Nuuanu Valley” and also bears the bookplate of Jay M. Kuhns. Ka’ala is the highest peak on the island of Oahu in Hawaii and the inscription hints at the distances this volume must have traveled after being published in New York during the Civil War. Somehow the book made it across the Pacific where it was later acquired by Kuhns, a physician, plantation owner, and teacher of bacteriology at the College of Hawaii in the 1920s and 30s.
April 3rd, 2013 by Elizabeth Watts Pope
Leonard Deming booksellers’ stamp. In Jonathan Edward’s The Salvation of All Men Strictly Examined.Boston: Published by C. Ewer, and T. Bedlington, 1824.
Leonard Deming is best known to scholars today for being (along with Nathaniel Coverly) the other important purveyor of folk ballads and street literature in early nineteenth-century Boston and a prolific publisher of Jim Crow lyrics in Boston. One penny ballad, published by Demingand likely hawked by street vendors, contains sixty-six verses on “Jim Crow.”
In 1830, Leonard Deming advertised himself as a Boston book and ballad seller, but he wanted readers to know he could cut their hair as well. The booksellers’ stamp he included on the front free endpaper of this theological book reads: “Leonard Deming, books and stationary, ballads, songs & pamphlets wholesale and retail. Also Barber’s shop, at No. 1, south side of Faneuil-Hall, corner of Market Square, Boston, 1830.” The connection between books and barbershops may not seem a natural one to us today, but it was not uncommon in the nineteenth century.
The advertisement of one of Deming’s immediate competitors at the “South End Bookstore” demonstrates this fact. “James B. Dow, bookseller, stationer, and dealer in fancy goods, no. 362 Washington Street, Boston, (sign of the large book, near the Boylston Market.)” advertised his Boston bookshop as carrying “a complete assortment of articles usually kept in this line of business, of the best quality, and at the lowest prices.” These included, along with books and stationary supplies, “Cutlery” (including razors, scissors, and shears) and “Fancy Goods” (including tooth brushes). So the connection between bookstores and personal grooming was well-established. Perhaps this understanding of books as one of number of consumer experience options offered by the same purveyor may not be so wildly different from our habit of putting cafes and wireless hotspots in our Barnes &Nobles today? AAS Bicentennial Gift of John F. Gately, 2012.
March 29th, 2013 by Tom Knoles
Shortly after their arrival, new AAS fellows give a talk to the staff about their project and the sorts of sources they’re hoping to find. In her talk, current fellow Jessica Linker, who is working on her Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut, mentioned that as part of her work on women and science she was seeking examples of botanical volumes compiled by women, and even examples of leaves or flowers pressed into books.
Within minutes after Jessica’s talk, digital expediting coordinator Megan Bocian had brought her a box of leaves, flowers, and other items that had been found in periodicals in the course of digitizing over seven million pages for EBSCO’s AAS Historical American Periodicals Collection. Jessica spent the next few hours laying everything out in the reading room. In many cases the inserted items had stained the adjacent pages. We had decided from the outset to keep everything found in the volumes, but it wasn’t until later in the project that we began to track what item had been taken from what volume, something we had previously only been doing if an insertion had a clear connection to the volume it was in. For Jessica’s purposes it would have been preferable if we had left everything in situ and even to add information about the insertions to the cataloging records, but we made the decision that the resources required to catalog the pressed flowers and leaves would be better spent cataloging books, pamphlets, and other collection items.
As I say above we decided to keep everything, and we now have a very miscellaneous collection of objects that came out of the periodicals. The bulk of the insertions were leaves and flowers, but the scanners also found pieces of cloth, postage stamps, dead insects, newspaper clippings and scraps of paper, a bone letter opener, and even the preserved tail of a small mammal. And while we still aren’t able to truly catalog most of the items we find in books, our experience with Jessica’s research has made us more sensitive to the issue and it gives us an additional reason to value collection items at AAS as artifacts.
March 27th, 2013 by Tom Knoles and Tracey Kry
Haynes, Lemuel, “A Sermon Delivered at Rutlan West Parish in Vermont June 1805.”
Lemuel Haynes (1753-1833) was a highly influential religious and anti-slavery leader. Among Haynes’s many firsts, he was the first African-American to be ordained to the Christian ministry and the first African-American to receive a college degree (an M.A. from Middlebury in 1804). After serving in the Continental Army during the Revolution, Haynes began his career as a minister in Rutland, Vermont, where he remained for thirty years. It was during this ministry that Haynes delivered his famous sermon, Universal Salvation, a Very Ancient Doctrine: with Some Account of the Life and Character of Its Author. Delivered as a response to a lecture by Hosea Ballou on the doctrine of universal redemption, Haynes’ Universal Salvation stands as one of the most famous and reprinted works of religious satire. This copy of the sermon, in Haynes own hand, contains more than sixty textual differences and three deletions from the printed copies. Including this copy, only three sermons in Haynes’s own handwriting are known to exist.
March 26th, 2013 by Lauren Hewes
Due to the popular demand for “orphans” in our 2013 Adopt-a-Book online catalog, we have recently added twenty new titles for you to review. All of these new items are priced below $200 and the group includes material from the books, newspapers, children’s literature, manuscripts and graphic arts departments.
Here are two examples from the new additions that celebrate warmer climates and the arrival of spring (both things that we need here in Worcester, to date the snowiest city in America this winter!)
Orange you glad I’m up for adoption?
Adopt me for $75
Aurantia Grove, Indian River, East Florida. Springfield, MA: Clark W. Bryan & Co., ca. 1871.
The text on this circular promotes raising oranges for investment in the balmy Florida climate. Located northwest of Cape Canaveral, Aurantia Groves was typical of late-nineteenth-century Florida developments. Speculators bought up land and created lots for resale. Groves of orange trees were planted and could be managed from a distance, with a small financial investment. The circular lays out the details of prospective income and uses testimonials from previous investors as proof of success. They even quote Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Palmetto Leaves. An editor of a newspaper in Springfield, Massachusetts (where this circular was published) wrote glowingly of a Mr. A.S. Dickinson’s investment in Aurantia, which resulted in 100 boxes of oranges being shipped north in January and sold for 70 cents per pound.
A “Tweet” Children’s Book
Adopt me for $50
The Child’s History of Birds. New York: Mahlon Day, 1837.
Quaker publisher Mahlon Day (1790-1854) was among the most prolific children’s book publishers in antebellum America. This picture book features wood engravings of birds commonly seen by American children, including this description of the Cuckoo, the herald of spring. The description quotes from a poem about the bird from The Juvenile Album (also issued by Day).
Don’t forget we are holding our evening Adopt-a-Book event at the Society on Friday, April 5, 2013 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The curators will be displaying fifty more objects for potential adoption. If you have pre-adopted from the online catalog, admission is free to this event, otherwise $10 at the door. Come and hear the curators speak about recent acquisitions made possible through the Adopt-a-Book program, nibble delicious food generously provided by Struck Catering, and look over wonderful American books, colorful prints, and important newspapers and manuscripts. We hope to see you there!