Monthly Archives: December 2009

Now Where Was I?

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If you were lucky enough to be the recipient of multiple books this holiday season, all of which beg to be read immediately, you may be in need of a crucial tool . . . the humble bookmark! At the Antiquarian Society, as books are catalogued they are checked over carefully by our staff and often ...

The Acquisitions Table: Scripture Scenes

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If the holiday leftovers are still lurking in our refrigerators, we figure there's still time for one more Christmas-themed post, courtesy of Curator of Children's Literature Laura Wasowicz.   The charming engraving below raises two interesting questions you might want to mull over as you finish off the pecan pie.  First, where would Anderson have ...

Do you hear what I hear?

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Within the roughly 60,000 pieces of sheet music in the AAS collection, a devilish and spry Santa Claus waits for just this time of year.  At the first talk of Christmas, he appears, dancing on a chimney while playing the violin.  This 1846 incarnation of Santa Claus stands on the cover of the Santa Claus ...

Type Findings: Introducing the AAS Printers’ File

Avis Clarke

Avis G. Clarke, cataloger-cum-researcher of early American imprints and printers, filled hundreds of AAS card catalogue drawers with the AAS printers’ file. Detailing the lives and works of virtually every printer working in America before 1820, the printers’ file is a masterpiece of indexing. Comprising 134 drawers of biographical, printing, and publication ...

Santa Claus Exposed

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AAS's The Children's Friend: A New Year's Present is one of just two known copies of the 1821 pamphlet.  Fifteen centimeters tall and eight pages deep, the paper-covered volume stood little chance of survival in the hands of generations of American children. But there was one family fastidious enough for the task, and by chance ...

The Acquisitions Table

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In 1834, AAS librarian Christopher Columbus Baldwin wrote: “Some philosopher has said that his unhappiest moments were those spent in settling his tavern bills.  But the happiest moments of my life are those employed in opening packages of books presented to the Library of the American Antiquarian Society.  It gives me real, substantial, and unadulterated ...

You say “Shah-vick,” I say “Chay-vick”: An Introduction to the Center for Historic American Visual Culture

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Inadvertently, three graduate students were responsible for the creation of the Center for Historic American Visual Culture (CHAVic). Two appeared at AAS asking if we had 18th century prints or lithographs of wedding ceremonies.  Another spoke of the struggle to convince her dissertation committee that a history thesis could focus successfully on stereographs.  Between the ...