Monthly Archives: July 2011

Samuel Cornish, John Russwurm, and the Early Black Press

In March 1827, Rev. Samuel Cornish and John Russwurm co-founded Freedom’s Journal in New York City. It served as the first African-American newspaper in the United States and commemorated the 50th anniversary-year of the first American anti-slavery statutes in the 1777 Vermont Constitution. One of their primary objectives in starting Freedom’s Journal was to combat ...

Ads during the Civil War Years

Civil War era newspapers were more than just sources of information regarding current events.  In the Boston Daily Advertiser, for example, nearly half of any given issue was devoted to advertising.   It was certainly not alone in this, though it was at least honest enough to include the word “advertiser” in its name.  Goods and ...

The Acquisitions Table: The Columbiad

Barlow, Joel, 1754-1812. The Columbiad: a poem. Philadelphia: Fry and Kammerer for C. and A. Conrad …, 1807. Rarely does one see “Papantonio-quality” early American bindings on the market any more, but we were fortunate to add this example to AAS’s celebrated Bindings Collection, which boasts the Michael Papantonio collection as its nucleus. John Bidwell has ...

Memorandum of a Dream

While sorting through a recent donation, I came upon an interesting item.  "Memorandum of a Dream" as it's titled, recounts a dream of a woman from Maryland in 1799.  What is so interesting about this piece is not only the dream itself, but the mystery behind it. Manuscripts can prove to be difficult, but at the ...

The Acquisitions Table: The Map of Man’s Misery

Ker, Patrick, fl. 1691. The map of man’s misery. Or, The poor man’s pocket-book. Being a perpetual almanack of spiritual meditations … Boston: Printed by T. G. for B. Eliot, [ca. 1710?] The only known copy of a newly discovered early American imprint. Patrick Ker’s collection of meditations, arranged in a seven-day “week” extending from childhood ...

The Acquisitions Table: Cassandra Swasey Stevens Diary

Stevens, Cassandra Swasey. Diary, 1856-1858. Cassandra Swasey (1818-1901) was the daughter of John B. and Alice Ladd Swasey of Meredith, NH. After her first husband died, Cassandra married Col. Ebenezer Stevens, a merchant in Meredith in 1846. This diary, which covers the period between 1856 and 1858, covers her daily activities. A recurring theme is her ...

The Acquisitions Table: A Sermon on the Trinity

Phillips, John. A sermon on the Trinity. [New York]: Sold by Mr. Mitchel, book-binder, Maiden Lane, New-York; Mr. Pike, store-keeper, John Street; and Mrs. Mary Davis, store-keeper, New-Brunswick, [1794] Third known copy of an unusual American imprint, as yet unreported to the North American Imprints Project (NAIP) or the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC). John Phillips ...

Raise a Glass to the 4th

In honor of Independence Day, I thought I'd take a look into AAS's manuscript collection to see how folks observed the holiday in the past.  Sure, it's all about barbeques and fireworks now, but closer to our independence the holiday probably meant something different to those who lived through the Revolution. Elnathan Scofield (1773 - 1841) ...

On the Poetry of Phillis Wheatley

With the publication of Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (London, 1773) [AAS online catalog record], Phillis Wheatley became the first published African American poet. Because of her status as a house slave in Boston, Massachusetts, she achieved high literary recognition in the years following publication. Prominent political figures like George Washington and Thomas ...