Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Acquisitions Table: The White Knight or The Rock of the Candle

Brother Joseph. The White Knight or The Rock of the Candle. (Brother James’s Library). Philadelphia: Henry McGrath, 1867. American Catholic children’s literature is rare before 1850, and The White Knight exemplifies the modest boom in Catholic publishing after the Civil War. The back pages contain advertisements for the Catholic Pocket Library, and books for parochial libraries ...

Frankenstein Book

Recently we acquired an interesting new addition to our ever growing scrapbook collection.  In 1869, Mary H. Hill of Nelson County, VA, somehow got her hands on a salesman's sample book and proceeded to use it as a scrapbook for her favorite recipes over the next decade or so.  What makes her book stand out ...

The Acquisitions Table: Travels by Land & Water

Barnard, H. D. Travels by land & water. [Hartford: H. D. Barnard, 1860] A very rare and unusual biography and travel narrative authored by 11-year-old H. D. Barnard, who also set this small-format pamphlet in type and printed it on an amateur press. Born in Detroit, Barnard describes several long journeys to Michigan and Wisconsin, and ...

The Cosmopolitan Lyceum

On September 23-24, 2011, the American Antiquarian Society will host a symposium titled "The Cosmopolitan Lyceum: Globalism & Lecture Culture in Nineteenth-Century America." This conference was organized by Dr. Tom Wright, of the University of Oxford. So what’s a lyceum, anyway? Throughout the nineteenth century, the lyceum—a scheduled public lecture that was intended to be both ...

Lucy Chase, Part II

Last week I shared a letter from Lucy Chase to a Henry Sargent, and promised more about it this week.  Here’s the letter again, as a refresher!   Any thoughts?  Well, according to those who have studied this letter, many agree that it is, in fact, a joke!  Knowing Lucy’s personality (her wit, her humor, and her ...

Featured Fellow: Carsten Junker

Carsten Junker, Assistant Professor of English and American Studies, University of Bremen, Germany Ebeling Fellowship Project: “Reading Affect in 18th-Century Abolitionist Debates” Professor Junker’s project examines late eighteenth-century texts that envisioned an end to the enslavement of African-diasporic people in the North American colonies and early republic. The struggle to overcome slavery was fought by many – ...

“Past is Present” in the Future

One of the greatest strengths of the AAS fellowship program is that researchers from around the globe, working in diverse disciplines (history, English, art, creative writing, archaeology, etc.), all live together just up the street from Antiquarian Hall. During their lunch hour and after being forced out of the reading room at 5 pm, ...

John Adams: Deadbeat, careless accountant, or the continuing victim of partisan politics?

Since last October, the project catalogers creating online rare-book level records for 1801-1820 imprints have been working on United States’ federal documents. Admittedly, some government documents are boring. But much more often than I imagined they have been a source of interesting, even surprising, information. Many documents, but especially Secretary of the Treasury Albert ...

My Dear Henry…you fiendish rascal

I have always found Lucy Chase to be one of the most interesting women represented in our manuscript collection.  Lucy was born in 1822 to a successful Worcester family.  She spent time teaching in contraband camps and freedman schools in the South, and travelled across Europe with her sister for 5 years.  She was intelligent, ...

The Acquisitions Table: Lewis Bradford Letters

Bradford, Lewis. Letters, 1817 – 1829 Lewis Bradford, a descendant of Governor William Bradford, and son of Levi Bradford and Elizabeth Lewis Bradford, was born in Plympton, Massachusetts in 1768.  Lewis lived his entire life in the town of Plympton, working as the town clerk for forty years.  In addition to his work, Bradford was a ...

Watch Papers at the American Antiquarian Society

This summer, Graphic Arts intern Dominique Ledoux, a student at Wellesley College, created an inventory of the Society’s collection of 464 watch papers. Watch papers are round decorative papers placed between the inner and outer case of a pocket watch to protect its inner workings. They also served as advertisements for watchmakers as they often ...

Log Book + Diary = Story of a Voyage

In 1849, the Cayuga Joint Stock Company of Auburn, NY set sail for California.  The company of men had their sights set on California’s gold, and established their joint stock company “to engage in mining, trading and such other business in the territory of California” according to the company by-laws.  For a nominal fee of ...