Monthly Archives: December 2011

New Year, New Resolution

With New Year’s Eve fast approaching, it’s time to think about our New Year’s resolutions.  Resolutions are a wonderful way to reflect upon the past year, on the year to come, and attempt to bring about changes in our lives.  It’s in our nature to seek this kind of renewal – everyone likes a fresh ...

The Acquisitions Table: The Californian

The Californian (San Francisco, CA).  70 issues, 1864-1867. This bound volume of The Californian begins with the first issue of May 28, 1864. It was primarily a weekly literary periodical with some local news thrown in. Charles Henry Webb started the paper but Bret Harte soon succeeded him as the editor. One of the contributors hired ...

The Great Gliddon Mummy Unwrappings of 1850

While most people today are familiar with Egyptian mummies through various sorts of media — books, television, films, supermarket tabloids, museum exhibitions and the ubiquitous Halloween decorations —  people in mid-nineteenth century America did not have this same experience. To them, mummies were rare, mysterious relics, most often associated with the Biblical past, and few ...

The Acquisitions Table: The American Juvenile Pictoral Primer

The American Juvenile Pictorial Primer. New York: Edward Dunigan, 1843. Up until about 1820, The New England Primer, with its religiously inspired alphabet, account of John Rogers’s burning at the stake, and religious dialogues, dominated the American primer market. By the 1840s, secular primers like The American Juvenile Primer featuring pictures and large type became quite ...

Curwen’s Calendar, Part II

Last week I shared some letters from the Curwen Family Papers showcasing the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.  The colonies officially made the change in 1752, yet some letters in the Curwen Family Papers exhibited the switch previous to the official change.  Why the early appearance of these dates?  The change was ...

The Acquisitions Table: Allan’s Lone Star Ballads

Allan, Francis D. Allan’s Lone Star ballads. A collection of Southern patriotic songs, made during Confederate times. Galveston: J.D. Sawyer, 1874. First obtainable edition of this important Confederate and Texas songster; Allan had previous issued a much shorter compilation in 1863, now extremely rare. In his preface, Allan explains that during the Civil War he assiduously ...

Prints for a Different Parlor

Disclaimer: This post contains adult content. If there are any children reading this blog, or anyone else who wishes to avoid the "hidden" side of the 19th century, this post isn't for you. But for the rest of our readers, we could use your help learning more about a new acquisition. The AAS curator of graphic ...

The only book you’ll ever need

According to its preface, A New Academy of Compliments: or, Complete Secretary “is a book full of variety, and many things not found in any other.”  Without a doubt, this is the most eclectic book to have crossed my desk during many years as a cataloger.  It begins with directions for composing letters using examples addressed ...

Curwen’s Calendar

The Curwen Family Papers represents one of the earliest collections in the manuscript department.  This collection, which includes material from 1637 through 1808, provides an insightful look into pre-revolutionary America.  Samuel Curwen, the main player in this collection, was a Harvard graduate, class of 1735, a trader in Salem, Massachusetts, and a Tory.  When his ...