Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Acquisitions Table: Levi Ballou Commonplace Book

Ballou, Levi, Commonplace Book, 1831-1840. Levi Ballou (1806-1865) was born in Halifax, Vermont.  After studying theology with his brother William S. Ballou, Levi became a minister in Orange, Massachusetts in 1843. These fascicles contain poems and prose extracts, almost all of which appear to have been copied by Levi Ballou from a variety of sources. The majority ...

Our Need, Now an Employment Opportunity

On March 30-31, 2012, as part of our bicentennial programming, AAS hosted a symposium titled “Research Libraries in the Digital Age: Needs and Opportunities.” This symposium was intended to provide the AAS Council and staff with a set of perspectives that would help inform its vision of how AAS can best position itself to remain ...

The Acquisitions Table: Grandmamma Easy’s Joseph and His Brethren

Grandmamma Easy’s Joseph and His Brethren. Albany: William B. Sprague, Jr., ca. 1840-1860. This picture book history of the Old Testament hero Joseph gives the modern reader a precious glance into popular mid-nineteenth-century American iconography portraying the Middle East. Jacob’s family is seen here nestled among palm trees, pyramids, and obelisks, with camels in tow.  Albany ...

Video Modules Enliven AAS Website

Whenever you create a movie you always shoot more footage than you can actually use. When we created our new orientation film describing the Society as part of our bicentennial celebrations last year, we decided to put the extra footage we had created to good use by creating five short video modules and embedding them ...

Identifying the Unidentified, Part I

Former AAS intern Lucia Ferguson (Smith College) worked with a manuscript collection of unidentified diaries.  Her charge?  Identify the diarist.  Lucia was very successful with one particular volume, which she discovered belonged to a young man named Henry Martin.  Although no last name was listed anywhere in the volume, a poem from the diarist’s sweetheart ...

A Day with the National Park Service

For museum and park enthusiasts, the green and gray uniforms of the National Park Service (NPS) symbolize respect, knowledge, and public service. They’re recognizable and serve as a reminder of the continuing preservation of our national heritage and landscape. But all too often people only associate the NPS with the large outdoor wildlife parks such ...

Happy New Year!

As many scholars of American history are aware, for many decades before 1840 the largest winter holiday in the nation was New Year’s Day, not Christmas.  Christmas was perceived by many Protestant Americans as too closely linked to Catholicism.  New Year’s Day, on the other hand, was a secular family holiday often marked by travel ...

The Tempest Over “The Baby’s Opera”

Nineteenth-century American publisher McLoughlin Brothers pioneered the use of chromolithography in the production of color picture books starting in the 1860s.  Until that point, most children’s books were illustrated with wood engravings that were locked into the printing press form along with set type.  Coloring these images generally entailed using hand-colored stencils or employing a ...