This year the American Antiquarian Society will be holding its 8th annual Adopt-a-Book event on Tuesday, May 5, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. This fundraising event supports the library’s continued acquisitions of historic material and has been very successful in the past, with over $100,000 raised to date. The funds help curators buy more books, pamphlets, prints, newspapers, and manuscripts. On May 5, guests will have the opportunity to view all kinds of material recently acquired by AAS, including a poultry advice book, a poster for a dog show and a newspaper published in Nome, Alaska. You can adopt in your name or in memory/in honor of a special person (or both, with multiple adoptions!). The event has become so popular with our members, fellows, local supporters, and staff, that many previous participants have already been asking the curators in advance for hints about the type of material that will be made available for adoption this year! Everyone has been waiting for the catalog.
And here it is! Today, we launch the 2015 Adopt-a-Book event with the online catalog, which will remain active through May (or until everything is adopted). Participants who wish to pre-adopt can do so now, direct from the digital catalog (and as an added incentive, entrance to the May 5 event is FREE if you pre-adopt from the online catalog, otherwise $10). So click on over and have a look at the 120 objects the curators have selected for the online portion of this event. Don’t worry if it seems like everything is getting snapped up quickly – we are always gratified by the enthusiasm our supporters show. And, the curators have already selected additional, exclusive, material that will only be up for adoption in person at the event on May 5.
To further tempt you, here are selections in the online catalog from each of the five curatorial departments:
Dime Novels were cheap thrills (costing, you guessed it, 10 cents!). Formulaic adventure stories issued in numbered series, they enjoyed an enormous readership from the last third of the 19th century into the early 20th century. These lurid pot-boilers reveled in all forms of criminality and outlaw behavior. They were often set in Western locales populated with outlaws and bandits; or on the sea with brigands, buccaneers and privateers; or on city streets teaming with scenes of seduction, criminal intent, and sometime even detective or police work.
This fantastical picture book was both penned and illustrated by Englishman William Roger Snow (1834-1907), who used the pseudonym “Richard Andre.” The poem is about two boys who pause from their boating adventure to dream about the past. The lively pictures match the poetry to note the first steamed potato, the triumphant ride of Joan of Arc, the winsome Helen of Troy, and even the curly tusked mastodons!
Photographs of people eating and drinking in the nineteenth century are uncommon. This tintype shows three gents in suit coats seated around a small table in a photographer’s studio drinking beer out of glass mugs. One man’s hat is on the floor and the central figure is smoking.
Kept by Melinda E. Field from 1849-1855, this souvenir herbarium contains specimens from Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut. The album contains 12 botanicals, mostly leaves, sewn neatly into the pages and labeled with the locations and dates they were found. A few loose specimens are found in other pages, having never been stitched down. The album features “Holly from Laurel Hill, Cemetery, Philadelphia,” leaves “From the Charter Oak, Hartford, Conn,” and “From a willow tree planted by myself at Fieldsborough.”
The Pioneer was the first purely literary magazine of California. It began January 1854 by Ferdinand C. Ewer who modeled the magazine on the New York literary periodicals, The Knickerbocker. It lasted about two years.
We are grateful to American Printing for their generous donation of the costs of printing our invitations for this event.