Author Archives: AAS Intern Susan Lydon

“Listen my children and you shall hear,/ Of the midnight ride of…” Dr. Samuel Prescott?

Each April here at the American Antiquarian Society, our thoughts turn to Patriots’ Day, a holiday which we celebrated last week here in Massachusetts. Patriots’ Day commemorates the famous battles of Lexington and Concord, the battles that started the American Revolution.  We envision minutemen firing muskets on Lexington Green and gun smoke clouding Concord’s North ...

“The buckwheat cake was in her mouth. The tear was in her eye.”: Early American Cookery and Women’s History

Ever wonder what Susanna was chewing on in Stephen Foster’s famous folk song?  Curious about how women occupied their days at home in early America?  Interested in learning more about the relationship between early American housewives and their maids?  Whether you are interested in the history of American cooking, women’s history, domestic history, or the ...

Behind the Scenes at the American Antiquarian Society, or What I Learned from a Tour of the Library

Did you know that a patriot printer named Isaiah Thomas founded the American Antiquarian Society in 1812? Did you know that the terms uppercase, lowercase, and stereotype originated from terms used in relation to early printing presses? Did you know that early printers needed to read backwards and upside down? Do you know why the ...

“Mother of the Valentine”: Esther Howland, Worcester, and the American Valentine Industry

Did you know that the American valentine industry started right here in Worcester in 1848?   That America’s first widely mass-produced valentines were designed by a woman named Esther Howland in her workshop on Summer Street?  That Victorians ate conversation hearts?  That Valentine’s Day greetings were part of a larger cultural debate in early America about ...