Author Archives: Lauren Hewes

About Lauren Hewes

Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts, American Antiquarian Society

Reading into Valentines

This semester, AAS is partnering with a class from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, as students there learn about the production and popularity of valentines in America. In an upper level colloquium, Professor Laura Kalba and her students are exploring the connections between nineteenth-century print ephemera and the ephemerality of images in the digital era. "Be ...

Show the Love: McLoughlin Christmas Books

One year from now AAS will be opening the exhibition Radiant with Color and Light: McLoughlin Brothers and the Business of Picture Books, 1858-1920 at the Grolier Club in New York. The show will feature nearly two hundred books, games, watercolors, toys, and ephemera, all produced by the McLoughlin Bros. firm and their contemporaries. The ...

Boo! Bookplates!

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Each year as Halloween comes around, the staff here at AAS tries to think of ways to feature the spooky, scary, and creepy material in the Society’s collection. We have shown off our postcard collection and some fright-inducing stereograph photos. We’ve hunted for ghost stories, featured gift book illustrations of the supernatural, and peered into ...

Perfect Shadows: An Illustrated Inventory of AAS Silhouettes

Stephen Salisbury II, ca. 1870

The American Antiquarian Society’s collection of just over two hundred American silhouettes has recently been cataloged and photographed and an inventory of these profile portraits is now available via a new digital resource. Silhouettes were popular in the United States starting at the end of the eighteenth century. Profile drawings, profile miniatures, and silhouettes all benefited ...

The Acquisitions Table: Daguerreotype Apparatus

Daguerreotype Apparatus broadside

Daguerreotype Apparatus. Boston: H.P. Lewis, 1840. The technical elements of daguerreotypy were presented by Louis Daguerre to the world in Paris in August of 1839. By September, a technical manual, in French, was for sale on the streets of Paris and London. At the end of September 1839, an Englishman named D. W. Seager was in New York demonstrating the process, and he ...

The Story of Emily & Benjamin

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Earlier this year the American Antiquarian Society acquired an important archive of manuscripts and drawings related to American missionary activity in Western Africa.  The collection tells the story of a couple, Emily Griswold (1838-1906) and her eventual husband, Benjamin Hartley (1838-1912). Emily was the daughter of the poet and publisher Rufus Wilmot Griswold, who edited anthologies, ...

Time Stands Still in Collection of Family Photographs

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Recently AAS was delighted to receive as a gift a large collection of nineteenth-century manuscripts from the Pike and Wright families of northeastern Connecticut. The collection came in two segments, both the gift of Susan Pike Corcoran in honor of her Pike and Wright ancestors. Caches of family records are rich resources for scholars working ...

The Acquisitions Table: Life on the Prairie

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After Arthur F. Tait. Life on the Prairie. The Trappers’ Defence [sic]. "Fire Fight Fire." New York: Currier & Ives, 1862. Large folio lithographs by Currier & Ives represent the pinnacle of the firm’s production and were the most costly images that they issued. This image of western trappers setting fire to the prairie to act ...

Yes, Virginia, That is a Christmas Card

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In December it is traditional to send Christmas cards. We have discussed this practice on the AAS blog in the past and also have looked at the popularity of the New Year's card, something that has fallen out of fashion entirely in the United States. But one aspect of nineteenth-century holiday cards that we have ...

Game On: AAS’s Game Collection

"The Improved and Illustrated Game of Dr. Busby." Salem, Mass.: Published by W. and S. B. Ives., [1843?].

This past summer we completed work to make the Society’s collection of over four hundred games more accessible to our readers and the scholarly community. Christine Graham Ward, the Society’s Visual Materials Cataloger, created detailed records for each game in our General Catalog. These records include a brief description of each game, a tally of ...

The Acquisitions Table: Caution Requisite in Marrying

Caution requisite in marrying

Caution Requisite in Marrying. New York: Sold by E.P. Whaites, 1838-1840. This elegantly designed letter sheet features a spectacular border of flowers, foliage and moths surrounding engraved text by the English Bishop Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667) expounding on the dangers of marriage (“It is an ill band of affections to tie two hearts together, by a little ...

The Acquisitions Table: A Proclamation for the Encouragement of Piety and Virtue

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Province of Massachusetts-Bay. By the Governor. A Proclamation for the Encouragement of Piety and Virtue… Boston: Margaret Draper, July 23, 1774. This important broadside was printed in Boston by Margaret Draper, a loyalist printer who enjoyed the support of Province of Massachusetts Royal Governor Thomas Gage.  Gage had been appointed by King George in the spring ...