Author Archives: Lauren Hewes

About Lauren Hewes

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

Gen. Benjamin Butler and Shoo Fly Chewing Gum

ShooFlyTrade

This past winter, while hunting in the stacks for a trade card for a reader, I spotted this intriguing advertisement for chewing gum.  As editor of the Society’s Instagram account, I had been participating in an event called #bugginout, which featured posts by libraries around the world focused on illustrations of anthropomorphic insects.  These posts ...

Now launched: Adopt-a-Book 2015!

Ocean Rovers

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, ...

The Acquisitions Table: The Old Violin

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The Old Violin. Chromolithographic proof. Covington, Kentucky: Donaldson Art Sign Co., 1887. The Society has been working to build the portion of the print collection which focuses on the dissemination of fine art in the United States, adding engravings and lithographs after famous or popular American paintings. The prints were then sold to the emerging middle class ...

The Acquisitions Table: Quill Pens

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Box with Nine Congress Quill Pens. New York: Emanuel De Young, ca. 1850. This box of goose quill pens was purchased jointly by the manuscript curator, who wanted to add the pens to our holdings of writing implements, and the graphic arts curator, who wanted the box and label for the ephemera collection. De Young produced ...

A Saucy Valentine

Esther Howland valentines (in business 1848-1881)

This week, AAS was fortunate to receive a hand-made, circa 1830, valentine as a donation.  Society member George K. Fox of California presented the valentine to AAS President Ellen Dunlap at an event at the San Francisco Book Club celebrating the Society’s receipt of the National Humanities Medal. The Society has a large and representative collection ...

Tip of the Hat to Currier & Ives

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I was working at the reference desk recently, when our sharp-eyed library assistant Daniel Boudreau brought to my attention a volume that had crossed the desk the previous day.  A scholar researching the American newspaper publisher Horace Greeley had requested the item, which was a fully illustrated book made with lithographic images and text.  Dan ...

The People’s Choice: Prang Christmas Card Contests

Vedder card

Starting in 1880, the chromolithographer Louis Prang held an annual design contest for the selection of his color-printed Christmas cards. Prang, who is often called “The Father of the American Christmas Card,” helped to popularize the practice of sending cards in the United States after he made an 1864 visit to Europe. While there he ...

New Acquisitions: Early Bookplates

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The American Antiquarian Society has an extensive collection of pre-1800 American bookplates, with representative examples engraved by famous patriots like Paul Revere, or commissioned by founding fathers such as George Washington (left). AAS founder, Isaiah Thomas, had two different bookplates made by Revere and AAS, of course, has several examples of each ( below).  These ...

Photography: Printers at Work

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Recently, AAS purchased two photographs depicting American newspaper printers, one on eBay and the other at a local auction in central Massachusetts.  These images capture working men posed in photographic studios, holding props and tools of the trade.  When viewed with two additional photographs already in the collection, these portraits capture the likenesses of people ...

The Acquisitions Table: Home Again

home again

D.C. Fabronious after Trevor McClurg, Home Again, New York: W. Endicott, 1866. This large lithograph was printed a year after the Civil War had ended. Made after a painting by Pittsburgh-area artist Trevor McClurg who had trained with Emmanuel Leutze in Dusseldorf, Germany, the print shows an injured Union veteran returning to his home. The ...

The Acquisitions Table: Benjamin Franklin

ben franklin

Benjamin Franklin.  New York: J. Dalton, for the New York Albion, ca. 1860. Large format engravings were distributed in several ways in pre-Civil War America.  They could be ordered from a publisher by subscription, purchased directly through book and print dealers, or awarded as premiums for membership in an organization, such as the American Art Union. Many ...

Preservation Week Redux: Saving a Collection

Wohl4

Those of you who follow the Society's blog are aware that the last week in April was Preservation Week, a period set aside by the American Libraries Association to focus on the care and conservation of collections material. We take preservation seriously at AAS. The word is part of our core mission, in fact. We have ...