Author Archives: Tracey Kry

About Tracey Kry

Assistant Curator of Manuscripts and Assistant Reference Librarian, American Antiquarian Society

Behind the Red Tape at AAS

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Although we’re not often thought of as a legal repository, we do have a few famous firsts to claim in the realm of legal research.  In our manuscript collection lives the notebook of Thomas Lechford, 1638-1641, the first lawyer in Boston.  AAS was also the first government documents repository.  In 1814, in an effort to ...

The Acquisitions Table: Connecticut Indictments

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Connecticut Indictments, 1742-1781. These five indictments from Connecticut are illustrative of the colony and state’s strict laws. The indictments, which describe the incidents and are signed by witnesses, show a variety of transgressions taking place in Norwich and Durham, Connecticut, starting in the mid-eighteenth century. Among the offenses are consuming alcohol, the use of profanity, fighting, playing ...

The Acquisitions Table: Newell Family Papers

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Newell Family Papers, 1817-1925. Robert Ralsten Newell (1843 – 1883) left Harvard College in 1863 to join the Union Army as second lieutenant for the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first northern regiment of African American soldiers. He was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant, then captain. He was discharged in 1865, returned to Harvard ...

The Acquisitions Table: Elliot Cowdin Letterpress Copy Book

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Cowdin, Elliot.  Letterpress Copy Book, 1861-1869. Elliot C. Cowdin (1819-1880) was a well-known merchant in New York.  As a young man he was greatly involved with the Mercantile Library Association, where he learned much about his trade.  Later in life he became involved in politics, especially during the Civil War.  This letterpress copy book contains copies ...

Abby Goes Digital

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AAS is excited to announce the launch of an important new digital resource.  In partnership with the Worcester Historical Museum, AAS has digitized both the Worcester Historical Museum’s and our own collection of Abby Kelley Foster Papers.  Foster was a noted mid-nineteenth-century reformer, involved in both the anti-slavery and women’s rights movements.  Both AAS and ...

The Acquisitions Table: Small Family Papers

Small Family Papers, 1820-1905. The Small family resided in the town of Hiram, Maine. According to the 1850 census, the Small household was anything but. The head of the house, Daniel Small (1800-1877), is listed as a cooper. According to correspondence in the collection, he also served as an agent of the Hiram school district. He ...

The Acquisitions Table: Horoscope

Horoscope, Philadelphia, March 1850. A rare find for the manuscripts department is this hand written horoscope, or “nativitie,” The four page document features a chart mapping out alignments of planets and the moon. The astrologer gives the twenty-three year old subject details about his character, general fortune on specific days and months, and children – “you ...

“Hollow Eve” pranks, 19th century style

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For those that are sad to see the holiday pass, here's one last dose of Halloween for you.  Today we are featuring a letter found by one of our volunteers while processing a new manuscript collection, the White Family Papers.  John White, the patriarch of the wealthy West Boylston family, was a pioneer in textile ...