Tag Archives: AAS history

Isaiah Celebrates the Fourth of July

Portrait of Isaiah Thomas by Ethan Allen Greenwood, 1818

Here at AAS, nary a holiday goes by without some reflection on how the same was celebrated in days past. On this Fourth of July we’re going to take a trip back 200 years and check in on how our founder, Isaiah Thomas, celebrated the holiday. In July 1814 the United States was in the midst ...

Who is that Book-Clad Man? William Jenks on the Science of Early American Antiquarianism

the antiquarian

This image, a favorite around AAS, is part of a series a lithographs that circulated in the late 1820s and early 1830s, depicting people as an amalgamation of various objects: shells, vegetables, paintings, and in this instance, relics. This graphic motif harkens back to the Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo, whose portrait heads made of similar ...

Spring issue of the Almanac is here!

2014March Almanac final_Page_01

We're excited to share the March 2014 issue of the Almanac with everyone. This issue has a feature story about a unique acquisition related to the Bay Psalm Book (the first book printed in North America), news about an extremely generous gift that is already having a significant impact on the Society, and a history ...

On the Road for AAS

The Los Angeles skyline at dawn during a recent AAS business trip.

A lot of the Society's staff travels for work.  We are a national organization and we collect material from all across the fifty states and Canada.  Curators travel to conferences and to visit collectors,  catalogers move about for training and to stay up to date with the latest methods, managers visit members, foundations, granting agencies, ...

The Annual Report: Not All Business

AR 12-13 1

Another year done means another Annual Report. For most, the phrase “annual report” doesn’t exactly elicit imaginings of stimulating reading material. But here at AAS we like to think of the Annual Report as more than just a business reckoning. It’s also a reflection of a thriving community—a learned society, if you will—made up of ...

Memorial Service for Mr. McCorison

A memorial service for Marcus A. McCorison will be held on Saturday, February 16 at 11 a.m. at United Congregational Church, 6 Institute Road, Worcester, Massachusetts with reception following at the American Antiquarian Society, 185 Salisbury Street, Worcester. For more information go to: http://www.americanantiquarian.org/mccorison.htm.

Remembering Marcus A. McCorison

As we began planning a lengthy piece on AAS president emeritus Marcus A. McCorison for the Almanac newsletter last week, we pulled photographs of him out of the archives for possible use as illustrations.  I was struck by this photograph: In it, Marcus is sitting in his office, which is now my office.  On the desk ...

Saying Goodbye to the President Emeritus

This past weekend we said goodbye to a dear friend and colleague. Marcus A. McCorison - librarian, director, president, and then president emeritus of the American Antiquarian Society - passed away on Sunday, February 3. He will be sorely missed. Although a more detailed homage to Mr. McCorison's contributions to the Society will be published ...

Celebrating the Retirements of AAS Staff Members

The 200th annual meeting provided the opportunity to celebrate many accomplishments and transitions, but among the most poignant were the retirements of three long-time colleagues:  Gigi Barnhill and Caroline Sloat (who retired this summer) and John Keenum (who will retire at the end of the year).  A blog post about Gigi’s retirement will appear in ...

Ours…to fight for

It is probably not news to readers of this blog that The New York Times recently, and favorably, reviewed the American Antiquarian Society's Grolier Club exhibition "In Pursuit of a Vision." But readers familiar with the two societies neither will be surprised that the AAS has exhibited at the Grolier Club in the past (in ...

Setting our own history straight!

The new copper dome

It’s funny (and a bit embarrassing for an organization that’s all about historical accuracy) when facts get obscured by the mists of time (and foggy memory) and then re-emerge with such clarity that one is left with only “Duh!” to say. For some time now – through all the planning and the fundraising – we have ...

When Ansel Adams came to town

Without a doubt, many amazing people arrive daily on the doorstep of Antiquarian Hall. They bring research early in its infancy, artistic projects, personal histories, obligations of library pilgrimage – all in need of the AAS touch. In 1813, Isaiah Thomas made clear the intent for the doors and collection be open to all who ...

Celebrating 100 Years, 100 Years Ago

As AAS gears up for the most momentous occasion of its bicentennial in 2012, I thought it would be fitting to take a look back in the AAS archives to see how we celebrated the first 100 years.  In 1912, the Society had just moved into its new (and now current) home at 185 Salisbury ...