Tag Archives: Christmas

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 ...

Christmas Comes of Age in Carolyn Wells’s Christmas Alphabet

Christmas Alphabet 1

Although Clement Clarke Moore is now recognized as the celebrated Christmas poet, early twentieth-century writer Carolyn Wells (1862-1942) expanded on Moore’s vision of Christmas as a season of wholesome family-centered celebration in her Christmas Alphabet. Issued by New York picture book publisher McLoughlin Brothers in 1900, the Christmas Alphabet weaves evocative verse and gorgeous full-color ...

Yes, Virginia, That is a Christmas Card

PrangMadonna

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 ...

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 ...

Santa and the Christmas Tree in Nineteenth-Century American Children’s Books

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Although we might think of Santa and an evergreen Christmas tree as inevitably wedded in nineteenth-century children’s book illustration, that was not necessarily the case.  Until about 1840, New Year’s Day was favored over Christmas as the family-appropriate winter holiday in the young American Republic, particularly in New England, where the descendants of the Puritans ...

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Council for New England Records, "The booke of Orders," 1622-1623.

At most non-profits, November and December are year-end fundraiser months. You are probably getting a lot of solicitation letters in your mail box, along with those stacks of glossy holiday catalogs.  AAS has several important initiatives underway, including donations to our Annual Fund.  This year, however, we are also trying something new. The Society’s curators have selected thirty objects ...

Christmas and New Year Musical Souvenir, Richmond ca. 1863

musical souvenir cover detail

This piece of sheet music in the Society’s collection represents a handful of Confederate imprints published by George Dunn and Company (printer) and written or edited by F.W. (Fitz William) Rosier. Even before official secession, and certainly after, the Confederate States produced their own government documents and publications; there were also religious pieces and education ...

Christmas Cooking, North & South – 150 years ago

We are going to brave the waters of wartime Christmas. In the next few days, there will be three posts examining Confederate-printed items in the Society’s collection. This season of festivities is also one of commemoration and reflection as we are squarely in the War’s sesquicentennial. A glance over the pages of the nation’s most popular ...

Santa, photographed

Some children would do just about anything to catch a glimpse of the gift-giving St. Nick on Christmas Eve – others have parents who would set up a camera and create a stereographic photograph to capture the whole visit. This image, titled “Santa Claus loaded for business” illustrates just such a scene. A bearded and ...

Christmas trees!

As the cataloger for AAS's Prints in the Parlor project, I've been working with gift books and annuals now for fifteen months. In that time, I've found few images that represent scenes of Christmas. This is surprising because many of the annuals were given as Christmas gifts and have titles that you would think have ...

The Acquisitions Table: Scripture Scenes

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If the holiday leftovers are still lurking in our refrigerators, we figure there's still time for one more Christmas-themed post, courtesy of Curator of Children's Literature Laura Wasowicz.   The charming engraving below raises two interesting questions you might want to mull over as you finish off the pecan pie.  First, where would Anderson have ...

Do you hear what I hear?

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Within the roughly 60,000 pieces of sheet music in the AAS collection, a devilish and spry Santa Claus waits for just this time of year.  At the first talk of Christmas, he appears, dancing on a chimney while playing the violin.  This 1846 incarnation of Santa Claus stands on the cover of the Santa Claus ...