Tag Archives: graphic arts

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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: 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 ...

The Way to a Woman’s Heart—Or Not

map of woman

It’s an age-old question: What is the way to a woman’s heart? (It’s also a timely question, with Mother’s Day this coming weekend.) We often hear the way to a man’s heart is food, beer, or sports. To a woman’s, it’s usually said that it’s chocolate, jewelry, clothing, or shoes. If we dig a little ...

The Acquisitions Table: The Bookbinders Shop

The Bookbinders Shop. Philadelphia: P.S. Duval for the American Sunday School Union, ca. 1850. This image of the interior of the British bookbinding establishment of Westleys & Clark was issued by the Philadelphia lithographer P.S. Duval sometime between 1842 and 1850. A second, related print showing a ship and its furniture was printed by Duval using the same bordered ...