Monthly Archives: February 2010

In the Bleak Mid-winter

J.Henry Whittemore, composer, Footprints on the Snow, Detroit: Calvert & Co. Lithographers, 1866. The first stanza of this song records a young man stepping out after a snowfall and finding a woman’s footprints in the snow outside his door. Naturally, true love ensues! He sings: “I gazed with admiration on the trim and tiny marks, and felt within my bosom kindling love’s bewitching sparks,”

In the cold of a New England winter, it is easy to feel sorry for one’s self as the grey clouds of January barely dissipate in the low light of February’s early gloam. Some believe that the best way to tackle winter is to embrace it, and so the Graphic Arts department offers for your ...

Typefindings: Good Old College Days


Today's university may be in need of a revolution of its own, what with its failure to create true interdisciplinary conversation and its isolation from the wider public.  The late eighteenth-century college did not exist in such isolation from the people, though few colleges became hotbeds of revolutionary activity during the war like Queen's College (now Rutgers University). ...

The Acquisitions Table: More Slates


In my last post ("The Acquisitions Table: Matters Bibliopegistical") I promised a curious story of synchronicity.  Readers may recall Curator of Graphic Arts' Lauren Hewes's January 27 entry "Slate, before the hype" about writing slates in the AAS collections.  (If you didn't read it, go ahead and do so now.  I'll be here when you ...

Mark Your Calendars for a Week from Today

William Wells Brown: A ReaderWilliam Wells Brown: A Reader

Thursday, February 25 – 7:30 p.m. at the American Antiquarian Society
Researching and Writing African American Biography: The Life of William Wells Brown
by Ezra Greenspan

William Wells Brown: A Reader Prof. Greenspan’s illustrated talk combines two stories: a narrative of the life of the most prolific and pioneering African American writer of the nineteenth century, and an account of a biographer’s journey to present that life to a twenty-first-century public.

My Hairy Valentine!


In 2010, the Graphic Arts department will be evaluating and re-housing its collection of nineteenth-century valentines.  We have over 3,000 of these lacy, be-flowered paper objects and they are being sorted to provide better access for readers.  Due to the high number and complexity of each object (some have moving parts, accompanying envelopes, etc., while ...

The Children’s Henry Box Brown


Henry Box Brown (b. 1816) escaped lifelong slavery in Virginia by shipping himself in a box (with the help of white and African-American abolitionists) to Philadelphia in 1849.  One of the few primary sources detailing his breathtaking escape to freedom is the children’s book Cousin Ann’s Stories for Children.  Written in 1849 by Quaker abolitionist ...

European Political Prints On-line


Just in time for your winter viewing pleasure (who needs football?), the Graphic Arts team is pleased to announce that an inventory of the European Political Print Collection is now on-line and is fully illustrated.  Have a look: This is the latest work by our Graphic Arts Assistant Jaclyn Penny, who inventoried, described, re-foldered, and digitized ...

The Acquisitions Table: Matters Bibliopegistical


We have two more items this week. Both have to do with book binding, one as a subject, one as an exemplar. Bradford, John. The poetical vagaries of a Knight of the Folding-Stick, of Paste Castle: to which is annexed, The history of the garret, &c. Gotham [i.e. Newark, NJ?]: Printed for the author, 1815. A ...

Call for Co-editors for an AAS Glossary


The American Antiquarian Society is almost 200 years old. I guess that's not entirely shocking, given that "Antiquarian" is in our name, but sometimes it's easy to forget that when we were founded there were no functional steam-locomotives, no sewing machines, no modern matches.  Napoleon was still fighting his way across Europe.  Even "The Star-Spangled ...