Today we continue a series of blog posts highlighting items from our upcoming Adopt-a-Book event, slated for Tuesday, March 29, 2011, at 6PM in Antiquarian Hall. You can read the entire Adopt-a-Book 2011 catalog on the AAS website, where you will find descriptions of all 176 items up for adoption this year.
Our fifth featured orphan is actually not a single orphan, but an entire family that needs your assistance! Now in the spotlight are catalog nos. 15, 60, 61, 98, 159 and 171, which were selected for adoption by AAS’s curator of children’s literature, Laura Wasowicz, curator of manuscripts, Thomas Knoles, and The Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts, Lauren Hewes. All of this material has some connection to the Green family of Worcester.
In September of 2010, there was a large public auction in Worcester of material that originated in Maine, but was related to the influential Green family of Worcester and New York. Since AAS already had seven boxes of manuscript material relating to the Greens, and also held many books formerly owned by them, we were active bidders at the sale. We were largely successful, and also continued to acquire Green family material after September, building up our holdings of manuscripts and children’s literature related to this Worcester dynasty. The adoption fees vary widely on this material, reflecting the diverse valuations that Society curators try to balance every time they make an acquisition for the collection. Some items, like the letter from Isaiah Thomas, Jr. to William E. Green, we just had to have!
15. Bolton, Rev. James. Missionary Stick Gatherers: An Address to the Members of Juvenile Missionary Associations. New York: Protestant Episcopal Society for the Promotion of Evangelical Knowledge, 1857. Adopt me for $50.
Written by an English clergyman, Missionary Stick Gatherers exhorts children belonging to juvenile missionary societies to contribute what they can to the missionary cause, be it money, or by creating ornaments (useful small items) for missionary Christmas trees, or by sewing “dresses for the little Heathen children.” This modest work speaks volumes about 19th-century attitudes toward money and charitable giving. Bound in a still spectacular red cloth limp binding, it apparently belonged to the Green family. Samuel Fiske Green was a missionary in Ceylon so there was real support within the family for missionary work.
At the Green Auction in September, AAS bid on seventy of the more than 2,000 lots and won thirty. We focused our bidding on William Elijah Green (1777-1865), a lawyer who practiced for most of his career in Worcester. This group of letters was among the lots that got away. The buyer removed the items of interest to him and sold the remainder to a dealer friend, who in turn offered them to us. Eventually we hope more William E. Green material will find its way to the Society.
61. Green Hill, Worcester. Three photographs, ca. 1906. Stone Bridge adopted by Doris N. O’Keefe. Parlor adopted by Eleanor S. Adams. Adopt last photograph of Green Hill dining room (pictured here) for $50.
Originally a lot of three photographs, only the one pictured here remains to be adopted (you can see the other two photographs in the Adopt-a-Book 2011 catalog). The photographs were purchased by AAS at the auction in September and were just a handful of the many, many photographic lots that were sold there. The exterior view shows the stone bridge which was placed by Martin Green in his attempts to change the family’s Worcester property from a working farm to a more formal estate. The interior views show the dining room and a parlor, and were both taken by a Worcester photographer. The photographs capture the eclectic furnishings and cluttered decorating style favored by the Greens at the turn of the century, including marble busts, stuffed birds, prints, and Asian screens. The images will join the Society’s other Worcester photographic holdings, which date to about 1920.
This is an allegorical tale for children about a humble pedestrian who instructs a mother and her children in the tenets of Christianity. This fabulous cloth limp binding is as pristine as the day it was issued. Although not purchased at the 2010 auction, the book was formerly owned by the Green family.
Isaiah Thomas, Jr. (1773-1819) followed his father in the printing and bookselling trade. In this letter Thomas is offering a set of Matthew Bacon’s A New Abridgement of the Law to William Elijah Green, a lawyer at that time practicing in Grafton, MA. Bacon’s New Abridgement was published in many editions in England in the 18th and 19th centuries. The fifth edition (London, 1798) was in seven volumes. It was not printed in America until 1813. We can not tell from the letter whether Green purchased the set from Thomas, but we do know that his law practice was successful and continued in Grafton and Worcester for decades.
As seen above, AAS successfully acquired at the 2010 auction many manuscripts related to William Elijah Green (1777-1863), the man who is captured in this daguerreotype. The elder Green was a lawyer in Worcester and the head of what would become an influential family in New England and New York. One of the strengths of the Society’s early photograph collection is its very deep connection to our manuscript holdings, so we bid aggressively to capture this image at the sale. Having the face of the person who wrote all those letters to his children, wife, and business associates, really makes history come alive.
In order to adopt these or any other objects in the Adopt-a-Book 2011 catalog, please click on the link and follow the directions for “How to Adopt” which are found in the sidebar to the right at the top of the page. Remember, you don’t have to wait until March 29th to adopt!