The Acquisitions Table: Amalgamation. The Wedding.

Edward W. Clay, Practical Amalgamation. The Wedding. New York, John Childs, ca. 1839

This print by Edward W. Clay is one in a series of images that comments on interracial relationships in America during the 1830s.  Most of the prints in the set are held by the Society.  This impression is actually a second copy of the wedding scene print.  The donor contacted us after seeing a posting on the AAS blog Past is Present about another Clay image from the series, recently given to the Society by former librarian Nancy Burkett.  The donor had three prints from the Clay series, all duplicates of prints already in the collection, but, because of their superior condition, we were pleased to accept them and add them to our holdings.  The Clay prints are frequently used by scholars of reform, race, anti-slavery, and humor in the United States.

Published by

Lauren Hewes

Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts, American Antiquarian Society

3 thoughts on “The Acquisitions Table: Amalgamation. The Wedding.”

  1. interesting how the whites are pictured “normal” while the Africans are almost cartoonish. There is also a Native Am male in the background that except for his face paint would be unnoticed. Would like to see the other pictures

    1. I have 5 prints from this series: An Amalgamation Waltz, The Wedding, The Dinner Party, Musical Soiree, and Johnny Q. Introducing the Haytien Ambassador…. They are not to my taste so they will be auctioned by Swanns in March. I inherited them from my Great Aunt a few years ago. I’ve searched them on the internet several times and rarely find mention of them.

      1. Christine, Thank you for your comment. The Society lacks The Dinner Party,but holds the rest of the titles that you list. These are very difficult prints to live with but they are quite revealing of rhetoric and attitudes towards race from the 1830s which is why they are so valuable to historians.

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