A View at the Bicentennial

Back in the 1950s, the AAS used to exhibit its items in places with traffic – (skeptical? Check out this 1952 photograph taken by Ted Woolner showing the front window of the Industrial City Bank and Banking Co. in Worcester with our Graphic Arts items) – but then the Internet was born and we learned more about how to use the web as a site of display.

Indeed, during this 200th year of the American Antiquarian Society, we will celebrate the people, buildings and collections of AAS through various exhibition projects (including one at the Grolier Club in New York this fall). Part of marking this occasion has also included the recent publication of The American Antiquarian Society, 1812-2012: A Bicentennial History by Philip F. Gura [see blog post here]. To supplement this text, the Society decided to make available – in color and high-resolution – the images and captions from the book via an online resource.

 This website, titled The American Antiquarian Society, 1812-2012: A View at the Bicentennial, highlights these interior illustrations.  They illustrate the places (the homes and spaces) – people (leaders and support staff) – collections (rare treasures and unknown items) – access (cataloging and digitizing) – and scholarship (publications and outreach) which have been protected, finessed and cultivated here for centuries.

Here you will find the more than 100 images included in the bicentennial history. The images are first divided by chapter and figure numbers, but then are further separated into sub-categories by the Society’s leaders, buildings, collections, programs and modes of accessA timeline, made using a selection of these images, has also been produced. In part, this site was created as a companion to the book (if you wanted to interact with some of the more difficult-to-read-items like Thomas Jefferson’s letter of acceptance, for instance) but it can also serve as a tool and alternate mode of access to a place populated with a unique legacy and richly constructed resources. The online space serves an appropriate one to showcase many of these images since like the Internet, they are linked and connected in more ways than one.

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