Adopt-a-Book 2014

This year the American Antiquarian Society will be holding its 7th annual Adopt-a-Book event on Tuesday, May 6th, from 6:00 to 8:00pm.  This event has been an entertaining and successful fundraiser for the library’s continued acquisitions of historic material. The money raised helps curators buy more books, pamphlets, prints, newspapers, and manuscripts.  coveradoptabookOn May 6th, participants will have the opportunity to view all kinds of material recently acquired by AAS, including a book on fortunetelling, a Confederate newspaper, and a copy book made by a New England schoolchild.   You can adopt in your name or in memory/in honor of a special person (or both, with multiple adoptions!). The event has become so popular with our members, fellows, local supporters, and staff, that many previous participants ask the curators in advance for hints about the type of material that will be made available for adoption!  Everyone has been waiting for the catalog.

And here it is!  Today, we launch the 2014 Adopt-a-Book event with the online catalog, which will remain active through May (or until everything is adopted).  Participants who wish to pre-adopt can do so now, direct from the digital catalog (and as an added incentive, entrance to the May 6th event is FREE if you pre-adopt from the online catalog, otherwise $10).  So click on over and have a look at the 110 objects the curators have selected for the online portion of this event.  Don’t worry if it seems like everything is getting snapped up quickly – we are always gratified by the enthusiasm our supporters show.  And, the curators have already selected additional, exclusive, material that will only be up for adoption in person at the event on May 6th.

To further tempt you, here are selections in the online catalog from each of the five curatorial departments:

1The Valley Farmer (St. Louis, MO).  May 1864 
Adopt me for $25

This is a nice western agricultural periodical in its original wrappers.  This issue was edited by Norman J. Colman who was later the first U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.  He purchased the failing periodical in 1855 and made it very successful promoting modern agricultural techniques.


fThree Little Kittens. St. Louis: Scruggs, Vanderwoort & Barney, ca. 1880.
Adopt me for $50

Mamma Cat puts her three kittens to work washing their mittens in this delightful chromolithographed Three Little Kittens, a picture book issued by the St. Louis department store Scruggs, Vanderwoort & Barney.  The back cover has a full-page advertisement for the store touting its reputation as “a vast storehouse of everything that the feminine mind can think of for immediate wear.”

inkThaddeus Davids, The History of Ink: Including its Etymology, Chemistry, and Bibliography. New-York, 1856.
Adopt me for $100

Designed in large part to promote Thaddeus Davids’ company, self-proclaimed maker of “the best ink known,” later editions of the book were plastered with advertisements and press notices. It took its subject matter seriously, though, from its first sentence declaring, “Ink is history.” Egypt and the Aztecs, writing ink and printing ink, paper mills and poetry about ink are all discussed.

childrenThe Children’s Pic-nic. New York: Currier & Ives, 1872-1874.
Adopt me for $75

This charming scene of well-dressed children playing outdoors was issued by Currier & Ives towards the end of their long run as print sellers and publishers in New York. The firm listed numerous genre prints of happy and adorable (and adoptable!) children under the heading “Juvenile” in their catalogs.

yankeeThe Yankee Pedlar, vol. 1, no. 3, 1842.
Adopt me for $100

According to the masthead, this handwritten newspaper was “published every Saturday Morning at 31 Broad St.”  The cover features a piece titled “The contents of the little Tin Box with a hole on the top” as well as a woodcut portrait of Shakespeare.


We are grateful to the following vendors for their generous donations for your enjoyment on May 6th:

  • Ed Hyder’s Mediterranean Marketplace
  • Sahara Restaurant
  • Crown Bakery

This event is being held in conjunction with Greater Worcester Gives.

Published by

Lauren Hewes

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

One thought on “Adopt-a-Book 2014”

  1. I think that I have a page from the three little kittens book. It was in the back of a frame I purchased from an antique store. Could someone here help me verify this is from the same book? And is this book still available to purchase? Thank you!

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