The American Antiquarian Society
At the American Antiquarian Society, we are infinitely proud of the scholarly, nose-to-the-book (or newspaper, or graphic art, or manuscript) work that goes on in Antiquarian Hall, but we invite you to take a minute and enjoy the lighter side of our people and collections.
AAS is a national research library located in Worcester, Massachusetts, with unparalleled collections and programs to support the study of early American history, literature, and visual culture. Our goal is to collect, preserve, and make accessible one of every item printed through 1876 in British North America, or what became the U.S., Canada, and the West Indies. If we don’t have it, we want it! Yet our collection goes beyond just typeface to welcome the handwritten word, the artist’s paint stroke, even the engraver’s stipple.
On a daily basis, the people of the AAS are amazed, amused, and occasionally disturbed by the different ways early Americans committed their world to paper. One of the greatest strengths of our fellowship program is that researchers from around the globe, working in diverse disciplines (history, English, art, creative writing, archaeology, etc.), live together across the street from Antiquarian Hall. During their lunch hour and after being forced out of the reading room at 5 p.m., they gather together and discuss their research, insights, and the really exciting things they stumbled upon that day. Sometimes the staff is even lucky enough to join in. We offer Past is Present as an opportunity for everyone to participate in the discussion!
This blog provides a virtual platform to highlight AAS’s antiquarian treasures (and oddities) as well as to share helpful resources, programs, and events. We hope you will become more familiar with the congenial intellectual community AAS fosters and maybe learn something new in the process. New content will be posted regularly, so please check back again soon or subscribe to our RSS feed or email updates so you won’t miss a thing.
If you enjoy Past is Present, try these other sites associated with AAS:
Commonplace.online is a common place for exploring and exchanging ideas about early American history and culture. A bit friendlier than a scholarly journal, a bit more scholarly than a popular magazine, Common-place speaks–and listens–to scholars, museum curators, teachers, hobbyists, and just about anyone interested in American history before 1900.
You can become a friend of AAS by visiting our Facebook page. There you can find images of collection material, updates about programming, and news about AAS projects.
If you like our blog posts that feature a lot of images of collection material, then our Instagram account is the place for you. Great images with short contextual blurbs provide unique insight into the collections.