Author Archives: Jackie Penny

About Jackie Penny

Imaging Rights Coordinator, American Antiquarian Society

Back to School (supplies!)

In the AAS Penmanship Collection, a group of penmanship exercises  and copy books by various students, there is a poem titled “After Vacation” by an unknown pupil from the Parkerville School in Westford, Massachusetts. The poem is on the first page of one of the mostly-filled volumes and captures an adieu to summer with the ...

Put on your hard hats (and thinking caps)!

When the Rijksmuseum was being renovated over a decade ago, I received a postcard featuring a spirited version of Rembrandt’s oil on canvas, “The Night Watch.” I found the playfulness of the image, an icon for the famous museum in Amsterdam jazzed up with construction equipment, so compelling that I kept it. An article appearing ...

To Give a Gift of Alcott


Like many born and bred New Englanders, I have developed a soft spot for Louisa May Alcott’s holiday pieces (1832-1888). Alcott’s literary career, which began with pseudonymously published magazine articles, was followed by beloved books; sprinkled throughout are works seasoned with festive subjects, settings, and themes. Her novels for children (which cue-in these topics) were ...

Adopt-a-Book 2015 – New Items Added!


We are in the final days of the online portion of the Adopt-a-Book fundraiser before the night-of event on May 5. To encourage participation in the event, we’ve added a few more items to our online catalog. They highlight some vice up for adoption, as well as items in French, German, and Latin (oh my)!

From ...

Preservation Matters


Riding the wave of our recent James Russell Wiggins lecture’s Franklin-iana and the American Library Association’s 2014 Preservation Week: Pass it On (which takes place April 27-May 4, 2014), we found ourselves struck by the Benjamin Franklin quotation, “An ounce of preservation is worth a pound of cure.” Although Franklin was speaking about fire safety ...

By St. Patrick! Irish Ballads

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This post will present approximately one hundred years of Irish ballads contained within the Society’s collections. The first is a fascinating 1769 broadside containing a New Year’s address by Ireland native Lawrence Sweeney (-1770), a popular figure in New York City journalism in the 1760s. Sweeney is one of the first identifiable Irish-American voices. He ...

Valentines Outside the Envelope


As has been blogged on Past is Present before, AAS has an extensive and representative assortment of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century valentines. Part of the Graphic Arts Collection, these ephemeral pieces of affection were exchanged on or before February 14, as Valentine’s Day provided the perfect opportunity to give that special someone a card. Many were ...

Happy Birthday, Isaiah!

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We're wishing a very happy 265th birthday to AAS founder Isaiah Thomas! We compiled this card from Thomas’s own copy of A Specimen of Printing Types by Thomas Cottrell, Letter Founder.

As our gift, we’ve digitized the 1774 London imprint, so you can browse the type specimens and ornaments! You can find it in our digital ...

The Annual Report: Not All Business

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Another year done means another Annual Report. For most, the phrase “annual report” doesn’t exactly elicit imaginings of stimulating reading material. But here at AAS we like to think of the Annual Report as more than just a business reckoning. It’s also a reflection of a thriving community—a learned society, if you will—made up of ...