Pasted Pandemonium!

After highlighting marbled paper in a blog post last year, I received this suggestion from several people: Why not explore another popular kind of decorative paper- paste paper? Paste papers are much simpler than marbled papers, but the art form has a rich history and has produced countless beautiful examples. I searched through the AAS ...

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 ...

Nimrod, Newspapers, and the Apocalypse of 1812

"I saw the gathering tempest and heard its dreadful roarings, which seemed to me the roaring and burstings of ten thousand canons at once. Then I saw the trees of the forest torn by the violence of the winds, and dashed against each other, and against everything that stood before them, and houses and rocks ...

Boo! Bookplates!

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Each year as Halloween comes around, the staff here at AAS tries to think of ways to feature the spooky, scary, and creepy material in the Society’s collection. We have shown off our postcard collection and some fright-inducing stereograph photos. We’ve hunted for ghost stories, featured gift book illustrations of the supernatural, and peered into ...

It started with a passport and ended with a duel…

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Early in the summer, AAS received a generous donation of graphic arts materials from one of the Society’s members, Jim Heald, via the Worcester Art Museum. Among these items nestled on the acquisitions table was a mid-nineteenth-century passport, which stood out for two reasons. Primarily, until that moment, it had not occurred to me that ...

Little Lamb, Big Story

The Birthplace of Mary

Ali Phaneuf is a rising sophomore at Fairfield University and is currently a readers’ services summer page. As a journalism major and an art minor, Ali has always been an avid book reader, and her love of books and creativity was able to grow through her experience at AAS. The story of “Mary had ...

So you think you can bake? Nineteenth-Century Edition

The Art of Confectionery title page

Kristina Bush is a rising senior at Mount Holyoke College. She majors in medieval studies and minors in public history, museums, archives, and digital humanities. Kristina is currently working at the American Antiquarian Society as a summer page in readers’ services. Being an avid book-lover and history nerd, Kristina has greatly enjoyed her time at ...

#hamildays: A Hamilton-Inspired Journey Through the Stacks

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The following is the story behind the newest feature on AAS's website, #hamildays: A Hamilton-Inspired Journey Through the Stacks. As a monographs cataloger at the American Antiquarian Society, I work primarily with books and pamphlets, often ones printed in the United States during the nineteenth century. However, the twenty-five miles of shelves at AAS hold much more ...

The Campaign Newspaper Title Quiz: The Answers

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Last week we asked readers to figure out which five from a list of thirty nineteenth-century campaign newspaper titles were fake. Here are the answers. How did you do? Sober Second Thought (Hartford, CT), 1841 A Democratic newspaper supporting Martin Van Buren. Castigator (Middletown, CT), 1840 Another Democratic newspaper supporting Martin Van Buren. A Kick in the Pants - Fake ...

The Campaign Newspaper Title Quiz

The Rail Splitter

This election year the verbal thrusts and parries have been fast and thick throughout the primaries. Today Facebook and Twitter are as important as radio and TV in spreading the vitriolic name-calling and accusations of various candidates. In the nineteenth century politicians had to resort to print media, and one way to do this was ...

Unusual Titles: The Answers

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Last week we posted ten nineteenth-century newspaper titles, which included three fake ones. Here are the real titles from that list with images of the mastheads as proof. 1. Sucker and Farmer’s Record (Pittsfield, IL).  March 30, 1843. At that time people of that region were sometimes known as suckers.  See the reply in this previous blog ...

Unusual Titles: The Challenge

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When you look at the names of current newspapers you see much sameness in the titles.  How often do you see Times, Post, Globe, Union, Herald, Sun, Independent, or Tribune as part of the title? Once in a while you might run across a paper still published today, such as the Quincy Herald-Whig (IL), which ...

The Peoples Free School or Dog Convention: A Tale of Two Broadsides

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This past April, AAS received a plain brown envelope via U.S. Mail, with no return address.  The envelope was carefully opened by our Acquisitions staff and two folded broadsides were found inside.  There was no note included, no inscriptions or marks on the broadsides, and, as luck would have it, there was not even a ...

The Gamebrarians: AAS Plays a 19th-Century Version of Cards Against Humanity

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A few months ago we posted an image on Instagram and Facebook that, while fun, we had no particular expectations for. It was a quite a surprise, then, when it garnered a massive amount of attention on both platforms. To this day it remains one of our most widely circulated posts on Facebook. The image was a ...

Gen. Benjamin Butler and Shoo Fly Chewing Gum

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This past winter, while hunting in the stacks for a trade card for a reader, I spotted this intriguing advertisement for chewing gum.  As editor of the Society’s Instagram account, I had been participating in an event called #bugginout, which featured posts by libraries around the world focused on illustrations of anthropomorphic insects.  These posts ...