Type Findings: Introducing the AAS Printers’ File

Avis Clarke

Avis G. Clarke, cataloger-cum-researcher of early American imprints and printers, filled hundreds of AAS card catalogue drawers with the AAS printers’ file. Detailing the lives and works of virtually every printer working in America before 1820, the printers’ file is a masterpiece of indexing. Comprising 134 drawers of biographical, printing, and publication ...

Santa Claus Exposed

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AAS's The Children's Friend: A New Year's Present is one of just two known copies of the 1821 pamphlet.  Fifteen centimeters tall and eight pages deep, the paper-covered volume stood little chance of survival in the hands of generations of American children. But there was one family fastidious enough for the task, and by chance ...

Christmas Treasures: Flip through the pages of The Children’s Friend

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It's that time of year. Time to take ornaments out of boxes, shake the dust from stockings, and hang wreaths on front doors.  The holiday season is no different at AAS. December is the one month when it's appropriate to pull out all of our wonderful Christmas treasures-- after all who wants to see Santa ...

You say “Shah-vick,” I say “Chay-vick”: An Introduction to the Center for Historic American Visual Culture

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Inadvertently, three graduate students were responsible for the creation of the Center for Historic American Visual Culture (CHAVic). Two appeared at AAS asking if we had 18th century prints or lithographs of wedding ceremonies.  Another spoke of the struggle to convince her dissertation committee that a history thesis could focus successfully on stereographs.  Between the ...

Halloween Terror: The Glass-Eyed Ghouls

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In the mid 1800s, people began appearing with eyes so clear they were nearly invisible.  The ghostly faces stared straight ahead without a hint of shame in their alien faces. They haunt us still, following us from countless daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and cartes-de-visite, warning us of a different time.  A fearful era when to be photogenic ...

One more thing about me…

25 Random Things

An online fad became a journalistic obsession with a late-winter craze known as “25 Random Things.” Members of the social networking site Facebook began crafting lists about themselves: personal histories, likes, and dislikes -- self-identified quirks describable in a sentence they then displayed for others to see. The only thing that seemed to equal the number ...

The Original Balloon Boy: Edgar Allan Poe?

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Have you heard the one about the balloon boy? No, not that balloon boy.  On April 13, 1844, the New York Sun printed an extra edition reporting that man had finally flown across the Atlantic.  In a balloon. A postscript in the April 13th morning edition of the Sun taunted readers, We stop the press at a late hour, to ...

Your Daily Dose

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What’s the world coming to? John Quincy Adams is tweeting from 1808  and our own anonymous blacksmith’s apprentice is blogging away right above these very words.  Following Adams’ debut on Twitter, one of the  librarians from the Massachusetts Historical Society explained that, “We want to get it out there to the technophile generation ... We ...

Try tilting your head just slightly…

They represent a type of carnage we can’t even imagine. Today they would cause more than a few gasps. And, yet unable to rewrite this tragedy, we feast on the spoils. Okay, I’m being dramatic. But for archivists and librarians the idea that 600 cartoons were cut from Civil War era newspapers is ...