In-person & Hands-on Early Worcester History, Featuring the Brown Family

Who and what springs to mind when you reflect on early Worcester history? Isaiah Thomas & his printing press? Major Taylor & his bicycle? Esther Howland & her Valentines? These classic Worcester historical figures will all be represented at AAS’s upcoming Chat with a Curator open house this Wednesday, but we hope many of the materials ...

An Interview with the Librarian

At the end of August 2018, long-time Marcus A. McCorison Librarian and Curator of Manuscripts Thomas G. Knoles will be retiring from AAS. After almost twenty-nine years at the Society, we wanted to be sure to tap Tom’s long institutional knowledge and his experiences in the library world. There was none better to do this ...

Hanukkah and American Judaism, 1841-1876

‘Tis the season for holiday traditions and rituals – and for social media posts like this one that try to give some historical perspective to why we celebrate the way we do. So many holidays cluster around the winter solstice, such as Christmas and Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve (or Saturnalia or your basic pagan ...

Conservation of the 1709 Bay Psalm Book

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The conservation of the exceedingly rare copy of the 1709 14th edition of the so-called Bay Psalm Book was recently completed, and it is now available for gentle study. This small, outwardly modest book was acquired in the fall of 2013, through funds generously donated by the Fred Harris Daniels Foundation in memory of Bill ...

The missing wrapper; or, The unknown dime novel. A tale of cataloging at AAS.

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In a post last January about the difficulty of cataloging dime novels, I discussed how much valuable information is lost when a novel no longer has its wrapper (paper cover).  One of the most important kinds of information lost is series information.  Knowing that a novel was in a specific series is one of the ...

Read all about it! The Conservation of a Racy Newspaper

This issue of the Subterranean before treatment.

This issue of the Subterranean (“Independent in everything, Neutral in nothing”), dated August 26, 1843, was acquired by AAS circa 2001 as part of a generous donation of Racy newspapers from Leo Hershkowitz.  Published in New York City and reaching their peak in the 1840s, the contents of these papers are full of colorful stories ...

No Permission Required: Exploring and Using Our Digital Collections

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Policy changes frequently will fall under the un-glamorous category. But we are hoping that our newest one will fall under the hooray-for-AAS tally marking. When books have included images from our collection, we’ve been providing photographic reproductions and permission to use them in the form of a licensing agreement; I’ve signed a few (read: thousand) of ...

Metadata Matters: “African American” in the News and in the North American Imprints Program

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This post was co-written by AAS Digital Humanities Curator/ACLS Fellow Molly O'Hagan Hardy and AAS Head of Cataloging Alan Degutis. The New York Times recently reported the “discover[y]” of the earliest known use of the term “African American” from almost fifty years earlier than previously thought. The Oxford English Dictionary attributed it to The Liberator in ...

Catalog Camper or Archive Detective? My Summer at the AAS

The author at work in the reading room.

Samantha Cook is a senior at the University of Wyoming where she is majoring in History and Museum Studies. She spent last summer on an archeological dig in Italy, and this summer, she has been with us at AAS as a catalog camper, doing a completely different kind of digging. When I made the bold decision ...

From Conservation: Treatment of the Protestant Tutor

Cover of the item before treatment.

Recently, I had the opportunity to treat a very special item from our Reserve collection as part of our Save America’s Treasures grant.   The Protestant Tutor for Children is attributed to Benjamin Harris and was printed by Samuel Green in Boston, 1685. Thought to be a precursor text to the New England Primer, it is ...

Preservation Week Redux: Saving a Collection

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Those of you who follow the Society's blog are aware that the last week in April was Preservation Week, a period set aside by the American Libraries Association to focus on the care and conservation of collections material. We take preservation seriously at AAS. The word is part of our core mission, in fact. We have ...

What’s AAS Preserving this Week? An Early (1709) Bay Psalm Book

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To continue the celebration of the American Library Association’s 2014 Preservation Week held back in April (and mentioned in an earlier post), we're bringing you a behind-the-scenes peek into a conservation project that started just a couple weeks ago on a recent acquisition – a Bay Psalm Book from 1709. The revitalization process for this ...

Preservation Matters

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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 ...

Recent Arrivals Shelf – Modern Scholarship

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Living in the stacks amongst the vast collections of historical primary source material at AAS, one will find books of a much younger age.  AAS does not only seek to collect one copy of every thing printed in the United States up until about 1876; we also strive to add recent scholarship written about topics ...

Adopt-a-Book 2014

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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.  On May 6th, participants ...