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

BPB music

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 ...

When Old and New Meet: The History of the Reading Room Chairs

RR 1910

January 6, 2014, marked a notable acquisition here at the American Antiquarian Society. It also signaled the end of an era. When the Society’s current library building opened in 1910, it featured library tables and chairs manufactured by the Francis H. Bacon Furniture Company of Boston. For over a century, readers engaged with AAS’s peerless ...

Evans-TCP: What it is and How Early Americanists Might Use It

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Molly O’Hagan Hardy is AAS digital humanities curator and an ACLS public fellow.  Every month on Past is Present she will be sharing news on digitization efforts at AAS, coverage of digital humanities projects using AAS materials, and ideas for such projects. Stay current with all things DH at AAS by checking out the “Digital ...

Chromolithography at AAS – Now Including after 1876!

insurance co litho

As many researchers already know, life stops in 1876 for many parts of the American Antiquarian Society’s collections which are limited to the pre-Centennial era.  Recently, however, the Society has amended its collection policies to permit the curator of graphic arts to add prints produced between 1876 and 1900 to the Society’s holdings in order ...

Fraud Week (like Shark Week, but in the archives)

Discovery Channel may have cornered the market on Shark Week, but here at Past is Present we are instituting our own Fraud Week to explore the seamier underside of the archive. Or perhaps we will discover that there is another side to fakes, forgeries, and frauds, in a similar manner to how Shark Week ...

Fanny and Nathaniel: Love in the Library

Quaker meetinghouse

Chelsea White, past AAS intern and present Simmons MLS student, has transcribed a diary from AAS's collections that will become our newest Line-a-Day blog debuting with the new year.  Here is her introduction: If you’ve enjoyed reading the A Day in the Life of a Blacksmith or the A Day in the Life of a Schoolmarm ...

It doesn’t stop with “Antiquarian…” or, I’ll take what’s behind door number one!

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Assistant Curator of Manuscripts and Assistant Reference Library Tracey Kry comments on her impressions of AAS as a newly-arrived employee. A couple of months ago now, we had a post about creating an AAS Glossary that would talk about terms and collections unique to AAS (http://pastispresent.org/category/aas-glossary/ ).  The first post was about people’s confusion with the ...

Cataloger Uncovers Scandal: “It was Unrequited Love”

The Map of Portland, Oregon

Like the other catalogers here at AAS, part of my job as the Graphic Arts cataloger is to figure out the artists, sitters, publishers and others who contributed to the works in the collection. So when I catalogued a large color lithograph view of Portland, Oregon from 1891, I noticed that the copyright holders were ...