C-SPAN’s profile of Worcester is now available online!

The C-SPAN crew filming AAS President Ellen Dunlap.

Periodically, C-SPAN2 Book TV and C-SPAN3 American History TV profile regional American cities through a series they call C-SPAN Cities Tour. Working with their local cable partners, special C-SPAN production crews explore the literary life and history of these cities by interviewing local historians, librarians, authors, and civic leaders. Last Autumn C-SPAN visited Worcester and ...

Moses Paul to Samson Occom: Rediscovering a Treasure

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Libraries like the American Antiquarian Society exist not just to preserve material, but also to help people find it. Detailed descriptions of items in our catalog records and thoughtfully designed systems of organization ensure that items in our collection can be located. But AAS also relies to a great extent on institutional memory—the knowledge of ...

English Ceramics, American Scenes, French Name?

Platter depicting the "Landing of Gen. Lafayette At Castle Garden New York, 16th August 1824."

In his 1913 “Report of the Librarian” published in the AAS Proceedings,  Clarence Brigham concludes with an account of “one of the most valuable gifts ever received by the Society.”  It was a collection of some 300 pieces of Staffordshire with American scenes. “It is particularly appropriate,” noted Brigham, “that the Society, which already possesses ...

Spring Almanac now available!

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It's that time again—the latest issue of the Almanac is now out! This issue features stories from every department at the Society, from curatorial and readers' services to outreach and digital humanities. Some highlights include: a generous gift to AAS from a local member and former AAS councilor a new digital project featuring Isaiah Thomas's collection of ...

An Old Vial of Tea with a Priceless Story: The Destruction of the Tea, December 16, 1773

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Sometimes the most unassuming objects can take on powerful meaning. A small, sealed glass bottle of tea, displayed at the American Antiquarian Society, is a case in point. Donated in 1840 by the Reverend Thaddeus M. Harris (1768-1842), a Unitarian clergyman in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and a member of AAS, the tea is one of the ...

Another year, another annual report (but this time, with Instagram!)

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Many around here thought that this first post-bicentennial fiscal year would be quiet, unexciting, a return to routine. What they didn't count on was the creation of a digital humanities curator position to refine, focus, and expand our already extensive digital projects; an explosion of our social media presence; and of course, the awarding of a ...

“Black Printers” on White Cards: Information Architecture in the Database of the Early American Book Trades

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Since our founder Isaiah Thomas’s research for his ambitious The History of Printing in America (1810), AAS has held the largest collection of data on the early American book trades in North America and the Caribbean. The bulk of this information exists on 25 drawers of cards in our reading room and is known as ...

Ms. Dunlap Goes to Washington…for a National Humanities Medal!

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Well, it's now been four weeks since I was at the White House to accept the National Humanities Medal on behalf of the American Antiquarian Society, and I can't say that I've yet got my feet back on terra firma.  And with cards, letters, calls, emails, and Facebook comments continuing to stream in -- from AAS members, ...

Join Our Live Feed of the National Humanities Medal Ceremony!

Join us here today, at 3 p.m., for a live feed of the 2013 National Humanities Medal ceremony taking place at the White House! AAS president Ellen Dunlap with be accepting the award on behalf of the Society, as well as AAS Council Chair Sid Lapidus and AAS Councilor Bill Reese. We are also following Ellen's ...

AAS Awarded a 2013 National Humanities Medal!

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AAS is extremely humbled and honored to be a recipient of a 2013 National Humanities Medal. President Barack Obama will present the medal to Ellen S. Dunlap, AAS president, Sid Lapidus, AAS Council Chair, and William S. Reese, AAS Councilor at the White House on Monday, July 28, 2014, at 3 p.m. The citation for ...

Isaiah Celebrates the Fourth of July

Portrait of Isaiah Thomas by Ethan Allen Greenwood, 1818

Here at AAS, nary a holiday goes by without some reflection on how the same was celebrated in days past. On this Fourth of July we’re going to take a trip back 200 years and check in on how our founder, Isaiah Thomas, celebrated the holiday. In July 1814 the United States was in the midst ...

Who is that Book-Clad Man? William Jenks on the Science of Early American Antiquarianism

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This image, a favorite around AAS, is part of a series a lithographs that circulated in the late 1820s and early 1830s, depicting people as an amalgamation of various objects: shells, vegetables, paintings, and in this instance, relics. This graphic motif harkens back to the Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo, whose portrait heads made of similar ...

Spring issue of the Almanac is here!

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We're excited to share the March 2014 issue of the Almanac with everyone. This issue has a feature story about a unique acquisition related to the Bay Psalm Book (the first book printed in North America), news about an extremely generous gift that is already having a significant impact on the Society, and a history ...

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

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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 ...

On the Road for AAS

The Los Angeles skyline at dawn during a recent AAS business trip.

A lot of the Society's staff travels for work.  We are a national organization and we collect material from all across the fifty states and Canada.  Curators travel to conferences and to visit collectors,  catalogers move about for training and to stay up to date with the latest methods, managers visit members, foundations, granting agencies, ...