Major Taylor letters featured in new video

In 2020, letters from a young Marshall “Major” Taylor were donated to the American Antiquarian Society by Constance L. Whitehead Hanks. Taylor, a Worcester resident, was the first African American to win the title of cycling world champion, in 1899, and the second Black athlete to win a world championship in any sport. He is ...

Discovery: Herald of Freedom and Peter H. Clark

Newspapers are a huge and important part of our collection here at the American Antiquarian Society. They take up over five miles of shelving here. From establishment papers like the New York Times to amateur prints, preserving newspapers gives readers a glimpse into the mundane and day-to-day, as well as insight on relevant social issues ...

2022 Summer Seminars at AAS

It is with great pleasure to announce that two AAS signature programs will return this summer! Sponsored by Center for Historic American Visual Culture (CHAViC) and the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture, AAS summer seminars will be held over the 2022 summer, and we are now accepting applications! These annual seminars ...

Fall 2021 Virtual Book Talk Schedule

We are pleased to announce the Fall 2021 schedule for the Virtual Book Talks series. Our lineup includes a variety of topics including astronomy and printing the universe, nineteenth-century printing in Mexico, African American literary practice, and the politics of Native American writing. We ended our summer with Elizabeth Kimball, Assistant Professor of English at Drexel ...

The Acquisitions Table: Clark, B. (Benjamin), Sen. The Past, Present and Future in Prose and Poetry

Clark, B. (Benjamin), Sen. The Past, Present and Future in Prose and Poetry. Toronto: Adam, Stevenson, & Co., 1867. BIB #565812 Benjamin Clark was born to emancipated African American parents in Maryland in 1801, and he died in Detroit in 1864. He married, had ten children, and lived with his family in Pennsylvania. He also established ...

Martha Ann Brown – Community Leader, Knowledge Keeper

In a letter dated July 11, 1889, Frederick Douglass laments the death of a friend. Composed on an early typewriter, the letter is addressed to William Brown, one of Worcester’s wealthiest Black residents and owner of an upholstery business in the city. Douglass writes, “I had few friends of the early times whom I remember ...

Who Was John Moore Jr.?

For Black History Month, the American Antiquarian Society is featuring historic objects from the collection that are associated with or depict Black Worcester residents. The Society’s portrait of John Moore Jr. was painted in Boston in 1826 when the sitter was in his twenties. He was the only son of John Moore Sr. (1751-1836), a ...

The Acquisitions Table: Francis Lawton, Letter, 1845

Cuffe Lawton (b. 1789) was a free black man who was born in Newport, Rhode Island, and lived in New Bedford, Massachusetts. His son, Francis Lawton (1822-1885) was born in New Bedford  and became a whale man, who eventually rose to the rank of mate and traveled to Hawaii. By the 1850s Francis was married ...

Navigating the Book Trades Manuscripts with the First AAS Seiler Intern

This summer, even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, I was given the immense privilege to be the first Seiler Curatorial Intern at the American Antiquarian Society. Even through uncertain times, the Society and my supervisor Ashley Cataldo, Curator of Manuscripts, advocated for my internship and was able to offer me a blended virtual and in-person experience. As ...

PHBAC Virtual Book Talks Fall 2020 Schedule

In May 2020, the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture (PHBAC) launched its Virtual Book Talks series. This new academic program showcases authors of recently published scholarly monographs, digital-equivalents, and creative works broadly related to book history and print culture. Each installment includes a presentation from the author and a Q&A ...

“We are American citizens”: Remembering the Anniversary of the Fourteenth Amendment

The Colored Conventions was a series of national, regional, and state meetings held irregularly during the decades preceding and following the American Civil War.  At the 1853 convention held in Rochester, New York, delegates insisted citizenship was their birthright: "By birth, we are American citizens; by the meaning of the United States Constitution, we are American ...

Black Self-Publishing: A New AAS Research Project & Resource

Black Self-Publishing is a new collaborative research project from the American Antiquarian Society. The core of this site consists of a list I developed of books self-published by black authors within the scope of the American Antiquarian Society’s collecting period (origins to 1876). Studying self-publishing, occasions when an author pays for the printing of his ...