Tag Archives: African Americans

Gen. Benjamin Butler and Shoo Fly Chewing Gum

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This past winter, while hunting in the stacks for a trade card for a reader, I spotted this intriguing advertisement for chewing gum.  As editor of the Society’s Instagram account, I had been participating in an event called #bugginout, which featured posts by libraries around the world focused on illustrations of anthropomorphic insects.  These posts ...

The Acquisitions Table: Belle of Baltimore

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Belle of Baltimore. T.W. Strong, [between 1843 and 1866] A minstrel songster known in only two other copies (and those are either a variant or defective copy). This copy of Belle of Baltimore is remarkable for its intact publisher’s green wrappers and illustrations. The seven woodcuts, all but one depicting African Americans, are located on the ...

Photography: Printers at Work

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Recently, AAS purchased two photographs depicting American newspaper printers, one on eBay and the other at a local auction in central Massachusetts.  These images capture working men posed in photographic studios, holding props and tools of the trade.  When viewed with two additional photographs already in the collection, these portraits capture the likenesses of people ...

The Acquisitions Table: Lessons in Dancing

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Dilettante [i.e. Edward W. Clay] Lessons in Dancing, Exemplified by Sketches from Real Life in the City of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Published by R.H. Hobson, 1828. Only the second known copy of this title with eight delicately hand-colored plates of dancing couples mounted on stubs and sewn into printed tan paper wrappers with the imprint information. The ...

The Pay Off for a Curator’s Perseverance

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Last week, curator of children's literature Laura Wasowicz posted about finding a unique find in a dusty house. This week, curator of graphic arts Lauren Hewes talks about another tack curators more often have to take: "hard work and diligence." Recently, the Society’s curatorial staff was asked to blog about significant acquisitions and the process by ...

The Acquisitions Table: Juno on a Journey

Abbott, Jacob. Juno on a Journey.The Juno Stories.New York: Dodd & Mead, ca. 1870. Jacob Abbott’s Juno was among the first female African American protagonists of a children’s book series.  In this book, Juno is enlisted to take a little white boy named Georgie on a train journey by the boy’s father.  During this early fictional ...

Featured Fellow: Aston Gonzalez

Aston Gonzalez, Ph.D. Candidate in History, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Jay and Deborah Last Fellowship: "Kneeling and Fighting: African American Artists' Depiction of Black Humanity" My project at the American Antiquarian Society investigates how African American visual artists produced work that acted as counternarratives to the racist messages contained in popular literature, images printed in ...

Samuel Cornish, John Russwurm, and the Early Black Press

In March 1827, Rev. Samuel Cornish and John Russwurm co-founded Freedom’s Journal in New York City. It served as the first African-American newspaper in the United States and commemorated the 50th anniversary-year of the first American anti-slavery statutes in the 1777 Vermont Constitution. One of their primary objectives in starting Freedom’s Journal was to combat ...

On the Poetry of Phillis Wheatley

With the publication of Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (London, 1773) [AAS online catalog record], Phillis Wheatley became the first published African American poet. Because of her status as a house slave in Boston, Massachusetts, she achieved high literary recognition in the years following publication. Prominent political figures like George Washington and Thomas ...

Join us for “Liberty and Justice for All”

This Thursday, May 12, at 7:30 p.m., James O. and Lois E. Horton will present “Liberty and Justice for All: The Civil War as Blacks’ Second American Revolution.” Directions to AAS and further information about this and other public programs are available on the AAS website. Describing the scope of their lecture, Professor ...