This Day in History: Lincoln Proclaims, ‘Turkey Day!’

October 3, 1863 – On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation designating the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. The proclamation came in the midst of the Civil War. In his address, Lincoln chose to focus on the country’s prosperity: “[T]he country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, ...

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 ...

Artists in the Archive: Showcasing 25 Years of Artist Fellows at AAS

We love the moments when an artist fellow discovers something totally unique and profound relating to their research. Whether finding an outline of a pressed dandelion in handwritten poem, a children’s book on natural philosophy, the diary of a freed slave who in 1822 sailed to Hawaii as a missionary, or early photographs taken in Yellowstone National Park, these “ah-ha” moments often lead to an unfoldment of ...

Hidden Histories and the Digitization of New England’s Earliest Manuscript Church Records

Jeff Cooper serves as Director of New England's Hidden Histories. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut and taught in the Department of History at Oklahoma State University. He is the author of Tenacious of Their Liberties: The Congregationalists in Colonial America (Oxford, 1999) and has edited, with Kenneth P. Minkema, The Sermon ...

New Illustrated Inventory: “The Letters of Abigail Adams”

Everyone knows Abigail Adams’s famous request to her husband to “Remember the Ladies” as he participated in discussions to form the new United States government. But what of Abigail’s other correspondence? Was she always so witty and quotable? Did she often discuss politics and the place of women in society? What did she think about the first First Lady, ...

The Isaiah Thomas Broadside Ballads Project: Now Featuring Comprehensive Transcriptions!

The Isaiah Thomas Broadside Ballads Project has been fully transcribed! Each of the more than three hundred ballads in the collection now has a text-searchable transcription, as well as the option to download an XML file of the document that includes tags related to the subject matter contained within the text (both can be found at ...

“A Lot of Handsome Badges”: A New Illustrated Inventory

AAS collects American printed materials of all kinds, including multiple types of ephemera, from broadsides to tickets to ribbon badges. We have recently completed an illustrated inventory of the Society’s collection of more than 170 ribbon badges, ranging in date from 1824 to 1900. The inventory includes ribbons worn during political campaigns and civic events ...

“The Very Act of Manufacturing Books”: or, an Update on Projects to Link Printing Trade Prosopographies

Printers

I’ve just returned from a visit to the British Library, where, in true antiquarian fashion, I couldn’t help but pretend to be Washington Irving's Geoffrey Crayon learning the "Art of Bookmaking" and studying the "very act of manufacturing books."  In reality (though not unrelatedly), I was there to partake in a meeting with other institutions ...

Collaborative Bibliographic Data Production: AAS and Lyle Wright’s American Fiction, 1851-1875

Nigel Lepianka is a graduate student in the English Department at Texas A&M. He recently spent a month under the generous dome researching his dissertation, "'Yet of Books There Are A Plenty': The Bibliography of Literary Data." Nigel and AAS Director for Digital and Book History Initiatives Molly Hardy co-authored this post.

The trend towards using catalog ...

Report from Digital Humanities Conference 2017

I had the pleasure of attending my first Association of Digital Humanities Organizations Conference last week in Montreal. The conference began with two days of workshops, and I attended the Advancing Linked Open Data in the Humanities session on Monday. Overall, the session was helpful in the reassurance that we are not alone in the ...

New Online Exhibition – Victorian Valentines: Intimacy in the Industrial Age

Editor’s note: Originally from Texas, Zoe Margolis is an Art History major at Smith College, slated to graduate this upcoming spring (class of 2018). Zoe wrote the first draft of this post on behalf of the students in the Spring 2017 course at Smith College “ARH291: Be My Valentine.” It was later revised by Prof. ...

Isaiah’s Back In the Worcester Public Schools

Do you know what year it is? Well, Isaiah Thomas thinks it is 1812. That is, the reincarnated Isaiah who is currently going into fifth-grade classrooms and sharing some of his favorite books and broadsides with students. This Isaiah also brainstorms with these students what he should do with these materials. He is particularly concerned ...

Running the Numbers on Early American Literature

In 1956, Edward Connery Lathem (1926-2009), who would later distinguish himself as a Robert Frost scholar, took leave from his position as director of the Division of Special Collections at Dartmouth College  to pursue an advanced degree under renowned Jonathan Swift scholar Herbert Davis at Oxford University. There, Lathem completed his bibliography of “English Verse ...

New Illustrated Inventory: Bien’s Edition of “Birds of America”

In 1858, John Woodhouse Audubon, son of John James Audubon, set out to recreate the success of his father’s work Birds of America, published in 1838 with four hundred large, hand-colored engravings. John Woodhouse partnered with lithographer Julius Bien and the publishing firm of Roe, Lockwood & Company to create a less-expensive set than the ...