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 ...

Summer 2021 Schedule Virtual Book Talks

This month, the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture (PHBAC) celebrated its one year anniversary of 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 ...

Continuing the Conversation: Jessica Pressman Answers Your Questions on Bookishness

Last September, Jessica Pressman, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University, was a featured guest at the Virtual Book Talk series sponsored by the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture (PHBAC).  Jessica spoke about her recent publication, Bookishness: Loving Books in a Digital Age, published in ...

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 ...

Something Old, Something New: Updates on the Program in the History of the Book

In his October 1983 report to the Council, former AAS President Marcus A. McCorison outlined the founding of the Program in the History of the Book (PHBAC), an ambitious initiative that set out to unite four areas of the Society's work: collections, scholarship, fellowships, and publications.  In the same 1983 report, John Hench, then assistant director ...

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 ...

Some of These Things Are Not Like the Others: Discovering Medieval Incunables at AAS

Jessica Bigelow is a second-year English master’s student at Clark University and served as a Readers’ Services page this past summer. Her current master’s thesis focuses on medieval literature, and she aspires to someday be a rare book curator working with medieval and early modern materials. Her time at AAS fostered her passion for the ...

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

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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 ...

Marbled Madness!

Washington Irving, 1783-1859. Life of George Washington. New York: G.P. Putnam, 1859. This multivolume set has colorful marbled edges done with a wide-comb pattern.

Over the last couple years, the “MarbledMonday” hashtag has taken off on the AAS Instagram feed, becoming one of our most popular regular features (competing with other favorites like “Caturday” and “Frankenbooks”). Every Monday, we show off a striking example of what are the most colorful features on historical book bindings: their marbled papers, edges, ...

New Online Exhibition: From English to Algonquian: Early New England Translations

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In addition to paging and returning collections materials, managing the desk schedule and the reference and reception staff, answering reference questions and compiling daily circulation statistics, my typical day as head of readers’ services usually involves meeting one or more researchers who are excited to arrive at Antiquarian Hall for the very first time. After ...

AAS’s First Digital Humanities Project

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After two years of working under the generous dome, I will no longer be the ACLS Public Fellow and Digital Humanities Curator at AAS. Instead, I will be the Digital Humanities Curator, a full-time staff member. My work will not change much, but this transition from fellow to staffer offers a chance for me to ...

Emerson and Whitman: Sage Meets Free Spirit

A carte de vsite of Ralph Waldo Emerson

When preparing an exhibit for our recent Digital Antiquarian conference we included items related to the famous interaction of two writers at different points in their public careers: Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman.  (This was prompted by the participation of the Whitman Project in our digital projects showcase.) Whitman used Emerson’s private correspondence to promote ...

Indestructible! How Children’s Books Have Survived the Centuries

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I am currently in the throes of infancy with a nine-month-old who, by any evaluation of her current book-handling technique, is not destined to become a rare book librarian. She literally attacks the written word without mercy or proper treatment. Here she is “reading” her copy of Plip-Plop Pond, created by a company called Indestructibles. This ...

Meet AAS Fellow Sean Moore

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Sean Moore is Associate Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire and recently completed an American Antiquarian Society-National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship at the Society. His work has received support from a variety of institutions, including the John Carter  Brown Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Fulbright program, and he has just ...

Big Data in Early America: Bibliometrics and The North American Imprints Program (NAIP)

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In recent years and in a variety of different ways, librarians are considering how different methodologies brought to bear on historical inquiry might shift their practices. Recent examples include Meg Phillips’s post in which she asks whether distant reading practices should inform archival appraisal practices to support more distant reading. Doing so would mean that archivists ...