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, ...

A Follow-Up to “Can You Read This Image?”

In the intervening week or so since my post on this mysterious image appeared on the AAS blog, I contacted Alexander Anderson scholar and AAS member Jane Pomeroy. She graciously sent me this scanned copy of the full image found in her copy of the Mahlon Day 1830 edition of Divine Songs. According to Jane, she ...

The Acquisitions Table: No Rose Without a Thorn

No rose without a thorn. New York: Nathaniel Currier, [1838-1856] Shown with "My Master's Wife" When he started his business on Nassau Street in New York City, Nathaniel Currier offered for sale lithographs of news events, historic images, local views, and pretty women. He also occasionally produced narrative genre scenes such as this curious depiction of ...

The Acquisitions Table: Game of Pictures from the Civil War

Pictures from the Civil War in North America - Bilder aus dem Bugerkriege in Nordamerica - Des tableaux de la guerre-civile en Amerique du Nord.  Nuremberg: G.W. Faber, [c. 1864] Puzzle blocks in box, with six hand-colored lithographs showing the solutions. This German game was produced for the European and American markets and includes six small ...

The Acquistions Table: Handbill featuring illustration by David Claypool Johnston

Lilly, Wait, Colman & Holden Printers, Publishers, Booksellers & Stationers. Handbill with illustration by David Claypool Johnston. Boston: Pendleton, 1833. This small handbill advertising a new shop for a Boston book publisher arrived as part of a generous gift of David Claypool Johnston material from AAS member David Tatham. After checking the Society’s Johnston family archive, ...

A Small Masterpiece and Its Illustrator are Re-Discovered!

This haunting lithograph depicting Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Match-Girl is taken from the rare collection of Hans Andersen’s stories, Good Wishes for the Children, interpreted by A.A.B. and S.G.P., published by the famed Riverside Press in 1873. AAS acquired its copy from the illustrious bookman Benjamin Tighe in 1967, and up until now, the ...

Scraps of the Past

Scrapbooking is quite the popular hobby today, but it’s hardly a new idea.  People have been compiling images, memorabilia, and the written word since these things existed.  While exploring yet another of the American Antiquarian Society’s hidden gems, I found we have a wonderfully rich scrapbook collection. The collection of scrapbooks at AAS is currently at ...

Oh, Alice…

As it says on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired…your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” and the newly-found abandoned line “…your unwanted editions, pages uncut, spines unopened, loathed by your authors and deemed unworthy cultural capital by your countrymen…” Okay, maybe that isn’t exactly what it says. Perhaps the line’s lack of poetic ...

Have You Seen This Woman?

The following conundrum for Past is Present readers comes from AAS reader Mary Fissell. I’m writing a book about Aristotle's Masterpiece, and have just spent a couple of very productive and happy weeks working with the AAS’s collection of 50+ editions. This book, neither by Aristotle, nor a masterpiece, is one of the longest-running popular medical ...