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About the exhibition

In the early days of the American Antiquarian Society, founder Isaiah Thomas asked members to send materials for preservation in the Society’s library at Worcester, Massachusetts.  He explained, “We cannot obtain a knowledge of those who are to come after us, nor are we certain what will be the events of future times; as it is in our power, so it should be our duty to bestow on posterity that which they cannot give to us, but which they may enlarge and improve and transmit to those who shall succeed them.” Over the course of two hundred years, generations of the Society’s members, friends, and staff have ably answered Thomas’s call.

AAS is a principal research center for the study of American history and culture and holds one of the world’s foremost collections of books, newspapers, and broadsides printed in early America. The Society’s library contains nearly 750,000 volumes, over two million newspapers, and substantial holdings of periodicals, graphic arts, and manuscripts.

In Pursuit of a Vision celebrates the generosity and farsightedness of some of the many collectors, book dealers, and librarians who have, each in his or her own way, contributed to the greatness of the American Antiquarian Society. 


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