The name evokes much for historians, silver collectors, art historians and printmakers. Among his other trades were dentistry, ventures into an iron and brass foundry, innovator of rolled copper and, of course, ardent patriot. While Revere (1735-1818) is most famously known for his legendary midnight ride as well as his three-dimensional wares, his prints and works on paper remain some of the most iconic images of the late eighteenth-century. This online inventory celebrates the extensive Revere collection of the American Antiquarian Society (AAS), including items within eight boxes in the Graphic Arts collection.1 Additionally, the Illustrated Inventory page contains his separately published prints, currency, receipts and bookplates, illustrations and plates, political pieces and descriptions of the folders of reproductions of the originals. Provided are titles, sheet and plate sizes, approximate dates, subject-tags, links to bibliographic records and detailed descriptions as well as images for both viewing and downloading. To keyword search or browse across the collection, we have also provided a Searchable PDF of the entire inventory as well as a Thumbnail Gallery with reduced-sized images.
Revere’s engravings, particularly those crafted for the widely-circulated Royal American Magazine published by AAS founder Isaiah Thomas (1749-1831) are also included, as is his significant Boston Massacre scene.2 These are essential objects for understanding American political, social, cultural, artistic and even literary development. Notably however, the sources for many of Revere’s prints are of British origin. When he created these pieces, public groups as well as private individuals of the American colonies often scoured British works in preparation for their ideological war with Great Britain. Revere, through the use of these visuals, copied and altered the British prints to suit his American audience. Such prints have been tagged with the notation Source: English; still, such prints may also be found under Caricatures and Cartoons or even Portrait. It is noteworthy that Revere’s prints easily fit into various subjects and can therefore be found under several headings. The Subject-Tag Browse feature of this site serves as an index for these images.
The authority on Revere’s works at the Society is undoubtedly the work by AAS librarian and president Clarence S. Brigham (1877-1963) whose Paul Revere’s Engravings (1954; 1969) remains the most significant book on the subject. You will find in this inventory selections of the text available to download as PDF files as they offer additional bibliographic, source and background information.3 It is worthy of mention that numerous institutions contain Revere collections which Brigham accessed for his study; the Massachusetts State Archives houses his copperplates, the Worcester Art Museum houses one of the largest collections of his silverwares, and the Massachusetts Historical Society houses his Account Book. The Resources page lists other Revere collections, a bibliography of works and sources, a table of unknown Revere items and a how to use this site feature.
Finally, it should be noted that this inventory is for scholars and students of all ages and academic levels. Revere’s imagery is frequently used to illustrate American history texts and is often the first visual material students see of historical events. His work is included in articles and monographs, which showcase Revolutionary events and philosophy, and is featured in documentaries and in textbooks. Therefore we invite you to use the images and content of this site in your scholarly projects, lesson plans, presentations, art, history reports and research.
The Revere engravings are some of the Society’s most frequently used and reproduced items. His visual culture is broad in its breadth, touching on every aspect of eighteenth-century life, from the formal to the ephemeral. Testament to this extensiveness is the fact that in compiling the inventory, work had to be done across the Society’s collections. Representatives of Revere’s works are not contained within a single curatorial area. Book, manuscript, newspaper and serials as well as graphic arts departments had to be accessed and digitized for this comprehensive inventory. They are compiled here in a virtual “collection” space. Every attempt has been made to identify where specific pieces are located within the collection with a link to the item or book record. This inventory reflects and offers reproductions of AAS holdings 4; the images appear as they were photographed and have not been altered. If you have any questions about location and/or reproductions, please contact Rights & Reproductions of the Graphic Arts Department.