Recent Acquisitions: 2000-2002
An Early American Engraving
A Display of the United States of America
Engraved and Published by Amos Doolittle
New Haven, Connecticut, 1794
Amos Doolittle (1754-1832), the self-taught New Haven printer and
engraver, capitalized on the commercial potential of George Washington's
likeness in this early American presidential political print. Unusually
large and ambitious for its time, it represents a significant achievement
in American popular printmaking.
Originally issued in 1789 after the first presidential election, it marks
Washington's passage from military command to civilian rule and is a
celebration of the Constitution and the new Federal government. In his
ingenious design, Doolittle has encircled the portrait of Washington in a
ring of fourteen interlocking circles containing the seals of the United
States and the original thirteen colonies. Within the circular borders of
the state seals are population statistics and the number of senators and
representatives designated for each state.
The clarity with which Doolittle displayed so much important information
in such an attractive format must have appealed greatly to the citizens of
our new nation. At least five times during Washington's term as
President, Doolittle issued new versions of his portrait, periodically
bringing the names of states and their statistics up to date.
This copy is hand-colored.
Purchased with funds given to the Society by James N. Heald, 2002
John Whittemore Account Books 1806-1836
While the reading room was closed due to construction, other library
activities, including acquisitions, continued unabated. One of the most
exciting new arrivals is a collection of five account books kept between
1806 and 1836 by the Leicester, Massachusetts, bookbinder John
Whittemore. Records of bookbinders are rare, and we are especially
fortunate to have Whittemore's records because both Isaiah Thomas and
Isaiah Thomas, Jr., were among his customers.
Whittemore's accounts of binding for Isaiah Thomas in 1809, shown here,
include a charge of $3.00 for binding 50 copies of Aaron Bancroft's An
Essay on the Life of George Washington (Worcester: Thomas and
Sturtevant, October, 1809). Thanks to the John Whittemore account books,
we now know that Whittemore may well have bound our copy of this book.
Purchased with funds provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities
Challenge Grant for Acquisitions and with funds from the Gladys Brooks
An Unpublished Genealogy
Frank L. Crone. The Crone and Allied Families from which the
Author is Descended. Manila, The Philippines, 1931.
This is a typescript and, as far as we can tell, the genealogy was never
published. The opportunity to purchase it was a stroke of luck. In 1916
Mr. Crone gave the Antiquarian Society a brief history of his family. In
1922 he gave us the family chart. His address in those years was Lima,
Peru. The typescript we just bought from a dealer lists his address as
Manila in the Philippines.
In Mr. Crone's entry for himself in the genealogy, we learn that he was
born near Kendallville, Indiana, in 1875. He graduated from Indiana
University. After six years of teaching in Indiana and Michigan, he
entered the Philippine education service as the Director of Education. He
later served as Director of General Education in Peru. After his
retirement from overseas assignments, he worked as a representative of
D.C. Heath & Company in Richmond, Virginia. He moved back to the
Philippines in 1931, where he finished this typescript.
The Society has a very strong collection of published genealogical
material focusing on early North American lines of descent, including
French-Canadian genealogies. The collection is used extensively not only
by genealogists but also by scholars working on biographical, historical,
and literary topics. Currently, the collection numbers over 18,000 family
histories, plus many reference works. The Society adds to the collection
by purchase and donation.
Purchased on the George E. Ellis Fund.
A Miniature Book
A Father's Legacy to His Daughters, published by Charles Wells
York City, ca. 1836-1847; reprint of Dr. John Gregory's book, first
published in Great Britain.
In the introduction Gregory writes to his
daughters: "The anxiety I have for your happiness has made me resolve to
throw together my sentiments relating to your future conduct in life. If
I live for some years, you will receive them with much greater advantage,
suited to your different geniuses and dispositions."
This charming little book is described in Robert C. Bradbury's
Antique United States Miniature Books 1690-1900 as "likely the
American miniature book directed at the customer who appreciated fine
bindings. This contrasts to the utilitarian bindings of most miniature
books at this time."
There are almost 400 miniature books in the Society's collection. Over
the years, the size for inclusion in the collection has been arbitrary,
but current policy is to limit the height to 75mm, slightly less than 3
Purchased on the Emma Forbes Waite Fund, November 2001. Miss Waite, a
staff member of the Society, died in 1970 at the age of 95. She was
curator of maps and prints and was particularly interested in
lithographs. In her will she left money to AAS for the purchase of
An Unrecorded Shenandoah Valley Pamphlet
Rules of the Hawksbill Society for Apprehending Horse
Printed in 1806 by Richard Bowen, Winchester, Virginia.
This is the only edition of an unrecorded Shenandoah Valley pamphlet. It
sets out in eleven articles the rules of the Society, its geographical
limits, and the names of the members and their plantations.
In the days before town constables, many towns formed groups of thief
detectors from among the leading citizens. Stealing horses was so
prevalent that it became necessary, in the language of the 1795 Worcester
Association of Mutual Aid in Detecting Thieves, "for the well disposed to
unite for protecting their property against the hostile incursions of
unprincipled individuals and lawless freebooters that infest our
Article five of the Hawksbill Society states that a member must pursue a
horse thief for at least 50 miles and if particular news is heard about
the thief and the horse, a further 50 miles is allowed.
In 1977, the Worcester Thief Detectors
dedicated themselves to a new
mission: the support of the American Antiquarian Society. Information
about our friends support group is available on our Web site.
Purchased on the Harry G. Stoddard Memorial Fund
A Monument Pattern Book
William B. Franke's Designs for Monuments.
New York: Published by the author, 1875
Designs for Monuments is a pattern book,
with a handsome decorative title page drawn by the author
and forty plates. There is no text. The plates range from modest grave
markers and headstones to obelisks, sarcophagi, mortuary chapels, and
This book will be of immediate value to a distinguished AAS scholar
researching lithographed memorial prints. Among the issues that interest
her are pictorial sources for the tombs illustrated in the prints. For
example, she has been able to track down a tomb in one print to a French
publication depicting tombs in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. This
volume may lead her to other interesting discoveries.
Funded in part by the Georgia B. and James H. Barnhill Fund
The Sailor Boy. Published by T.W. Strong, [1864?].
folds into a fan shape.
Purchased on the Lapides Fund.
View an enlarged image of this
book (and the reverse side). View its cataloging record.
The story is related on the verso of the pictures, starting with panels of
the Rear Admiral responding to the boy's determination to leave his
mother, with a kiss, and set off for sea:
- The great Rear Admiral heard
The words so boldly spoken,
Said he, "A spirit so brave and true,
Can never in fight be broken
And we shall see
The powder boy
Soon rise to be
Our pride and joy."
This may be viewed as a charming children's story depicting a youth's love
of the sea and of his country; or it may be viewed as a romanticized piece
of war propaganda, a recruitment tool for the navy during the Civil War.
In either case, it will be grist for future scholarly research.
The pictures follow the boy fighting bravely in battle and returning home
a hero. Each evening he knelt to say the prayer his mother taught him.
- He knelt when evening came
To say the prayer she taught,
And scorn'd the wretch who'd shame
His soul with evil thought;
But boldly prayed each morn and night,
For holy aid
To do the right.
An Unrecorded Political Cartoon
This caricature relates to Andrew Jackson's presidency
and was probably issued in time for the 1832 presidential election.
Old Cabinet "Varments" is an unrecorded political cartoon created by James
Akin, a Philadelphia engraver and lithographer well known for his biting
presidential chair looms in the top half of the image while a rat with a
human head, representing one of Jackson's cabinet members, devours a ham.
The rat in the foreground wears a crown labeled "Hereditary," representing
Martin Van Buren, Jackson's vice president.
This print was recently purchased as the gift of Jay T. Last.
A False Imprint
One of our most puzzling acquisitions is Principles of Politeness
popular adaptation by Rev. John Trusler of Lord Chesterfield's Letters)
bearing the imprint "London: Printed by J. Hoof and Sons, at the Sign of
the Turtle, in Pedling Street, (Price, 1/4)." This edition is recorded as
entry no. 65 in Sidney L. Gulick's A Chesterfield Bibliography to 1800
(2nd ed., 1979), and is cataloged in RLIN by the Beinecke Library at Yale.
It is also represented by no. N44035 in the EnglishSTC. In all cases the
imprint is accepted at face value and the edition is tentatively dated
. However, Stephen Weissman, Ximenes Rare Books, Inc., who sold us
the book, acquired it in Massachusetts and noted the signatures of Lemuel
Russell and Lemuel Russell, Knox, Albany County. He described the edition
as "Almost certainly a hitherto unrecognized early American edition."
The book is American in its general appearance, and the two elements
comprising the tailpiece are described in Elizabeth C. Reilly's A
Dictionary of Colonial Printers' Ornaments & Illustrations. A
of this edition with other early American editions revealed that it
resembles the editions printed at Philadelphia by Robert Aitken in 1781,
and at Norwich, Conn., by John Trumbull in 1785. Aitken was not among the
printers who used the ornaments described by Reilly nos. 498 and 567, but
John Trumbull was. In fact, the same ornaments also appear together on
the title page of Joseph Huntington's A Plea Before the Venerable
Ecclesiastical Council at Stockbridge printed by Trumbull in 1780.
A search of both the RLIN and EnglishSTC databases verified that the name
J. Hoof appears in no other imprint at this time. Additionally, the name
is not included in any of the published directories of London printers of
the 18th or 19th centuries, nor does Pedling Street appear in the index of
addresses in Stationers' Company Apprentices, 1701-1800, edited by D.F.
Lemuel Russell was born at Deerfield, Mass., in 1769. As a young man he
was an itinerant trader in Connecticut and could easily have acquired the
book from Trumbull.
He eventually settled at Montague, Mass., where he kept a tavern, married
Hepzibah Hawks in 1802, and died in 1813. His son Lemuel Henry Russell
was born at Montague in 1807. He married there in 1831, and died at
Shelbyville, Ill., in 1838. Although not indicated in the genealogies, it
is possible that he resided temporarily in Albany County, N.Y., during his
migration from Massachusetts to Illinois.
Additional provenance evidence comes from the Beinecke Library copy
inscribed by Eunice Carew in 1784, and from a copy at the Newberry Library
in Chicago, which is inscribed with the names of Lovicy, Edward and Sally
Stebbins. According to the Norwich vital records and the Coit family
genealogy, Eunice Carew was born at Norwich in 1769, married Joseph
Huntington, also of Norwich, in 1791, and died there in 1818. The
Stebbins genealogy and the History and Genealogy of the Families of
Chesterfield, Mass. indicate that Edward and Lovisa (also called
Stebbins were brother and sister born at West Springfield, Mass., in 1765
and 1768. Sally Stebbins, who was born at West Springfield in 1787, and
died there in 1853, was their niece.
The most convincing evidence, however, is from Trumbull himself, who
advertised at the end of his edition of Bickerstaff's New-England
Almanack, for...1784, "Testaments, psalm-books . Chesterfield's
of Politeness . to be sold cheap, at the printing-office in Norwich."
From this evidence we have concluded that the book is indeed an American
imprint, printed at Norwich by John Trumbull, probably in 1783. The
question remains, however, why did Trumbull attach a false imprint to it?
False imprints are usually associated with politically controversial
texts, or with texts such as Fanny Hill or Aristotle's
were considered by many to be immoral. But, a printer might also use a
false imprint if he thought it would be to his economic advantage to do
so, and that seems to have been Trumbull's motivation in this case.
The notice on the title page to his almanac, "Great allowance made to
peddlers," suggests that Trumbull did considerable business with itinerant
merchants like Lemuel Russell. Perhaps they indicated to him that their
customers preferred English books, even during the Revolutionary War,
perceiving them to be of finer quality than American productions. By
manufacturing this edition, although it is no finer than any other of his
imprints, Trumbull was obliging the peddlers and their customers. And by
creating the names "Hoof," "Sign of the Turtle," and "Pedling Street" he
was, undoubtedly, demonstrating his sense of humor.
Doris O'Keefe, our senior cataloger who investigated this book, would be
pleased to hear from anyone who has more information.
New to the Album Collection
The American Antiquarian Society has a collection of albums dating
from the 1820's through the 1860's. These albums, mainly used to collect
sentiments, autographs, and drawings, have been cataloged and added to the
Society's exemplary collection of fine bindings.
For the most part, albums were collections of blank pages of white
or colored papers, with an illustrated title page, and often with
additional illustrations interspersed among the blank pages. Some included
special, elaborate presentation plates. The covers of these books were
quite often fine hand bindings in embossed, gold, or blind stamped leather
There appear to be no records of exactly how albums were created
and marketed. From the evidence which has come to light through the
cataloging of this collection, it is quite possible that these little
books were not mass produced, but were made to order or in small batches
for holiday gift giving. No two albums are identical, although there are
many instances of similarities in page blocks, illustrations, or in
bindings. These similarities helped S.J. Wolfe, Society cataloger, assign
dates, binders, and publishers to those items lacking that information.
Many of the albums do not contain a publication date so she used the
earliest dated inscription to determine a probable date.
The owner's names were traced as access points, as well as the publishers,
binders, and artists whose work went into the items. Physical
characteristics of the bindings, illustrations, and contents were also
given access points in the cataloging record.
This album, owned by Miss Lucinda Medbury of Saratoga County, New
York, was put together and bound by John C. Riker of New York, probably
around 1838. The inscriptions are from family members and acquaintances.
There are several examples of calligraphy in the album, and pieces of
cloth and paper doily have been preserved between some of the pages.
There is a metal engraved title page,  blank white pages, and 
leaves with small engravings at the top of each leaf. The title page
vignette is "The flowers" and is signed by
Stephanoff and Oliver Pelton.
The other small engravings are unsigned.
The binding is gold and blind stamped black morocco. The
centerpiece of the design (which is the same on upper and lower covers) is
a gold stamped lyre. A blind stamped border of flowers and arabesques
frames the centerpiece. A narrow gold single rule outlines the four sides
of the covers. The spine has a gold stamped design with the title: Album.
The number "28" is also stamped in gold on the lower spine. The edges are
Douglass, Emerson, and Thoreau Letters
letters, purchased on the Harry G. Stoddard Memorial Fund, were written
by three of the most important figures in nineteenth century American
thought: Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau.
AAS has recently acquired an extraordinary grouping of three hitherto
unknown letters that shed new light on a pivotal event in American
history-and also on a significant literary response to that event.
My Dear Sir:
Seventeen Marshalls are
on the look out for me in the
to avoid arrest I
must avoid a journey to Boston....
So former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass wrote from Canada on
October 28, 1859, to Charles W. Slack in Boston informing Slack that he
would not be able to keep his engagement to speak in Boston on November 1.
Slack was the organizer of the Fraternity Course, a popular series of
lectures sponsored by Theodore Parker's Congregational parish, and
Douglass had been scheduled to speak on the topic "Self Made Men."
Less than two weeks earlier, John Brown's raid on the government arsenal
at Harper's Ferry had rocked the nation. Douglass had visited Brown in
Virginia in August, bringing money from contributors in the northeast.
Consequently, he was implicated in the raid and was sought for his alleged
role in planning it. The Douglass letter now at AAS shows his state of
mind during the days following Brown's capture:
"I should have written
before-but for the hope that the clouds that now overshadow me would pass
away. Instead of this they grow darker every hour." From Canada,
Douglass went to Great Britain, only returning to the United States the
following year after Brown had been hanged and the government was no
longer interested in prosecuting others involved in the affair.
In the second of these three letters, Ralph Waldo Emerson writes
to Slack on October 31, "I understand that there is some doubt about Mr.
Douglass's keeping his engagement for Tuesday next. If there is a
vacancy, I think you cannot do a greater public good than to send for Mr.
Thoreau, who has read last night here a discourse on the history &
character of Captain John Brown, which ought to be heard or read by every
man in the Republic." On October 30, Thoreau had delivered his lecture
"The Character and Actions of Capt. John Brown" for the first time in the
vestry of the First Parish Meetinghouse in Concord. Emerson was present,
and reports in this letter: "He read it with great force & effect, &
though the audience was of widely different parties, it was heard without
a murmur of dissent." Thoreau wrote to Slack the following day to make
arrangements: "I will come to Boston as desired. My subject will be
'Capt. John Brown'...." He delivered the speech that evening to a crowd
of twenty five hundred at the Tremont Temple, and the lecture was widely
reported in the newspapers.
The outline of the story told in these letters is well known, particularly
because Thoreau's discourse, first published the following year as "A Plea
for Captain John Brown," became one of his most famous essays.
Nonetheless the letters now at AAS provide many new details about
Douglass's fear of being apprehended by federal authorities, about how
Thoreau came to replace Douglass on the podium, and also about Emerson's
enthusiastic reaction to the lecture.
AAS recently acquired a major collection of nineteenth-century "sporting"
newspapers published in New York City. The gift of Leo Hershkowitz,
professor of history at Queens College, N.Y., the collection consists of
27 exceedingly rare titles, consisting of 54 separate issues as well as
With publication dates in the 1830's, '40's, and '50's, the newspapers
help to shed light on the some of the seamier sides of life in the city at
this time. Sunday-school literature it is not: with titles like the Rake,
the Whip, and Venus' Miscellany, these newspapers were the subversive foes
arrayed against the Christian Advocate and other exemplars of the
mainstream press. Instead of lives of the saints, the National Police
Gazette offered "Lives of the Felons." At times pornographic, the sporting
papers were generally filled with scandal, gossip, police reports, theater
news, and crude jests and anecdotes. Somewhat analogous to the
supermarket tabloids of today, the sporting press dealt in sensationalism,
both in word and image. Given their scurrilous contents, many of them
were frequently on the wrong side of the law. In fact, several
Hershkowitz copies bear intriguing annotations, with incriminating
passages marked as evidence of libel.
This important collection adds significantly to already-strong holdings at
AAS in the genre. Eventually the Hershkowitz newspapers will be fully
catalogued; for the time being, the following checklist of titles and
dates gives access to the materials.
| The Advocate of Moral Reform
| The Broadway Belle, and Mirror of the Times
| The Critic
| Dixon's Polyanthos
| Ely's Hawk & Buzzard
|| 1830:6:26, 7:3
1834:3:15-22, 9:6, 11:15
| Evening Star, Courier and Enquirer or
Hawk & Buzzard
| The Evening Tatler
| The Flash
||1841:3:26, 10:31, 11:6,20, 12:1
|National Police Gazette
|The New York Arena
| The New York Aurora
|The New York Scorpion
||1830:7:10, 8:14, 9:11,25
|The Polyanthos and Fire Department Album
| Polyanthos broadsides
| Sporting Whip
| Stephen Branch's Alligator
| The Subterranean
| The Sunday Flash
|The Theatrical World
|The True Flash
|The Wag, or Literary Earthquake
|Whip and Satirist of New York and Brooklyn
Recent Acquisitions Index
Recent Acquisitions in the Newspaper