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Recent Acquisitions: 2000-2002

An Early American Engraving

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

Account Book 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 Foundation.


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 in New York City, ca. 1836-1847; reprint of Dr. John Gregory's book, first published in Great Britain. A Father's

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 first 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 inches.

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 miniature books.


Rules of the
Hawksbill Society

An Unrecorded Shenandoah Valley Pamphlet

Rules of the Hawksbill Society for Apprehending Horse Thieves.
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 community."
Fund 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
August 2001


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 underground vaults.


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


Sailor Boy  

Children's Moveable Book

The Sailor Boy. Published by T.W. Strong, [1864?]. Single sheet that 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."
Sailor Boy
Boy 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.
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.



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 satirical prints.

The 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

Principles of
Politeness One of our most puzzling acquisitions is Principles of Politeness (the 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 [1775]. 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 comparison 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. McKenzie. Inside cover of
Principles in Politeness

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 Lovicy) 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 Principles 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 Masterpiece which 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. Album

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 and cloth.

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.

Album 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, [92] blank white pages, and [4] 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 gilt.

Douglass, Emerson, and Thoreau Letters

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.

Letter of
Frederick Douglass
My Dear Sir:
Seventeen Marshalls are
on the look out for me in the
States, and to avoid arrest I
must avoid a journey to Boston....
The 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.

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: Letter
Frederick Douglass "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.



Nineteenth-Century "Sporting" Newspapers

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 two broadsides.

Vulcan! Mars! Jupiter and Clergymen!!! 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.

Titles Dates
The Advocate of Moral Reform 1838:11:15
The Broadway Belle, and Mirror of the Times 1855:2:26
The Critic 1838:12:13
Dixon's Polyanthos 1841:11:7
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 1833:10:5
The Evening Tatler 1843:4:28
The Flash 1841:3:26, 10:31, 11:6,20, 12:1
National Police Gazette 1849:11:24
The New York Arena 1842:5:24, 27
The New York Aurora 1842:4:8,27
The New York Scorpion 1849:7:23
The Owl 1830:7:10, 8:14, 9:11,25
The Pick 1852:2:21-28
The Polyanthos 1838:7:21, 12:29
The Polyanthos and Fire Department Album 1838:12:5, 1839:2:9
Polyanthos broadsides 1839?
Polyanthos extra 1839:1:15, 2:13
Polyanthos--extra 1839?
Scrutinizer 1827:2:5
Sporting Whip 1843:3:4
Stephen Branch's Alligator 1858:6:5, 7:10
The Subterranean 1843:8:19-26, 9:2
The Sunday Flash 1841:10:17
The Telescope 1826:3:25, 4:22
The Theatrical World 1845:7:12
The True Flash 1841:12:5
Venus' Miscellany 1857:1:31
The Wag, or Literary Earthquake 1839:11:30, 12:7
Whip and Satirist of New York and Brooklyn 1842:4:2-9

Additional Information

Recent Acquisitions Index

Recent Acquisitions in the Newspaper Department

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