The American Antiquarian Society's collection of drawings consists of over 550 items in graphite, pen, ink and wash, chalk, watercolor and charcoal ranging in size from items used as bookmarks to large landscapes and portraits intended for display in the home; there are also over a dozen sketchbooks. The collection ranges in date from the late 1700s to the early twentieth century, with the bulk dating from the mid-nineteenth century. For the most part, the works in this collection are by amateurs, not professional artists, and they are representative of similar collections stashed away in local historical societies and other libraries.
The online AAS Drawings Collection Inventory includes a thumbnail image, detailed description, and dimensions for each drawing. Date and acquisition information is included when it is available. The collection may be browsed by the following seven categories: landscape, portrait, still life, decorative, genre, marine, city views & buildings. There is also an index of artists and sitters. Drawings created as preliminary work for publication and drawings where a print was used as a source for student drawings have been identified. If AAS holds a print version of a source drawing, a link to the publication's record in the online catalog is supplied. Jaclyn Penny created this inventory as part of the collection access initiative of the Center for Historic American Visual Culture. Other collection inventories will follow.
Other AAS collecions containing drawings include the Cross Collection, David Claypool Johnson Collection, George Dubois Family Collection, Louis Maurer Collection, McLoughlin Collection, and the Sidney L. Smith Collection. The school books collection includes over 150 instructional drawing books. There are also architectural, bookplate, calling card, manuscript map, and Pennsylvania-German fraktur drawings.