Give a Gift to AAS Give a Gift to the World

This holiday season, as gifts are being exchanged in households around the world, please consider a gift to AAS to help with a new fundraising initiative.

The research items listed below are housed safely in the Society's stacks in Worcester, Massachusetts, where they can be paged and used by readers and visiting scholars during our usual library hours. But what about a researcher in Peoria, Pittsburgh or Podunk? Alas, the selected objects are not available digitally and therefore can only be used on-site. This is where you come in....with your generous support, you can help AAS make these materials available to anyone, anywhere via the Internet. Your donation will allow us to digitize the book, manuscript, periodical, toy or collection listed below and then put the scans up on our website for everyone to see, whether they be in Australia, Antwerp or Azerbaijan.

Here's how it works. Peruse the catalog below in which the Society's curators have described specific books or collections and explained why they would like the material digitized. Each item is followed by a cost for digitization, ranging from $25 to $250. Select one (or more!) of the items and click the “Digitize for the World” link which will direct a blank email from you to our Rights and Reproductions Department. You will be contacted directly by email for confirmation of how you would like your donation to read and we will send you options for payment. You can even have the work done in honor of someone else. The material will be digitized in coming months, linked to our online catalog, and listed with your name and dedication on this website. We can provide only a single tempting image for each candidate in the catalog because, well, they have not yet been fully digitized! We hope the descriptions will provide ample incentive to donate!

The money you give is a 100% tax-deductible donation to the American Antiquarian Society. Once your donation is received, the historic material will be prepared for photography. Each page or part will be photographed, processed, loaded into the Society's databases and linked up for the world to access! You will receive an email and letter confirming your support in 2013 and a follow-up email (with links!) once the work is done.

Enjoy reading the catalog entries below! We thank you in advance for helping AAS to provide access to these hidden treasures.

For questions contact Lauren Hewes, Curator of Graphic Arts, lhewes@mwa.org


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Peter Quizumall, The New Quizzical Valentine Writer. New York: Published by S. King, 1828.

Want to get a jump on your valentine cards this year? Looking for just the right inspiration to write up? The Society’s collections are just bursting with any type of valentine to get you started – from the comic to the manuscript, and the dark to the adoringly sentimental – we have them all. But if something more in line with traditional American writ and humor is your flavor, allow us to digitize and share this collection of “all the humorous, droll and merry valentines ever published.” Comes with an engraved frontispiece as well!

Digitization funding provided by Caroline F. Sloat in memory of Robin Rothschild | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Nathaniel Paine, compiler, Freaks of Nature Illustrated. 1891.

This scrapbook includes photographs, pamphlets, tickets, and clippings related to people and animals displayed in theaters, side shows, and circuses in the United States from about 1860 to 1890. The principal text is an 1890 article clipped from The Illustrated American titled “Freaks of Nature” which describes several sideshows put forth by professional showmen like P.T. Barnum. The compiler of the scrapbook, Nathaniel Paine, pasted in ticket stubs and photographs of shows he himself attended, including images of a snake charmer, conjoined twins and tattooed people. This volume should be digitized because it contains unusual ephemeral material not available elsewhere and the content is sought after by scholars investigating race, culture, and entertainment history in the post-Civil War era.

Digitization funding has been provided | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Dr. John C. Cutter's Photo Album from Japan, 1878-1887.

This group of seventy photographs gathered by Dr. John C. Cutter was made during the doctor’s tenure as a professor of physiology and comparative anatomy at the College of Agriculture, Sapporo Island. The College of Agriculture (now part of Hokkaido University) opened in 1876 and attempted to bring Western styles of agriculture to Asia. The album includes many studio images of Japanese students and professors, as well as images of Cutter himself, some in traditional Japanese costume. Most were taken in Sapporo by the photographer Takebayashi Seiichi (1842-1908). Additionally, there are several photographs of the streets and landscape around Sapporo. This volume should be digitized because the images inside have not been widely used by scholars studying the era around the opening of Japan and the interactions between East and West.

Digitization funding provided by Lauren B. Hewes in honor of Joseph D. Hewes | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Adalbert John Volck, Confederate War Etchings, Baltimore, c.1862.

Volck (1828-1912) was a German immigrant who settled in Baltimore where he practiced dentistry for many years while also working as an artist. During the Civil War he became active as a Confederate cartoonist. This set of thirty etchings was produced by Volck to counteract the flood of Northern images of the South, which usually featured effeminate officers and raggedly-dressed Confederate Army soldiers. Volck’s satirical images show Union soldiers stealing horses, burning homes, and carousing in urban settings. He depicted Abraham Lincoln as Don Quixote and as a clown. This set of images should be digitized because few images by Southern artists from the Civil War era are widely available to researchers.

Digitization funding provided by Thomas and Gail Bruhn | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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John McCullouch, Distillation, Brewing and Malting. San Francisco: A. Roman & Co., 1867.

Authentic homebrew is on the rise and no matter which way you look, people are looking to perfect their own alcoholic beverages. Why not take a look back into the past to see how it was done in 1876? There are hundreds of cookbooks in the Society's collection - many which shed light on how people prepared, cured, and stored food. This San Francisco imprint which is part of the Society’s thorough cookbook collection includes instructions on distillation, brewing and malting. Today brewing is a combination of art and science – look to the archive for tips to improve your success; consider digitizing this item to liven up your next homebrewhaha.

Digitization funding provided by Derek Pacheco | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Benjamin Bannecker. Holographic manuscript of his 1792 almanac.

Benjamin Bannecker (1731-1806), America's first African American scientist, was born into freedom in Maryland and spent most of his life farming tobacco. Largely self-educated, Bannecker displayed a talent for mathematics and mechanical apparatus. In 1791 he produced the calculations for an almanac of the following year, which was published by William Goddard in Baltimore. Bannecker sent a manuscript copy of his work to Thomas Jefferson, using it as an example of his accomplishments as an African American and criticizing Jefferson's views on slavery. The printed almanac was promoted by abolitionists in Maryland and Pennsylvania and Banneker continued to produce almanacs through 1797. This manuscript is a rare survivor and should be available digitally.

Digitization funding provided by Robert and Beverly Bachelder | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Louis Prang Progressive Proof Book for a Christmas Card, 1881.

This amazing artifact is one of nine progressive proof books housed in the Society's archive of the Boston firm Louis Prang & Co. The production of chromolithographs required complex layering of ink colors to achieve the glossy, decorative effect popular in the era. For this Christmas card designed by American artist Elihu Vedder, the firm used more than twenty colors to depict an angel against a decorative background. The proof books were constructed as a memory aid to the pressmen, to remind them what order the colors were laid down. This object should be digitized because it is used frequently for educational purposes to describe the printing process of chromolithography and to highlight the sheer complexity of the work.

Digitization funding provided by Georgia Barnhill | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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D.C. Johnston, Scraps, Boston, 1829-1849.

This illustrated periodical was issued sporadically in several parts over twenty years by the cartoonist and satirist David Claypoole Johnston. Each issue had several pages of engraved plates, loosely bound in colored paper wrappers. In each issue, the artist explored a theme, or several themes, including temperance, phrenology, events of the day and fashion. Each plate is made up of eight to twelve small cartoons on different subjects, making the pages look like modern-day comic books. This collection should be digitized because Johnston was an astute observer of his surroundings and his sharp wit reveals much about New England during this period. In addition, AAS holds one of the only complete runs of this periodical.

Digitization funding provided by Daniel A. Cohen | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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The Children’s Friend. Number III. A New-Year’s Present, to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve. New York: William B. Gilley, 1821.

The Children’s Friend features one of the earliest images of Santa Claus in American children’s books. The illustrations are described by the publisher as prepared “in a method entirely new” -- a reference to the recently discovered process of lithography which was used to create the pictures and the text. This copy was given to AAS benefactor Stephen Salisbury III in 1841, when he was six years old, and then was carefully preserved in the family library. This book should be digitized because it is among the rarest children’s books at AAS and the images of holiday celebrations are sought after by scholars.

Digitization funding provided by Hal Espo and Ree DeDonato | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Bret Harte, illustrations by E.M. Schaeffer. The Pliocene Skull. Washington, D.C.: Peters & Rehn, ca. 1871.

AAS has a wonderful collection of the work of the California author and poet Bret Harte. Harte started writing poetry at age 11 and continued to write until his death in 1902. Much of his work was first published in newspapers and magazines. This wonderful photo-lithographically printed version of “To the Pliocene Skull” reproduces Harte’s famous satirical poem written after the “discovery” of the Calaveras Skull in a California mine in 1866. Though widely understood at the time to be a hoax, the skull was frequently referred to in the scientific community as the earliest New World human fossil (it actually dates to about 1,000 AD). This book should be digitized because illustrated versions of Harte’s work are less frequently made available online and this is the only known work done by the illustrator Schaeffer.

Digitization funding provided by Hal Espo and Ree DeDonato | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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F. Mayer & Co. Specimen Book. New York, 1863.

This sample book contains examples of printed job work done by Ferdinand Mayer & Co., which was based in New York from 1858 through the 1870s. Included are nearly 400 examples of lithographed or chromolithographed labels, blank checks, billheads and trade cards. Pasted inside the front cover is a solicitation letter addressed to a stationer in Maine outlining terms and explaining how to decipher the accompanying price list. Samples inside the volume show the firm’s impressive reach: Mayer & Co had clients in New England and New York, but they also did work for businesses in Latin America. This book should be digitized because archives of job work of American printers are extremely rare and offer an insight into the variety of small jobs done on presses across the United States.

Digitization funding provided by Hal Espo and Ree DeDonato | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Illustrated cards, The Mother’s Remarks on a Set of Cuts for Children. Philadelphia: T. S. Manning for Jacob Johnson, 1803.

This set of engraved cards is part of an early educational game made up of paper letters, text and images all published in America in 1803. While the books and paper letters have been digitized, the illustrated cards have only selectively been photographed. To use the game, a child selected a card, each of which bear six numbered images corresponding to entries in the bound books. Then the student spelled out the word to describe the image, using the supplied letters. This material should be digitized because without the images, the text is less useful to scholars. In addition the cards include very early depictions of household objects, shop fronts and animals native to the United States.

Digitization funding provided by Helen R. Kahn in Memory of Fred Kahn | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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F.O.C. Darley, Account Book 1853-1875.

Felix Octavius Carr Darley was one of the most important illustrators in American in the nineteenth century. His designs were used to illustrate books by seminal authors such as James Fennimore Cooper, Washington Irving, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He also illustrated dozens of children’s books and provided pictures for periodicals and newspapers like Graham’s Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine and The Saturday Museum. This account book tracks Darley’s income and expenses during the later portion of his career and includes details of commissions for illustrating novels, poems as well as information on his painting production and work as a draftsman. This volume should be digitized because this rare set of accounts offers unique insights into American book production and the business of being an artist in the nineteenth century.

Digitization funding provided David Doret and Linda Mitchell | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Council for New England Records, "The booke of Orders," 1622-1623.

The Council for New England, the reorganized Plymouth branch of the Virginia Company, was incorporated by a charter issued by King James I on 3rd November 1620 for "the planting, ruling, and governing of New England, in America." The Council was granted all the land, from sea to sea, and controlled the area by issuing all orders, commissions, patents, and grants of land for the purposes of division at a profit.This manuscript is the original book of minutes of all the meetings of the Council for New England for the period 31 May 1622 to 29 June 1623, and is the oldest extant documentary record relating to all of New England. Several items discussed concern the granting of licenses for ships to go to New England, the granting of patents, trouble caused by the ruthlessness of one "Captain Jones" along "Capecodd", and the division of New England into twenty parts. This document should be digitized because of its age and the insights it offers into the management and development of the New England colonies.

Digitization funding provided by Donald F. Nelson | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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The Myriopticon. A Historical Panorama. The Rebellion. Springfield, Massachusetts: Milton Bradley & Co., 1868.

The Myriopticon is a handheld paper panorama toy which depicts selected events from the American Civil War. The panorama-in-a-box is accompanied by a pre-printed lecture, tickets, and a broadside to be posted by the child outside the parlor where the toy was to be presented. The broadside spoofs on rhetoric used in advertisements for full-sized panoramas (which usually promoted the size of the roll), stating, “This splendid work of art is painted on nearly 1,000 square inches of surface.” The panorama takes a decidedly Northern view of the war, with Union victories illustrated and American flags flying in nearly every scene. The script that the child was to read while advancing the images is full of facts (number of wounded, technical advances of the navy, etc.) but is also peppered with humorous, entertaining commentary. This object should be digitized because access to this fragile object is difficult and the scenes and text included would be of great interest to historians of the era.

Digitization funding provided by Hal Espo and Ree DeDonato | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Photographs of the Tuskegee Institute and Normal School, Tuskegee, Alabama, ca. 1894.

This small collection is made up of fifty-eight views of the Tuskegee Institute (today Tuskegee University), founded in 1881 by Booker T. Washington as an educational center for African Americans. The photos were made sometime around 1894 and depict the various portions of the campus. The photographs are all mounted on cards and include handwritten inscriptions. There are views of interiors of classrooms and workshops, group photographs of students, and depictions of buildings on the campus. This collection should be digitized because it illustrates the history of one of the nation’s great educational institutions.

Digitization funding provided by Robert and Beverly Bachelder | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Mrs. Tom Thumb, paper doll. New York: McLoughlin Bros. between 1863 and 1869.

In 1863, with the Civil War raging, P.T. Barnum arranged the wedding of two famous performers, Lavinia Warren and Charles Stratton, better known as Mr. & Mrs. Tom Thumb. The event was a lavish affair with President Lincoln holding a reception for the couple at the White House. Probably in response to the immense public interest, the book and toy makers McLoughlin Bros. issued this paper doll set of Mrs. Tom Thumb, complete with the doll, five outfits, and instructions. This set should be digitized because the wrapper contains important publishing information for other paper dolls and the toy itself is quite fragile.

Digitization funding provided by Laura Wasowicz in honor of Lauren Hewes | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Amateur Newspaper, The Daily Courier. Springfield, Mass. Feb. 26-April 22, 1894.

The Daily Courier was an amateur newspaper published by children. The editor was fourteen- year-old Harold Merriam Rowley and the reporters included his younger brother, Arthur, age 11. The boys were related to the founders of the Merriam Publishing Company, known for the successful Merriam Webster Dictionary. Their father was serving as president of the firm at the time his sons were producing this newspaper. The paper achieves a seamless blend of the adult and juvenile worlds, with news of the family, its lavish estate Wyndhurst which overlooked Springfield, and the goings-on there; with world and national news; and with news of the boys’ own lives.This newspaper should be digitized because the mimeographed pages are extremely fragile and handling puts the paper at risk.

Digitization funding provided by Paula Petrik | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Comic Crumbs to Feed Little Ones. New York: McLoughlin Bros. between 1859 and 1862.

This book for children is full of cautionary poems about what can happen to you if you misbehave (similar to your mother telling you “do you want your eyes to stay like that” when you would look at her cross-eyed). In this case there is a poem about a boy who is turned into a dog for dog-earing his books and a coward who eventually becomes a mouse. This book should be digitized because it is an excellent example of the early work of one of the great publishers of children’s books in the United States.

Digitization funding provided by Isada Martignetti and Bart Rosenberg in memory of their father Milton Rosenberg, 1925-2007 | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Carolyn Wells, Christmas Alphabet. New York: McLoughlin Bros. 1899-1900.

This holiday alphabet poem was first published in the Youth’s Companion and was reissued with beautiful color images of Kris Kringle, elves, winter sports, and toys for the holiday market by McLoughlin Bros. The poem was written by American writer and poet Carolyn Wells (better known as a novelist and mystery author). Kris Kringle has emerged from his earlier depictions as a tiny, sooty elf into the large, red suited jolly man more familiar to today’s audience. This book should be digitized because the illustrations are fabulous and the poem is just as charming today as it was when first published.

Digitization funding provided by Sally Talbot | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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John Greenleaf Whittier, Poems Written During the Progress of the Abolition Question in the United States, between the Years 1830 and 1838. Boston: Isaac Knapp, 1837.

This volume of Whittier’s poems collected for the first time his verses written on behalf of the abolitionist cause. The author had little editorial control over the volume, but he made amends the following year by carefully editing a revised and expanded edition. This copy of the volume bears Whittier’s corrections and changes, made in his characteristic purple ink. This book should be digitized because of its marginalia and the fact that it shows the editorial process.

Digitization funding provided by Donald F. Nelson | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Francis Kelsey, A Practical Treatise on the Description, Cultivation and Management of Honey Bees. New York: Printed by J.M. Marsh, 1837.

With a recent surge in attention to beekeeping, this essay reads like a how-to blog of today on the subject of how to start and care for bees in your own backyard. Including such subareas as the history of the field, also found in the treatise is the dividing of a swarm, hunting and domesticating bees from the forest, wintering them and “remarks on the neglect and cruelty with which these worthy insects are treated”; incorporates how to make beeswax, beer and vinegar. With the web full of insights on how to keep bees, this twenty-four page pamphlet is a concise narrative of how one of our favorite sustainable-living pastimes was practiced in the nineteenth century.

Digitization funding provided by Emily Pawley | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Dakota Prairie Pioneer. Volumes 5-7. Iroquois, South Dakota. Edited by A.J. Drake, 1891-1893.

Have you ever wondered what Laura Ingalls Wilder might have read during the Long Winter? The Dakota Prairie Pioneer might just be the supplemental text you’re looking for. This monthly religious periodical “published in the interest of the Dakota Congregational churches” from Iroquois, South Dakota boasts such stories and columns as Second Hand Clothing, Christmas Entertainments, Poetry, Hints for Parents, Activity versus efficiency and Give the Boys Tools. This should be digitized because it will help provide context for young (and old) lovers of Wilder’s popular series; it also highlights life on the prairie.

Digitization funding provided by Paula Petrik | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Argus, A Tale of Lowell. Lowell : "Vox populi office", 1849.

The factories of Lowell have their own lure and mystery about them – as does the surrounding (and surviving) print culture. Everything from the well-known Lowell Offering to factory magazines is kept in the Society’s collections – including this fictional double-column printed, Tale of Lowell: Norton or Lights and Shades of a Factory Village, which describes the exploits of Norton, Caldwell, Julia Church and Saucy Meg. Have this item digitized so we can continue to provide access to the rich, textual and varied literature surrounding this important part of American industrial history.

Digitization funding provided by Robert and Beverly Bachelder | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Little Red Riding Hood. New York: Published by Edwd. Dunigan, ca. 1839; The History of Little Red Riding Hood. New York: McLoughlin Bros. ca. 1859.

Don’t look twice, but we’re offering two items up for digitization spaced approximately two decades apart. Have you ever wanted to do your own literary comparison of texts and illustrations? Then these two hand-colored illustrated editions of Little Red Riding Hood are for you. The paper wrappers and sewn gatherings allow us to see the glory of these fairy tales in the nineteenth-century – in a format that you could just eat up! Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well for Red Riding Hood. But the hand-colored illustrations are to dine for.

Digitization funding provided by Hal Espo and Ree DeDonato | Catalog Record for 1839 edition | Catalog Record for 1859 edition | View digitized 1839 edition | View digitized 1859 edition


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Lydia Maria Child. Letters, 1845-1880.

Lydia Maria Francis Child (1802-1880) did more than pen the famous “Over the River and Through the Wood” a poem about Thanksgiving. Child was a noted author, journalist, activitist and reformer known for her extensive writing spanning fiction, nonfiction, Indian’s rights, children’s literature, cooking and home economics. The lion’s share of letters (fifty-six) are addressed to Marianne Cabot Devereaux Silsbee (1812-1899), author and wife of Nathaniel Silsbee. This subset of Child’s recognized correspondence should be digitized because it represents many of her wide-ranging interests including abolition and music.

Digitization funding provided by Brigitte Fielder | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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San Francisco News Letter and Pacific Mining Journal. San Francisco: Office of the San Francisco News Letter, 1865.

Stop the presses! This mining newspaper and financial/business periodical has all you need to help your upcoming mining expedition. Though scarce in holdings, these two issue from 1865 are part-news and part-advertiser containing stories, poems, information and intelligence, the price of gold bars and a stock circular. Though it retains its original uncut format, help us to digitize and make this item available for other scholars interested in primary documents pertaining to American Western history.

Digitization funding provided by William Wallace | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Ream Wrapper Collection

In the nineteenth-century paper producers wrapped their paper in decorative papers, just as they do today. A ream wrapper helps to separate the order into quantity blocks, to keep those blocks clean and unwrinkled, and also to advertise the firm that produced the paper. Common pictorial motifs include the interior and the exterior of mills (sometimes showing employees at work), equipment, and the layout of the mill and its surrounding property. The Society’s ream wrapper collection includes over 50 examples of wrappers from New England, New York and Pennsylvania. This collection should be digitized because it could be used by a wide audience of scholars, including economic historians, landscape historians, and individuals interested in papermaking and distribution.

Digitization funding provided by Jonathan Senchyne | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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M.P. Simon, Photography in a Nut Shell; or, The Experience of an Artist in Photography, on Paper, Glass and Silver. Philadelphia: King & Baird, 1858.

Montgomery Pike Simons was a well-known photographer in Philadelphia when he authored this hand book. He started filing for patents in 1843, produced cases for daguerreotypes, and by 1848 was behind the camera. Over the course of his career, he wrote several volumes on many parts of the trade with a focus on the various types of coloring. This book should be digitized because it explains in detail how photographers worked and the skills needed for this “new” medium.

Digitization funding provided by Ellen Dunlap in honor of the photography program at Clark University | Catalog Record | View digitized item


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Madame de Chatelain, Bridal Etiquette. New York: Dick & Fitzgerald, ca. 1870.

Do you wonder how you would have fared as a nineteenth-century wife-to-be? This pocket-sized paper-covered guide is just the item to help you see how your traditions and special day would have held up. Consider having this item digitized for the special bride in your life – or for the special shopkeeper who always insisted on a bit of Victorian-era charm (à la a touch of elegance) in every special day.

Digitization funding provided by Jackie Penny in memory of Madeline Elwell | Catalog Record | View digitized item

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