Lottery Broadsides and Tickets

Lotteries began in Europe in the sixteenth century. In America, they were a source of revenue for the founding of several colleges, such as Harvard. They have also been used to fund the building of canals, railroads, and turnpikes. Lotteries were used as advertising with prizes such as jewelry, prints, paintings, and books used by merchants to promote their goods.

The American Antiquarian Society's lottery collection includes over 100 broadsides issued by lottery offices and government agencies and approximately 350 tickets ranging in date from the mid-1750's to the late nineteenth century.


The lottery broadsides collection is fully cataloged online in the General Catalog.

All lottery broadsides in the collection are also digitally available in Readex's American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series I under "invitations." This resource is available onsite at AAS and via subscription from Readex.

For access to the lottery ticket collection, please contact our Readers' Services department or the Curator of Graphic Arts, Lauren Hewes.

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