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Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society

The Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society ceased publication with volume 118, part 2, dated October 2008. The Society's journal has been a source for articles, bibliographies, and tools for scholarship within the general area of American history and culture through 1876. Following the establishment in 1983 of the interdisciplinary Program of the History of the Book in American Culture at the Society, the journal was, for a quarter of a century, an indispensable journal for the publication of distinguished new scholarly work. These include the annual James Russell Wiggins Lectures in the History of the Book in American Culture and a new series of Robert C. Baron Lectures in which a scholar revisits a prize-winning study twenty-five or more years after its initial publication.

The staff of the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society regrets that no further contributions of articles will be considered for publication.

Back copies are still available and may be purchased for $22.50 per issue. A list of offprints, indexed by author and subject, of many of the articles from the Proceedings indicates those that are available in a handsome format, frequently with illustrations. A number of the books published by the Society originated in the Proceedings.

Current and Recent Issues

Volume 118, Part 1 (2008)
Contains the Proceedings of the Semiannual Meeting in April 2008, the Report of the Council, obituaries of recently deceased members, and the following articles:

  • "Taking a Look at 'Grant' Twenty-five Years Later," by William S. McFeely. Pages 39-54.
    William S. McFeely presented the fourth annual Robert C. Baron Lecture, a reflection on a seminal scholarly work by a member of the American Antiquarian Society. Discussing Grant: A Biography, which was published in 1981, McFeely describes it as a product of its time: the close of the 1960s, the time of the Civil Rights movement, an attempt to understand the troubles in the South by looking at the 1860s. He wrote about well-known events such as Cold Spring and Appomattox by focusing on personal details. His choice to write biographies about abolition, the Civil War, and Reconstruction has given him a perspective on how this genre of writing is shaped stylistically that he shared with examples from the books, Grant and Frederick Douglass.
    Available as offprint number 1034
  • "Providence in the Life of John Hull: Puritanism and Commerce in Massachusetts Bay, 1650-1680," by Mark Valeri. Pages 55-116
    Knotty relationships emerged between merchants and ministers of the second generation in Massachusetts Bay. The tension centered on the disparity between a Puritan piety that eschewed the use of courts to adjudicate between creditors and debtors and the emerging market economy that relied on debt litigation and a legal culture for expansion. Like other devout Boston merchants, John Hull listened to clergy such as Elihu Hubbard, who believed that the fate of New England depended on its civic institutions. Hull's story represents the importance of theological and moral transformations from within Puritanism — changes in conceptions of the church, providence, and the civic order.
    Available as offprint number 1035
  • "Alexander Campbell's Passion for Print: Protestant Sectarians and the Press in the Early United States," by Beth Barton Schweiger. Pages 143-76
    This essay examines Alexander Campbell's early career as a printer, focusing on the form and production of his voluminous publications in the decade before 1830, when he ended production of the Christian Baptist to begin the Millennial Harbinger. Campbell made his name as a sharp-tongued sectarian in the pages of his publications, most of which he printed himself, becoming a leading voice among the Protestants who later became known as the Disciples of Christ.
    Available as offprint number 1036
  • "The Limits of 'Good Feeling': Partisan Healing and Political Futures during James Monroe's Boston Visit of 1817," by Sandy Moats. Pages 155-191
    When President James Monroe's tour took him to Boston in July 1817, the New England Federalists coined the notion of an "Era of Good Feelings." Benjamin Russell, Federalist editor of the Columbian Centinel, promoted the tour as a way to return his party to national politics rather than a rejection of partisanship and the practice of newspaper exchange promoted a wide debate. At a time when older Federalists were withdrawing from the political scene, their younger counterparts established invigorated political institutions as a basis for seeking national office, forming the second American party system.
    Available as offprint number 1037


Volume 118, Part 2 (2009)
Contains the Proceedings of the Semiannual Meeting in October 2008, the Report of the Council, obituaries of recently deceased members, and the following articles:

  • "Re-Examining the Problem of Slavery in Western Culture," by David Brion Davis. Pages 247-66.
    In this essay, the fifth annual Robert C. Baron Lecture, Davis reflects on a career of scholarly work and publication that focused attention on the supreme paradox that Western culture has long combined extraordinary coercion and violence with a celebration of individual freedom. The central question addressed was what he called a problem of moral perception: Why was it that at a certain moment of history, a small number of men and women not only saw the full horror of a social evil to which mankind had been blind for centuries, but felt impelled to attack it through personal testimony and cooperative action? The question required a very complex analysis of how profound intellectual and cultural change can occur.
    Available as offprint number 1038
  • "Scribal Publication in Seventeenth-Century New England: A Second Checklist," by David D. Hall. Pages 267-96
    An addition of seventy scribal publications that supplement the checklist of eighty-three texts published in the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society (115) in 2006 is a result of ongoing browsing in town and church histories and documentary collections. Recovering this evidence of circulating handwritten texts contributes to our understanding of the important though little understood role these communications played in seventeenth-century New England.
    Available as offprint number 1039
  • "'Brutus' and 'Cato' Unmasked: General John Williams's Role in the New York Ratification Debate, 1787-88," by Joel A. Johnson. Pages 297-338
    Assessment of the authorship evidence for two famous sets of Anti-Federalist essays from the New York ratification debate of 1787-88 indicates the role of the opposition to the Constitution at the June 1788 ratifying convention dominated by the Anti-Federalists. Because the contest in New York was so vital and close, public debate in the months leading up to the ratifying convention was rich and varied. In this debate, conducted mostly under pseudonyms, prominent roles were played by the essays of "Cato" and "Brutus." The authorship of these writings, seemingly unknown to contemporary readers, has continued to baffle generations of historians. This essay contends that John Williams, an influential political leader from Salem, New York, wrote both the Cato and the Brutus essays.
    Available as offprint number 1040
  • "The Harvard College Library and Its Users, 1762-1764: Reassessing the Relevance of Colonial American College Libraries," by David R. Whitesell. Pages 339-406
    Harvard College library records reveal brief, regular periods of intense activity when seniors gained access, although loans tended not to be returned on time, withholding popular works from general use. Borrowers tended to favor more recent works and editions, especially those in English. Seniors' reading was eclectic, with works of history, science, biography, literature, philosophy, mathematics, and medicine represented in addition to theology. After the 1764 fire, a new "common use" collection mandated for undergraduates better served readers' changing interests.
    Available as offprint number 1041
  • "Books for Barbados and the British Atlantic Colonies in the Early Eighteenth Century: 'A Catalogue of Books to be Sold by Mr. Zouch'," by David McKitterick. Pages 407-66
    The extensive and wide-ranging retail catalogue that is the subject of this study was printed in London for a bookseller in Barbados and has hitherto escaped extended notice. The primary focus is on recently printed works shipped to Barbados, but there were far too many books in this catalogue just for that small island, rich though it was. When Barbados is considered the first port of call before Jamaica and the east coast of North America, the story takes on new dimensions--both geographical and in the world of missionary endeavor.
    Available as offprint number 1042


Volume 117, Part 1 (2007)
Contains the Proceedings of the Semiannual Meeting in April 2007, the Report of the Council, obituaries of recently deceased members, and the following articles:

  • "Righteous Empire Revisited," by Martin E. Marty. Pages 37-60.
    Martin E. Marty presented the third annual Robert C. Baron Lecture, a reflection on a seminal scholarly work by a member of the American Antiquarian Society. Marty reflects on the circumstances that led, some forty years ago, to a study of .the Protestant Experience in America.. Since that time and his choice of the term "Righteous Empire," the "Experience" has become less visible and vital, as it necessarily shared more of its status and influence with its companions inside pluralist America. Imperial aspirations today emerge from only one wing of Protestantism, which usually chooses to identify itself in semi-isolation from its old kin under the name "Evangelical" or Southern Baptist
    Available as offprint number 1027
  • "'May We Put Forth Our Leaves': Rhetoric in the School Journal of Mary Ware Allen, Student of Margaret Fuller, 1837-1838," by Granville Ganter and Hani Sarji, Pages 61-142.
    A student diary that describes classes with Margaret Fuller at Providence's Greene Street School provides a glimpse of her influence on the education of women. In her teaching Fuller brought women writers and thinkers to the attention of her students and promoted the development their own writing skills through the keeping of journals. This diary is a source for studying Fuller's own emerging ideas.
    Available as offprint number 1028
  • "Strangers in the House of God: Cotton Mather, Onesimus, and an Experiment in Christian Slaveholding," by Kathryn S. Koo. Pages 143-76
    Cotton Mather's practical experiment in Christianized slaveholding represents a significant case study for the examination of the paradox of slavery as a form of "kinship" in New England. When Mather received the African whom he named Onesimus, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, slavery was already well established in New England. Mather had become something of a public advocate on behalf of all slaves. However, Mather's efforts to teach Onesimus to read succeeded, his efforts to convert him to Christianity failed, resulting in the dismissal of Onesimus from the clergyman's household.
    Available as offprint number 1029
  • "Selling Captain Riley, 1816-1859: How Did His 'Narrative' Become So Well Known?" by Donald J. Ratcliffe. Pages 177-210
    James Riley's extraordinary tale of shipwreck, enslavement, and liberation captivated many American readers in the nineteenth century. Asking how Riley and his tale became so well known in the United States — the Narrative may have been a looming bestseller in the middle months of 1817, but popular interest quickly waned — this essay examines claims of sales and readership, finding that these are not the source of its cultural significance. Popular awareness of Riley and his account of African geography and portrayal of Islamic and Jewish life was fueled by extensive press coverage and eventual anthologizing in children's literature.
    Available as offprint number 1030
  • "Nathaniel Coverly and Son, Printers, 1767-1825" by Kate Van Winkle Keller. Pages 211-52.
    This essay — an introduction to a checklist of the imprints of Nathaniel Coverly, Sr., and Nathaniel Coverly, Jr. — confirms that these printers were unable to establish themselves or their businesses in a single location. But a close examination of the documentary evidence demonstrates their contributions to the reading material of adults and children in New England for more than fifty years, from The History of the Holy Jesus (1770) and the broadsides of 1775 and 1776 to patriotic songs praising the naval exploits of Boston's own U.S.S. Constitution in the War of 1812 and the popular contemporary narrative of The Female Marine.
    This essay and the checklists appearing in part 2 have been published as a single title, Printers of Ballads, Books, and Newspapers: Biographical Notes and Checklists for Nathaniel Coverly, Sr., Nathaniel Coverly Jr., and Joseph White.
    Distributed by Oak Knoll Books for AAS. More information

Volume 117, Part 2 (2007)
Contains the Proceedings of the Annual Meeting in October 2007, the Report of the Council, obituaries of recently deceased members, and the following articles:

  • "The Carroll Family of Maryland," by Ronald Hoffman. Pages 331-50.
    An investigation of the Carroll family’s Irish roots and their efforts to retain their faith and prosper that led them to Maryland had unanticipated twists. This colony had initially welcomed Catholic residents extending civil rights that were denied in England or Ireland, but later passed harsh laws denying these rights. Because its assembly never managed to enact any laws depriving Catholics of the right to own land or to inherit property, the Carrolls were able to build and preserve their fortune through the work of enslaved people whose lives are also extensively documented in the family papers. The Carrolls were part of a world that eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Marylanders—black and white, bound and free—made together.
    Available as offprint number 1032
  • " Financing America’s First Literary Boom by Wayne Franklin, Pages 351-78.
    In this, the annual James Russell Wiggins Lecture in the History of the Book in America, Franklin traces the origins of commercial fiction publishing in the United States. He reviews a fifty-year period in which the fiction or the business models were flawed, preceding the arrival of James Fenimore Cooper on the literary scene. Cooper’s model was fresh and American: historical fiction centered on contemporary issues of national concern. His work was also in dialogue with Sir Walter Scott’s novels, although not always in a friendly way. Cooper managed his early career to be able to recoup his fortune, while also creating the career of the American author by noticing the market for popular American tales.of journals. This diary is a source for studying Fuller's own emerging ideas.
    Available as offprint number 1031
  • “Checklist of the Publications of Nathaniel Coverly and Son, 1767-1825,” by Kate Van Winkle Keller. Pages 379-450.
    A checklist of the imprints of Nathaniel Coverly, Senior and Junior. Several broadsides were printed by Nathaniel, Sr., in the 1775-76 period and a single item in 1795. Other publications by both father and son are presented chronologically up to 1810, alphabetically within each year. Between 1810 and 1825, Nathaniel Coverly, Jr., issued a large number of broadsides, most with his imprint, many without, and only a few with dates; the checklist also includes books and pamphlets listed under the probable year of publication and concludes with a list of all broadsides.
  • “Joseph White: A Biographical Note and Preliminary Checklist of his Publications, 1783-1833,” by Kate Van Winkle Keller. Pages 451-68.
    Joseph White (c. 1755-1836) was a Revolutionary War veteran and a printer in Boston. Neither made him wealthy. He was in business for four years with Charles Cambridge (1788-92) and also did work for Nathaniel Coverly, Jr. A checklist of work identified as Joseph White’s indicates that he signed very few of the broadsides printed after 1800, but his typesetting is so distinctive that it is likely that more will now be identified.

    A separate publication combines these checklists with the essay by Kate Van Winkle Keller, "Nathaniel Coverly and Son, Printers, 1767-1825," that appeared in part 1: Printers of Ballads, Books, and Newspapers: Biographical Notes and Checklists for Nathaniel Coverly, Sr., Nathaniel Coverly Jr., and Joseph White.
    Distributed by Oak Knoll Books for AAS More information

Volume 116, Part 1 (2006)
Contains the Proceedings of the Semiannual Meeting in April 2006, the Report of the Council, obituaries of recently deceased members, and the following articles:
  • "Troubled in Mind: The Education of a Historian," by Leon Litwack. Pages 37-58.
    Leon Litwack presented the second annual Robert C. Baron Lecture, a reflection on a seminal scholarly work by a member of the American Antiquarian Society. Rather than review the historiography of black emancipation since the publication of Been in the Storm So Long (1979), Litwack described how he came to write it, how and why he committed himself to the writing and teaching of African American history, and the influences that shaped that commitment more than half a century ago.
    Available as offprint number 1023
  • "Jesuits, Huguenots, and the Apocalypse: The Origins of America's First French Book," by Evan Haefeli and Owen Stanwood. Pages 59-120.
    The first French book in North America was printed in Boston in May 1690. The tract Echantillon de la Doctrine que les Jésuites enségnent aus Sauvages du Nouveau Monde ["A Sample of the Doctrine that the Jesuits teach to the Savages of the New World"], was composed by the Huguenot minister Ezechiel Carré. A preface by Cotton Mather endorses the work, an exposé of the techniques used by Jesuits in New France to convert Native Americans to Christianity.
    Available as offprint number 1024
  • "The Transatlantic Travels of James Thomson's 'The Seasons' and its Baggage of Material Culture, 1730-1870," by Louise Stevenson. Pages 121-65
    The Seasons, a 5,541-line epic poem by James Thomson (1700-1748) of Scotland, first published in 1730, became a transatlantic publishing phenomenon despite its modest literary quality. The author discusses the widespread popularity of the verbal and visual texts of The Seasons and investigates the Whig or republican ideas that accompanied this poem to America and how the ideas that it promoted were widely spread and consolidated. Evidence is drawn from decorative arts, paintings and prints, political theory and philosophy, novels and poetry, newspaper advertisements, and schoolgirl embroidery.
    Available as offprint number 1025


Volume 116, Part 2 (2007)
Contains the Proceedings of the Semiannual Meeting in October 2006, the Report of the Council, obituaries of recently deceased members, and the papers presented at the 2006 conference of the Program in the History of the Book in America

"LIBERTY/ÉGALITÉ/INDEPENDENCIA: Print Culture, Enlightenment, and Revolution in the Americas, 1776-1826." Pages 227-430

  • Introduction by Caroline Fuller Sloat, pp. 227-32
  • "'We declare you independent whether you wish it or not': The Print Culture of Early Filibusterism" by David Shields. Pages 233-60
    This paper, the 2006 James Russell Wiggins Lecture in the History of the Book in American Culture, poses the questions of the history of the book to the history of filibusterism. How did these soldiers of fortune and partisans of liberty, who exported revolution from the newly United States to the American territories of Spain, France, England, and the Native Nations communicate with their adversaries and partisans both publicly and in secret? The author shows how the texts associated with the founding of the United States were the model for manuscript writing, the press, and verbal rumor. He discovers that the operative binary for these adventurers. appropriation of communication forms was not public-private, but public-secret.
  • "Fear as a Political Construct: Imagining the Revolution and the Nation in Peruvian Newspapers, 1791-1824" by Mariselle Meléndez. Pages 261-76
    This paper traces how five Peruvian newspapers established between 1791 and 1823 were used by colonial authorities and Creole intellectuals to promote its own revolution against the backdrop of France and the United States. Peruvian intellectuals developed their own imaginative understanding of revolution and freedom from Spain that was finally achieved early in 1826.
  • "Written Constitutions and Unenumerated Rights" by Eric Slauter. Pages 277-98
    This essay suggests some cultural strategies for thinking about the revolutionary relation of written constitutions and unenumerated rights. Observing that between the traditional provinces of legal and intellectual history remains a largely unexplored cultural history of rights this essay urges taking stock of the range of claims about natural rights to move beyond the question of their enumeration through public debates. Attention to the market for political writing in the period and to the empirical realities of printing can help to assess period claims for the significance of written constitutions.
  • "Print Culture and the Haitian Revolution: The Written and the Spoken Word" by David Geggus. Pages 299-316
    Haiti's revolution, a slave uprising that embodied the ideals of liberty, equality, and independence, seems removed from the print culture of the Enlightenment and from the liberal democratic ideology that it helped to develop. This paper examines a substantial print archive that has attracted remarkably few historians, including Saint Domingue's weekly newspapers from 1764 onward, the refugee press of Philadelphia, and histories of the revolution published in the United States and France.
  • "The Abbé Gregoire and the Atlantic Republic of Letters,s," by Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall. Pages 317-26
    The Abbé Grégoire was a French intellectual, who maintained relationships with American and Haitian, and South American republicans. These included Joel Barlow, Thomas Jefferson, Baltimore Archbishop John Carroll, and leaders of revolutions in Mexico, Haiti and other colonies in the region. He sought the emergence of a more moderate, and religiously and racially plural, republicanism, which could blossom in the New World and then be re-imported to Europe.
  • "Writing Back to Empire: Juan Pablo Viscardo y Guzmán's Letter to the Spanish Americans," by Karen Stolley. Pages 337-52
    The writings of the Peruvian Jesuit Viscardo (1748-98) exemplify how key texts of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century were written, revised, translated, and disseminated in a complex context of cross-cultural interpretation and influence. During his life time Viscardo made repeated efforts to convince sympathizers to intervene on behalf of Spanish American independence. After his death, his letter, translated into Spanish and English, continued the quest to mobilize intervention in South America. This essay interprets Viscardo's letter.
  • "Caribbean Revolution and Print Publics: Leonora Sansay and the Secret History of the Haitian Revolution," by Elizabeth Maddock Dillon. Pages 353-74
    If the Haitian Revolution remained shrouded by its lack of public knowledge, it was not because published accounts to provide a context for understanding its status in the Age of Revolutions were lacking. The novel by Leonora Sansay, titled Secret History, or the Horrors of St. Domingo (1808), provides a venue for discussion of the theoretical questions raised by considering works of literature in relation to the politics of liberty and revolution in Atlantic print culture.
  • "Llorente's Readers in the Americas," by Nancy Vogeley. Pages. 375-94
    Because independence-minded Mexican leaders remained in their country after independence, books from Paris and the United States influenced their thinking about nation-building between 1821 and 1824. Llorente, aware of Spanish America's Catholic history and Mexican clerical leadership in the revolt, believed that Mexico needed to mark out religion's role in the new state structure. This political realist and historian discovered that decolonization and state planning in the Americas were natural outlets for his work.
  • "Daniel Webster and the Invention of Modern Liberty in the Atlantic World," by Sandra M. Gustafson. Pages 395-412
    Webster's commemorative speeches triangulate between region, nation, and the revolutionary Atlantic world, with the nation as the central object of definition. Prior to 1830 proponents of the United States Constitution were on the offensive internationally, offering it as a model for republics throughout the Atlantic world. After 1830 those same proponents were more often on the defensive responding to a shift brought about by the dialectical emergence of Garrisonian abolitionism and intensifying Southern secessionism.
  • "Closing the Last Chapter of the Atlantic Revolution: The 1837-1838 Rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada," by Michel Ducharme. Pages 413-30
    The Canada Act was intended to stop the dissemination of republican principles through the creation of Upper Canada (now Ontario) and Lower Canada (now Quebec). By 1828, reformers rediscovering republican discourse questioned the legitimacy and the organization of the political structure.a process that corresponded to the criteria of the Atlantic Revolution. The unrest, culminating in the 1837-38 rebellions in both colonies, must be considered as the last chapter of the Atlantic Revolution, one that did not end happily for Canadian republicans.
     Available as offprint number 1026. Purchase from Oak Knoll





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