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Prints in the Parlor – an AAS Online Resource

To date (1 February 2011) 1431 illustrated records of 2850 anticipated items have images attached to their records. Prints in the Parlor is 50% complete. Check back often as we are frequently adding to the resource.

What does 'Prints in the Parlor' mean?

Prints in the Parlor is an ongoing-project funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities where AAS staff catalog and make available images which would have appeared in the American Parlor from the years 1820-1876.1. This includes large, separately published single-sheet engravings as well as engravings from gift books and annuals. Access to these images is available by links inside the General Catalog records.

How do I view the images?

There are two ways to currently view images. If there is a specific image you are looking for, we invite you to enter by way of the General Catalog and search using the term “Prints in the Parlor Digital Image” in addition to your specific search query, title, alternate title, engraver, keyword or subject heading.

Details of the Project

  • Each image in Prints in the Parlor – whether it is a single, separate engraving, or it appears in a book of 12 engravings – is being individually cataloged and given its own online record. (For example, Fischer’s drawing room scrap-book of 1833 has 36 illustrations; every one has a separate record) To view a list of the illustrations contained within a single volume, click on the ‘Parent Record’ to see all the images in that volume
  • If there was a change in the method of engraving (mezzotint v. engraving, stipple engraving v. engraving), size, or engraver, the image was given a new record
  • One of the goals of Prints in the Parlor was not to digitize and make available individual volumes, but show how plates were used in different places, books, with different text, titles, audience and even decades
  • When a plate was reused with the same title, and no variation was made, it was noted in the record but digitized only once
  • When a title-variant of a plate was found, the additional image(s) were listed in chronological order. The exception to this is if/when it the earliest version appeared without a title. In such cases, the version with a title was listed first in the record, and at the top of the linked page.

What this resource is:

What this resource is not:

  • access to records, images and descriptions of engravings
  • an electronic index of imagery using the AAS Online Catalog as a platform to launch and organize the cataloger-created metadata
  • reference-sized digital photographs of all illustrations which fall under the scope of the project
  • access to PDF text when, it describes the plate
  • a surrogate of the book
  • access to OCR-ed versions of the text
  • high-resolution imagery suitable for publication
  • A digital library of the full-text with images (à la Google Books) for gift books
  • a comprehensive resource for all AAS digitized and scanned collections


1. Note that these results are not comprehensive of the Society’s holdings on the subject, these are just the ones which fall under the scope of the grant.

2. Though this resource is largely focused on American visual culture, there are gift books and annuals published in England which are also part of this project as they are in the Society’s collections.


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