2010 Adopt-A-Book Catalog


Adopted by John M. Keenum, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Marcus McCorison's election to AAS in April 1960

image of item A. Hankey & Co. A. Hankey & Co. (successors to Stiles & Co.), manufacturers of paper mill engine plates, roll bars, rag cutters, paper trimming and book binders' knives ... Worcester, MA: Edward R. Fiske, [1872]

An unusual, unrecorded trade catalog for this firm in Rochdale, MA (a few miles southwest of Worcester). The company specialized in the manufacture of paper knives and cutters for bookbinders and papermakers, who needed machines capable of cutting rags into tiny, uniform fibers. This copy contains on the back cover a handwritten note from the company to a prospective customer.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Cheryl McRell

image of item An Address to Sterling's Fair Daughters. [United States, ca. 1850]

This broadside ballad, published anonymously under the name "Gouger," has the tone of a modern personals advertisement. In it, Gouger specifies the weight (six score) and hair color (auburn) of his preferred mate, and adds that he also prefers small ankles. He notes that he has a fine singing voice, six cows and a farm with a fresh water brook. What more could a girl ask for?
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Joanne Wilson

image of item The Aged Man. New York: American Tract Society, [ca. 1850s]

This tract is a dialogue between a colporteur (tract seller) and an old man reflecting on his spiritual life. It serves as an idealized blueprint for the evangelical role played by the colporteur in the distribution of tracts, and the saving of souls.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopt me for: $900

image of item Aiken, Nancy C. Diary, 1865-1879.

This diary was written by Nancy C. (Peirce) Aiken (1839-1913) of New Bedford, Massachusetts. In 1859 she married Stephen Aiken and the couple had a son and then a daughter; shortly after the daughter's birth the couple separated and Stephen took the son with him to Boston. After this, Nancy Aiken moved back to her parents. home and earned a living teaching music. The diary contains an unusual amount of information about Nancy Aiken's attitude towards the separation, the loss of her son, and the difficulties of her life. In 1865 she wrote "How very careful everyone ought to be in selecting a companion for life as it is a solemn matter for them to separate where there are dear little lambs depending upon them. People cannot be too cautious in such an important proceeding, but all are liable to get deceived."
~ Thomas Knoles


Adopted by Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts Co.

image of item Aladdin or The Wonderful Lamp. New York: McLoughlin Bros., [ca. 1863-1866]

This is a pristine example of an early McLoughlin picture book. The cover image of Aladdin entering the cave is complemented by the wonderfully ornate type of the title—anticipating the advent of comic books in the 20th century.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by Jock Herron

image of item Alphabet of Natural History. Hartford: D.W. Kellogg & Co., [ca. 1830-1842]

This fragile accordion-fold format picture book depicts exotic animals, many of which would have been described in African travel narratives that were published in the antebellum era. The scanned image shows the rhinoceros familiar to modern readers, and the exotic quagga, a zebra-like animal that became extinct in the late 19th century. The Kellogg brothers (Daniel Wright, Edmund Burke, and Elijah Chapman Kellogg) were prolific publishers of high quality lithographed prints and children's books for nearly four decades. Partial contributions welcome!
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopt me for: $250

image of item American (Poughkeepsie, NY). 25 issues, 1845, 1846

The American supported the "Native American" movement championed by the Know-Nothing Party. The party started in New York in 1843 as the American Republican Party, soon renamed and becoming national in scope. Its main platform was the restriction of immigration and naturalization. In particular, it targeted Catholics from Ireland and Germany. This file, which starts with no. 1, Dec. 6, 1845, is the only known run outside of New York.
~ Vincent Golden



A series of stories for young people issued in magazine format (7 ¼ x 10 ½ inches). A rare set of fiction aimed at teenaged readers:
~ Laura Wasowicz

Adopted by Barbara Mathews, in honor of Adelaide Mathews

image of item Paul, Miss. Mrs. Anderson's "Very Present Help." New York: American Tract Society, [ca. 1870s]

Working-class widow decides to employ an at-risk teenaged neighbor boy. As an added bonus, this book contains full-page photo-engravings that apparently have nothing to do with the story, like this cheerful scene of a mother shopping at a dry goods store with her child.


Adopt me for: $50

image of item Stretton, Hesba. Jessica's Mother. New York: American Tract Society, [ca. 1870s]

Hesba Stretton was the pseudonym used by Sarah Smith (1832-1911), a popular writer of evangelical religious fiction that exposed the pain and difficulties commonly faced by lower class children in Britain. This is the sequel to Jessica's First Prayer, about the conversion of a London street child and her family.


Adopted by Lawrence F. Buckland

image of item Walton, Mrs. O.F. Angel's Christmas. New York: American Tract Society, [ca. 1870s]

Classic tale of a little girl's effort to help her overworked mother and reform her drunken father. Has an advertisement on the back cover for Walter Baker & Co., a chocolate manufacturer then flourishing in Dorchester, MA.


Adopted by Jonathan Hartmann in honor of Simon Parker

image of item Giberne, Agnes. Hungering and Thirsting. New York: American Tract Society, [ca. 1870s]

Agnes Giberne (1845-1939) vividly portrayed both squalor and hope in the British slums. In this story, the genteel Mrs. Howard transforms the life of Kitty Swindon, a destitute street child.


Adopted by Gretchen A. Adams in memory of Howard Palmer Oldfield

image of item Kenelm Winslow's Conquest: A Story of the Pilgrim Fathers. New York: American Tract Society, [ca. 1870s]

An early example of a fictionalized account of the Pilgrims for young people.



In 1826 William Morgan of Batavia, NY disappeared after proposing to publish a book exposing Freemasonry. Whether he was murdered or fled to Canada was never determined, but the incident sparked a major anti-Masonic movement across the U.S. Anti-Masonic organizations and even political movements proliferated, and by 1832 there were 140 newspapers supporting this cause.
~ Vincent Golden

Adopt me for: $40

image of item Anti-Masonic Register (West Chester, PA). Feb. 24, 1830.

Adopt me for: $120

image of item Anti-Masonic Herald, and Lancaster Weekly Courier (PA). 5 issues, 1830, 1831.

Adopt me for: $40

image of item Anti-Masonic Enquirer (Rochester, NY). 1 issue, 1828.


Adopted by Kay Allen

image of item The archaeological curiosities of the rituals of Freemasonry, as displayed in the so called exposures of Freemasonry ... consisting of a faithful reprint of some of the rarest and more curious of those pamphlets. No. 1[-4]. Cincinnati: Masonic Archaeological Society, 1867-1889.

A complete set of these rare (125 copies only) publications of the Masonic Archaeological Society. The “Society” consisted of one person—prominent Ohio politician and 33° Mason Enoch T. Carson of Cincinnati—and its objective was to reprint early English Masonic tracts. Nos. 1-3 of the series are type facsimiles (the first two finely executed by noted Albany printer Joel Munsell), and no. 4 is a photographic facsimile.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Gretchen A. Adams in memory of Howard Palmer Oldfield

image of item Austin, Stella. Stumps: A Story for Children. Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, [ca. 1869]

Originally published in London, Stumps is a gently humorous story about a four-year-old girl growing up in the loving care of her parents and siblings. She speaks with a lisp, not unlike American writer Rebecca Sophia Clarke's heroine Little Prudy.
~ Laura Wasowicz


12. AFTER ...
Adopted by Bob & Alison Petrilla

image of item Baillie, James. Married. Hand-colored lithograph. New York, [1848 or 1849]

Paired with the title Single, by the same lithographic publisher, this image forms a lovely pendant on the role of the man in family life. No longer smoking and surrounded by symbols of leisure, the young bachelor from the first print now appears seated in a formal parlor with his wife and four children.
~ Lauren Hewes


13. ... AND BEFORE.
Adopted by Bob & Alison Petrilla

image of item Baillie, James. Single. Hand-colored lithograph. New York, 1848.

This image of a bachelor smoking a cigar while surrounded by his sporting equipment and books was featured in our exhibition for the October 2009 CHAViC conference, "Destined for Men: Visual Materials for Male Audiences, 1750-1880." It was purchased as part of a set which also included the print Married by the same lithographer.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Dan Gaeta

image of item Ballad entertainment. James G. Clark, the vocalist and composer. Dansville, NY: Herald Print, 1861.

This handbill promoting the touring concerts of ballad singer James Clark includes the usual promotional reviews, a list of songs to be performed, and the location details for an upcoming performance. It also includes a page of commentary on singing in which Clark promotes good elocution and the ability to match a tune to lyrics, and also vows to limit what he calls the "vocal gymnastics" favored by certain unnamed Italian performers.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Dan Gaeta

image of item Bedford Gazette (PA). Nov. 5, 1852.

This issue is unusual because of the large, crude woodcut, taking up almost the entire second page, which celebrates the victory of General Franklin Pierce as 14th president. At this time the symbols of the Democratic and Whig parties were, respectively, the rooster and the raccoon. The rooster was carved on the side of a single wooden plank.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by Steve Bolick

image of item Beware of a swindler!! New York: J.W. Bell, 1835.

This spectacular broadside documents the accusations of printer Jared W. Bell (1798?-1870) against a former journeyman, James B. Whitney. Bell accuses Whitney, who became a lieutenant commandant in the New York artillery, of embezzling money from Bell's printing business. Bell was notoriously difficult. In 1821 he got into a street fight over the Hartford Convention and was arrested for blasphemy (he allegedly yelled, "God Almighty was a fool"). Bell was acquitted, but apparently remained a cantankerous New Yorker.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Patricia Roylance

image of item Blake, John Lauris. A Geography for Children. Boston: Richardson, Lord and Holbrook, 1830 [1831 on cover]

This was a standard geography for children in antebellum America. It includes not only lessons on physical geography, but also fascinating vignettes on the history of the United States, natural history, ethnography, and constructed landmarks.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by Steve Bolick

image of item Le Bon Ton, Journal de Modes. New York: S.T. Taylor & Son, 1851.

This broadside advertises a periodical that featured fashion information for women. The publisher notes that he also manufactures patterns and cuts ladies' dresses. Possibly the purchaser then took the cut fabric to a dressmaker for completion into a garment. So, this modest printed item reveals information about a publication and the transition of dressmaking from a craft to a manufacturing process. It is noteworthy, too, that the illustrations in the book came directly from Paris.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopt me for: $300

image of item Lot of Book Trades correspondence, 1828-1867

AAS actively collects manuscript material relating to the book trades. Sometimes such material comes as entire collections, and at other times we acquire individual items. A few dealers quote us groupings of materials of this sort. The items illustrated include an 1828 letter from Peter Hoffman Cruse (1795-1832) about his proposed work writing for a new publication in Baltimore; an 1846 letter from Robert Fowler Lawrence about the possible publication of his Lectures to Youth; an 1846 order for material for papermaking equipment for Smith, Winchester & Co. in Windham, CT, and an 1854 circular letter from the Scientific American Office of the American and Foreign Patent Agency soliciting patent drawings to be engraved (at the inventor's cost) for reproduction in Scientific American.
~ Thomas Knoles


Adopted by Susan McDaniel Ceccacci

image of item Booth, Charles. Hints on church & domestic windows, plain and decorated. Orange, NJ: The Author, 1876.

A very rare and unusual promotional pamphlet published by a maker of decorative and stained glass windows. Its object is to supply "so much practical knowledge of the various styles of Painted Glass as may enable those who are engaged in the Erection or Restoration of Church Windows to lay out the funds at their disposal to the best advantage." Booth's comments on proper window design and color reflect his upbringing in Victorian Britain, and they provide a valuable perspective on how his American commissions—still visible in dozens of prominent American churches—helped reshape American tastes.
~ David Whitesell


Adopt me for: $200

image of item Boston Blade (MA). Mar. 13, 1847.

While researchers often think of New York when discussing racy newspapers, a number were also published in Boston. This particular one, edited by W. L. Bradbury, was the last of a series printed in the city during the 1840s. Other titles included Satirist and Blade, Boston Satirist, Satirist, Satirist & Punch, and Satirist and Punch or Boston Charivari. Under the guise of moral reform, these papers carried spicy gossip of the time. For example, this issue reports: "If Lydia comes down here next Saturday, and cuts the figure she did Sunday night, her name will come out in full. I would advise her to have her fixings made to open in front."
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by Barrett Morgan

image of item The Boys' Pump Book: Showing how to Make Several Kinds of Miniature Pumps and a Fire Engine. New York: Anson D. F. Randolph, 1860.

This is an early "how-to" book on making small hydraulic pumps. According to the preface, these pumps could be made by any youth who "possesses a moderate gift at whittling."
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by Robert & Lillian Fraker, Savoy Books

image of item Bradford, John. The poetical vagaries of a Knight of the Folding-Stick, of Paste Castle: to which is annexed, The history of the garret, &c. Gotham [i.e. Newark, NJ?]: The author, 1815.

A rare copy in original printed boards of an extraordinary and little-known verse collection. Although published anonymously, the book's copyright was taken out by one John Bradford, who worked as a bookbinder in New York City from 1809-1819. Indeed, the first section consists mostly of poems about bookbinding—one of the very, very few instances of bibliopegistical poetry in all of Western culture. The poems include "This World's a Huge Bindery," "Receipt for Binding a Book," "The Binder's Curse," and "An Enigmatical List of Binder's Tools," consisting of 34 devilishly difficult verse riddles. Here's a simpler one that this curator managed to solve:

The two ninths of one who commences a suit,
O.U. G—and the eleventh of a hot biting root.
[answer: PLOUGH]

One of the two inserted engravings depicts the Knight of the Folding-Stick, a fantastical creation fashioned from binder's tools. The book concludes with "The History of the Garret," a facetious prose history of Newark, NJ.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Ashley Cataldo

image of item Brown, Charles R. The government of Michigan, its history and jurisprudence. 2nd ed. Kalamazoo, MI: Moore & Quale, 1874.

Revised edition (same year as the 1st) of this scarce civics textbook prepared for high school students. Following a brief state history, with new appendix on the 1835 "Toledo War," Brown outlines in numbing detail the organization of state government and the state laws an informed citizenry should know. An impressive number concern the proper use of natural resources, still a priority for Michiganians.
~ David Whitesell


Adopt me for: $125

image of item Brown, George, M.D. Business Papers, ca. 1849-1924.

George Brown and his wife Catharine Brown ran the "Private Institution for the Education of Feeble-Minded Youth," also known as the Elm Hill School, in Barre, MA starting in 1851. It was one of the first schools in the country specifically for children with disabilities. (State asylums were established in Massachusetts and New York in 1851, and in Connecticut in 1855). After George Brown's death in 1892, his son George A. Brown and later his grandson G. Percy Brown superintended the school. The school closed in 1946. This collection contains about 800 bills and invoices for the Brown family and especially for the school, and they detail purchases of food, medicines, clothing, furniture and various other materials.
~ Thomas Knoles


Adopt me for: $350

image of item Centinel of Freedom (Newark, NJ). Dec. 5 extra, 1799.

An extremely rare extra edition—only one other copy can be found in institutional collections. It contains the speech President John Adams made to the opening of the sixth Congress, as well as King George III's speech opening a new session of Parliament. Interestingly, to accommodate the text, the printer used the right margin by turning the text 90 degrees to fit it all in.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopt me for: $750

image of item Centinel of Freedom (Newark, NJ) Dec. 24, 1799.

This black-bordered issue announces the death of George Washington on Dec. 14th. The news, which reached Newark on Dec. 20th, ran in the next weekly issue. It includes a woodcut of an urn marked "G.W." on a column reading "Columbia mourns! Hung be the heavens with black!!" Also included are two short eulogies, resolutions of the citizens of Newark, and orders by the Commander in Chief of the New Jersey Militia that officers wear black arm bands or ribbons on their swords for the next year.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopt me for: $200

image of item Chicago Democrat (IL) Dec. 6, 1837.

This was the first newspaper printed in Chicago. It began Nov. 6, 1833 and lasted 25 years. All early newspapers from Chicago are extremely rare, and we are very lucky to have acquired this as part of a group of early Illinois newspapers.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by Reiner Smolinski in honor of Tom Knoles and Caroline Sloat

image of item Coddington, Elijah. Notebook, 1773-1826.

Coddington (1742-1830) was the fourth pastor of the Baptist church in South Brimfield (later Wales), MA from 1773 until 1826. This notebook contains records of marriages, diary entries, accounts, and various religious comments including the following: "The Apostles were men abstemious in their lives & plain in their attire, humble in their walk and mighty in their Conversation. One sickens at the contrast between the Apostles & modern Clergymen—do mitred heads & powdered locks, Silken gowns & couloured Shews, Gilded pulpits, threadbare Sermons & rounded Salaries bespeak these the Successors of fishermen & tent makers?"
~ Thomas Knoles


Adopt me for: $450

image of item The coins of the world. Philadelphia: Matthew T. Miller, [1849]

First edition of one of the earliest American numismatic publications. Matthew T. Miller, described in Philadelphia city directories as an "exchange broker," was also publisher of Bicknell's counterfeit detector and bank note list. Described within, and stunningly illustrated on 12 plates printed in gold and silver against a blue background, are 189 world coins. Extensive assay tables detail the bullion content and dollar value of each coin. Although primarily intended for businessmen, this attractively bound and illustrated pocket-size pamphlet also catered to a growing collecting fraternity. Indeed, its format, and the design and colors of the plates, mimic those of the leading British collector's manual of the 1840s: H. N. Humphreys' The coins of England.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Jo Radner

image of item The Comet (North Branch, NJ). 2 issues, 1854-1855.

This amateur newspaper was published and edited by Thomas E. Bartow. What is interesting about the July 27, 1854 issue is the crude woodcut of the printing press Bartow built himself to print this amateur newspaper. Before table-top hobby presses became available after 1870, amateur newspaper publishers either had to find a printer to print it for them or gain access to a printing press. Thomas Bartow went to the extreme of building his own printing press from scratch.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by David Tatham

image of item Comic Monthly (New York). Feb. 1862.

This is one of the longest-lived comic serials from the Civil War era, running from March 1859 through 1881. It was published by J.C. Haney and employed a number of skilled illustrators, including Thomas Nast and Frank Bellew, who did the cover for this issue. It was filled with cartoons (both humorous and political), satire, and reprinted comic stories.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by Delores Wasowicz

image of item Common Mercies. London & New York: T. Nelson & Sons, [ca. 1850s]

Thomas Nelson & Sons published Sunday school tracts for children on both sides of the Atlantic. In this little book, a mother patiently teaches her daughter about God's mercy.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by James Arsenault

image of item The complete master-piece of Aristotle, the famous philosopher. Displaying the secrets of nature in the generation of man ... New York: Printed for the publishers, 1842.

The latest addition to AAS's peerless collection of over 50 editions of the standard early American sex manual: Aristotle's master-piece. AAS's holdings begin with the "25th" edition of 1748—possibly an American printing, though perhaps an English import—and ends with this 1842 printing, by which time Aristotle was being superseded by newer, competing manuals. Unusual for such a work, the well-preserved binding of yellow paper boards loudly calls attention to itself through two appropriate wood engravings: an American Eden on front, and a contemporary American Venus on the back.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Emily Pawley

image of item Coon Dissector (Dayton, OH). Sept. 20, 1844.

In the 1840s the Whig party symbol was the raccoon, while the Democrats employed the rooster. For the 1844 election two campaign newspapers were published in Ohio: That Same Old Coon (Whig) and the Coon Dissector (Democratic). There was no attempt at subtlety, as can be seen by the border of raccoons being strung up. Inside is a woodcut of a raccoon on its back with a knife in its chest. The image of a rooster chasing a raccoon at the bottom of each page is a nice touch. The paper is full of jokes and accusations. For example, "Dog lost: Strayed from Dayton some time since, a two legged singing full grown Pup. He was last seen at the Hotel in this place trying to bark off a French girl. 'Tis likely he may have made tracks towards New York, as he was raised about the Bowery Theatre..."
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by Doris N. O'Keefe

image of item Cooper, James Fenimore. The last of the Mohicans: a narrative of 1757. London: Printed for Charles Daly, 1836.

AAS's peerless collection of works by James Fenimore Cooper contains approximately 120 pre-1877 editions, issues, states, and translations of The last of the Mohicans (the first edition was published Philadelphia, 1826). Adding to the collection is difficult, but this rare London printing turned up recently on eBay.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Kelly Ross and Laura Ross Spencer, in honor of their father, Ken Ross

image of item Currier, Nathaniel. Landing of the American forces under Genl. Scott at Vera Cruz March 9th. 1847. Hand-colored lithograph. New York, 1847.

After running his New York lithographic office for nearly a decade, Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888) issued several lithographs depicting events of the Mexican War. Most of these images are dated specifically to lend a sense of accuracy to the rendering. Currier's early work included lithographs of newsworthy events, including fires and disasters at sea, so it makes sense that he would try to expand his stock with images of the war with Mexico then dominating American news.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by James Arsenault

image of item Currier, Nathaniel. Night after the battle, burying the dead. Hand-colored lithograph. New York, 1846.

While his Mexican War prints were primarily images of specific events and battles, Nathaniel Currier also produced a handful of more general scenes of battlefield life, including this somewhat awkwardly rendered depiction of burying the dead. While there was a market for this sort of imagery, one is hard pressed to visualize this particular print hanging in the parlor of the average American home!
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Michael Winship

image of item D. Appleton & Co.'s periodical club list. How to procure first-class reading matter. New York: D. Appleton, 1878.

A priced catalog of the American, Canadian, and English periodicals available through Appleton's subscription service. Included are Appleton's own periodicals, notably Popular Science Monthly and Appleton's Journal. Medical and legal periodicals abound—clearly Appleton was aiming for professional and middle class markets. Of special interest is Appleton's promotion of "periodical clubs": not only could individuals receive discounts on two or more subscriptions, but Appleton would grant discounts to reading clubs of two or more persons.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Robert & Lillian Fraker, Savoy Books

Dannelly, Elizabeth O. Destruction of the city of Columbia, South Carolina. A poem. By a Lady of Georgia. Charleston, SC: Joseph Walker, 1866.

image of item

A rare copy of this long and bitter poem describing the capture and burning of Columbia, SC, on February 17, 1865 by Union forces commanded by Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman. Dannelly was not an eyewitness; rather, she based her poem on William Gilmore Simms’ Sack and destruction of the city of Columbia, S.C.
~ David Whitesell


Adopt me for: $75

image of item Dawley, T. R. The Nation Mourns, Its Chief Has Fallen. New York, 1865.

This broadside promotes an inexpensive edition of The Life of Abraham Lincoln published by New York author and book publisher Thomas Robinson Dawley (1832-1904). Starting in 1862, Dawley published titles for children, serial novels, and a variety of cheaply printed pamphlets. His Life of Lincoln was issued shortly after the president was assassinated. It followed the publisher's successful publication of Old Abe's jokes: fresh from Abraham's bosom, which Dawley released in 1864.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Paul J. Erickson

image of item Ellis, Edward Sylvester. The mysterious hunter; or, The man of death. New York: George Munro, 1868.

A rare dime novel—or rather, the enhanced 20-cent version embellished with wood engravings—published as no. 2 of Munro's Backwoods Series. "GOLD! GOLD in California!" draws Henry Gregory westward, where he encounters outlaws, is captured by Apaches, and finds his fate in the hands of the mysterious Mexican "man of death." Frontier justice is finally meted out when the outlaws are hurled into a rattlesnake pit. Ellis (1840-1916) wrote literally hundreds of dime novels under at least a dozen pseudonyms before, in the 1880s, turning his pen to mainstream history and biography.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Ellen S. Dunlap, in honor of her mother Elizabeth Majors Githens

image of item Election ballot, Liberal Democratic ticket, "Adams and Liberty." [Massachusetts, 1870]

John Quincy Adams II (1833-1894) was elected to the state Legislature in 1866 as a Republican but, frustrated with Andrew Johnson's policies for reconstruction of the South, soon switched to the Democratic ticket. Adams was nominated for governor in 1868, 1869, and 1870, but was never elected. This ballot features an elaborate woodcut of an American eagle.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by R.A. Graham Co.

image of item Election ballot, Republican Ticket, for governor. [Massachusetts, 1870]

A wealthy industrialist from Milford, MA, William Claflin (1818-1905) was elected to the state Senate in 1859 and first ran for the governor's office in 1868. He founded the Free Soil Party, but later switch to the Republican ticket and served three terms as governor under that party. Claflin is remembered as a strong promoter of women's suffrage and for chartering Boston University.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopt me for: $250

image of item Emerson, Sarah H. Poems, Essays and Exercises, ca. 1837-39.

This collection includes more than two dozen items written by Sarah H. Emerson, a young woman probably living in the Boston area. It includes a variety of materials which illustrate the range of educational activity in which she was engaged. There are penmanship exercises ("Licentiousness in opinions, leads to licentiousness in practice"), poems ("The Sleeping Infant," "The Warrior's Grave"), essays ("Perserverence"), and six day books and "legers" with presumably hypothetical exercises in bookkeeping for a general store in Boston.
~ Thomas Knoles


Adopted by Katherine Keenum in memory of Jeanette S. Greve

image of item Empire Locomotive (Poughkeepsie, NY). Apr. 27, 1846.

This curious weekly newspaper was published by the Journal and Eagle, another weekly paper in Poughkeepsie. The Empire Locomotive appears to be a separate publication aimed specifically at supporting the Whig party. One page contains a wonderful full-page poster promoting specific nominations for the Whig convention. No mention of this paper is given in any histories of Dutchess County, and only one other issue is recorded. It appears to have lasted until at least October or November 1846.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by Lin & Tucker Respess

image of item Ennis, A. F. A treatise on Southern institutions, the errors of Northern fanatics exposed, etc., by a delineation of facts; the result of the Harper's Ferry insurrection, its tendency, &c. Baltimore: Sherwood & Co., 1860.

A rare and unusual apology for slavery, written by a New Yorker who made his living in those parlous times as an itinerant dentist in Virginia and the Carolinas. After describing at length the repeated indignities and confiscations he had endured as a suspected abolitionist, especially following John Brown's Harper's Ferry raid, Ennis nonetheless blames "Northern fanatics" for his troubles. While slavery is admittedly an "evil," Ennis summarizes and fully embraces the South's economic, political, and religious arguments for perpetuating its peculiar institution. One suspects that, whatever Ennis's true beliefs, he prepared this pamphlet as a de facto Southern passport for distribution while making his rounds.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Frances Langille, in honor of Laurie Jewers

image of item Examination of Teachers, San Francisco, January 1870. [California, 1870]

This blank test sheet for California teachers reveals the level of mathematical ability expected of third grade instructors in 1870, the year San Francisco became the nation's tenth largest urban center. Have a go at it! The math is basic but challenging and includes calculations for fractions, percentages, and, interestingly, time. Alas, an answer sheet does not accompany this document, so you are on your own! No calculators, please.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Ann-Cathrine Rapp

image of item The Fatal Mistake or The Midnight Shipwreck. New York: American Tract Society, [ca. 1850s]

An evangelical commentary on the fateful shipwreck of the bark Elizabeth that crashed off the coast of Fire Island, killing many of those aboard (including the writer Margaret Fuller and her family).
~ Laura Wasowicz


Partially adopted by Delores Wasowicz

image of item Fawcett, John. Scripture Scenes. Cadiz, OH: H. Anderson, 1829.

This is a scarce early Ohio imprint; it is rarer still in that it contains nine hand-colored metal engravings probably executed by its publisher Hugh Anderson (1782-1866), who worked as an engraver in Philadelphia prior to his move to Ohio. Anderson based this engraving of the Adoration of the Wise Men upon a painting by the 16th-century Italian master Jacopo Bassano, shedding new light on the types of access that American children living in the Old Northwest had to Renaissance art. Partial contributions welcome!
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopt me for: $150

image of item A few leaves plucked from a papyrus, at a pic nic, being the leaves of the whole truth ... [Philadelphia]: King & Baird, [1859]

Second recorded copy of this expensively printed keepsake of a picnic outing in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park on a rainy September 19, 1859. The author is unknown, but its purpose is clear: this pamphlet was part of an elaborate and determined courtship of one "Miss Brown," the "Bright Queen" of the excursion party, by its love-sick scribal "Imp." After recounting the day's events in tongue-in-cheek prose and verse, the Imp concludes with a toast to Miss Brown, only to feign mortification when the other men present rise in a "veritable rain beaux" of potential suitors for her hand. We may never know, alas, whether the Imp's creative romancing and bad puns succeeded in winning Miss Brown's hand.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Marcus A. McCorison

image of item Finotti, Joseph M. Bibliographia Catholica Americana: a list of works written by Catholic authors, and published in the United States. Part 1: from 1784 to 1820 inclusive. New York: Catholic Publication House, 1872.

The compiler's own copy of this pioneering bio-bibliography, annotated in manuscript with corrections and additions. An Italian Jesuit priest, Finotti (1817-1879) arrived in the U.S. in 1845. He served parishes in Maryland and Virginia before settling near Boston, finally migrating westward to Colorado shortly before his death. In this work Finotti describes several hundred editions, mostly from copies in his extensive personal collection. Other libraries he drew upon include the Boston Public Library and Worcester's College of the Holy Cross. Of special interest is an appendix listing the many works authored (and often printed) by the prominent Philadelphia publisher Mathew Carey. No further parts were published. Finotti's work was eventually superseded by Wilfred Parsons's Early Catholic Americana (1939).
~ David Whitesell


Adopt me for: $450

image of item First Evangelical Church, Clinton, MA. Records, 1846-1884.

The Second Evangelical Church of Lancaster, MA was founded in 1844 as an orthodox Congregational Church. Clinton was incorporated as a separate town from a part of Lancaster in 1850, and the church became known as the First Evangelical Church of Clinton. These three account books detail the financial records of the church beginning soon after its founding. Included are accounts for expenses, pew rentals, concerts, and a remarkably wide variety of charitable activities.
~ Thomas Knoles


Adopted by Laura Wasowicz, in honor of Andrew Petrie

image of item The Five Blue Eggs. Philadelphia, New York & Boston: American Sunday-School Union, [ca. 1859]

A little boy steals a nest full of robins' eggs from a tree, only to meet with the indignation of his schoolmates, and his own massive guilt. A timeless tale about sin, honesty, and kindness to animals.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by Darrell & Elisabeth Hyder

image of item Flora's album, containing the language of flowers poetically expressed. Boston: Elias Howe, 1847.

A highly unusual American publisher's cloth binding with an elaborate blindstamped cartouche on each cover, gilt spine and edges, gilt centerpiece on the front cover, and (appropriate to the contents) a fine all-over ivy pattern red-printed on the cloth.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Caroline & Andrew Graham

image of item Frank Leslies' Gazette of Fashion and the Beau Monde (NY). 5 issues with wrappers, 1857.

Frank Leslie (real name Henry Carter) was an English engraver who emigrated to New York in 1848. After a few years working on various illustrated newspapers and periodicals, Leslie began his publishing career with a magazine aimed at women's fashions. In 1854 he launched Frank Leslie's Ladies' Gazette of Fashion and Fancy Needlework (later Frank Leslie's Ladies' Gazette of Fashion and the Beau Monde 1855-1856, then settling on the above title), in the belief that this kind of magazine would have the quickest return on capital. He teamed up with Mrs. Ann S. Stephens, who edited the periodical anonymously. Each issue contained a large fold-out pattern on tissue paper and a large hand-colored engraved fashion plate. Though it lasted only four years, it was the start of a very successful publishing career for Frank Leslie.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopt me for: $100

image of item Free Will Baptist Printing Establishment and Book Concern (New Hampshire). Act of incorporation of Trustees, 1841.

This is a draft of an act submitted to the state legislature to allow the establishment of this organization and authorize it "to carry on the business of printing and publishing Books, periodicals and other branches of business" in Dover, NH. The petition was apparently successful; AAS has at least ten of the Concern's imprints dating from 1846-1875.
~ Thomas Knoles


Adopted by Michael Winship

image of item George W. Lord & Son. Circular. Thirty-seventh Philadelphia trade sale. Monday, September 1st, 1851. Philadelphia, June 7th, 1851.

Several more book trade circulars from the G. & C. Merriam Company archive were added to AAS's broadside collection this year, including this one from Philadelphia. Here the auctioneer George W. Lord & Son calls for materials for an upcoming sale. An advertisement from the July 5, 1852 issue of The Literary World indicates that the firm had some success soliciting material as the sale list includes stereotype plates for multiple titles including bibles, Franklin's Works and John Gillies' History of Ancient Greece.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Julia Barnard & Sarah Barnard

image of item Godey's pattern book of embroideries, for handkerchiefs, linen apparel, flannel, silk, lace, &c. Philadelphia: L. A. Godey, 1856.

A very rare pamphlet—we can trace only two other copies—issued by the publishers of the phenomenally successful women's periodical, Godey's Lady's Book. The text, printed in blue ink, consists entirely of embroidery patterns. The rear wrapper lists cookbooks, novels, sewing supplies, and other items for women available through the Godey office.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Peg Lesinski and Bill Butler, in memory of Alfred E. Lesinski

image of item Goulds Manufacturing Co. Unabridged illustrated catalogue and price list of pumps, hydraulic machines, rams, and other iron goods ... Seneca Falls, NY: Courier Book and Job Power Press, 1873.

Very rare, profusely illustrated 144-page trade catalog featuring pumps of all kinds. In 1849, Seabury S. Gould of Seneca Falls, NY manufactured the world's first all-metal pump. The enterprise prospered and, renamed Goulds Pumps, is the world's largest manufacturer of water well pumps. In addition to dozens of wood engravings, the catalog contain several full-page lithographed plates, some hand-tinted.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Eleanor Adams

image of item Grandmother True; or When I Was a Little Girl. Boston: Henry Hoyt, 1859.

An early idealized account of a New England childhood in the late 18th century. Henry Hoyt specialized in publishing religious fiction, and this gentle tale is filled with allusions to God as shepherd.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by Steve Finer

image of item Grant, James, Sir. Superficial geology of the valley of Ottawa, and the Wakefield cave. Ottawa: Hunter, Rose, & Co., 1869.

A holy grail of later 19th-century printers was the perfection of a simple, inexpensive process for reproducing photographic illustrations—a goal attained in the 1880s when relief halftones came into general use. Some crucial technical advances were made by the Ottawa photoengraver William A. Leggo (1830-1915), in partnership with the distinguished Canadian publisher (and alumnus of Worcester's College of the Holy Cross) George-Édouard Desbarats (1838-1893). In 1865 they patented the "Leggotype" process, by which relief or intaglio electrotype plates could be made of any line image via a photomechanical technique. This pamphlet contains two of the earliest Leggotype plates, which resemble finely detailed wood engravings heightened with somewhat muddy tone. Leggo and Desbarats continued to refine the process until, later in 1869, they published what many consider to be the first commercially successful halftone illustrations.
~ David Whitesell


Adopt me for: $350

image of item Griswold, J. W. The Elephant Train. Coming, Come, What? Chicago, [after 1870]

This broadside promoting dry good merchant J.W. Griswold of Arcola, IL, uses an illustration of elephants to capture the attention of potential customers. Under the image the proprietor states that the "mammoth elephants are imaginary but the mammoth Spring & Summer stock is reality." Unfortunately, despite his efforts, Griswold's business languished and in 1878 the local paper reported that the "prominent dry goods merchant, and highly esteemed J.W. Griswold" had hung himself in his woodshed, leaving a note explaining that he was in financial difficulties.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Lawrence F. Buckland

image of item Guernsey, Clara F. The Coveted Bonnet. (The Leighton Children.) Philadelphia & New York: American Sunday-School Union, [ca. 1867]

Seven-year-old Virginia wants to use her earnings from running errands for a local family to buy a fashionable bonnet. She is warned by her mother to defer her purchase until after the milliner's son recovers from scarlet fever, but Virginia buys the bonnet anyway, only to expose her Sunday school class to the fever. A timely tale about delayed gratification and epidemics.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by John B. Hench, in honor of Caroline F. Sloat

image of item Hayden & Hubbard. Circular. Twenty-second Cincinnati trade sale, of books, stereotype plates, book binders; stock, stationary, &c. To commence on Monday, March 29th. Cincinnati, 1852.

Several more book trade circulars from the G. & C. Merriam Company archive were added to the Society's broadside collection this year, including this one from Cincinnati. Hayden & Hubbard in Ohio were soliciting material to add to their sale of books, printing equipment and stationery. They sent this call for lots all the way to Springfield, MA, hoping perhaps that Merriam might send along back issues or old editions for sale in the west.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopt me for: $500

image of item Headley, Joel Tyler. The sacred mountains. New York: Baker and Scribner, 1848.

This publisher's cloth binding in almost mint condition displays a highly unusual cloth variant—one not previously documented in the AAS collections. The diagonally ribbed cloth has been woven from white and blue threads. In other words, the binding is made from denim! The fabric's rough, washed-out surface, however, does not show the elaborate gold-stamping to advantage, perhaps explaining why denim bindings did not catch on. You can adopt it for the price of a nice pair of "vintage" denim jeans!
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Garrett Scott

image of item Heckler, James Y. Ecclesianthem, or A song of the Brethren, embracing their history and doctrine. Lansdale, PA: A. K. Thomas & Co., 1883.

A rare and most unusual work, which relates the history and religious beliefs of the Church of the Brethren entirely in verse! Sometimes referred to as Dunkers, the Brethren were German Baptists, many of whom emigrated to Pennsylvania in the early 18th century. A taste of Heckler's verse chronicle is provided in this passage on the printer Christopher Sower:

And old brother Sower, the almanac printer,
A talented man, took this matter in hand:
He printed some books and some excellent papers
And Bibles enough to enlighten the land.
Although they were wasted by desperate soldiers,
And Sower himself was arrested by them,
And evil entreated, his things confiscated,
His property sold, all impoverishing him ...

~ David Whitesell


Adopted by William D. Wallace, in memory of Norma Feingold

image of item Henry, Henry Abraham. A synopsis of Jewish history, from the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, to the days of Herod the Great ... San Francisco: Towne & Bacon, 1859.

A rare chronicle, with appended outline of the Jewish religion, written "in such a manner as to suit the capacity of all readers ... and therefore may prove useful to all denominations." Henry (1806-1879) was born in London, serving there as a prominent schoolmaster and rabbi until emigrating to the U.S. in 1849. After short stays in Cincinnati and New York, Henry settled permanently within San Francisco's thriving Jewish community in 1857 as rabbi of Congregation Sherith Israel.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Ellen S. Dunlap, in memory of her husband's great-grandfather Jacob Douglas Armstrong (1815-1881) of Armstrong Springs, Arkansas

image of item Henry, James P. Resources of the state of Arkansas, with description of counties, rail roads, mines, and the city of Little Rock. Little Rock: Price & McClure, 1872.

Uncommon first edition of this encyclopedic promotional pamphlet, which saw two expanded editions (both at AAS) and a German translation over the ensuing two years. The postwar competition with other Midwestern states for immigrants and commercial investment was fierce, and Henry takes pains to compare and contrast Arkansas with, e.g., Iowa. The reach of this and similar publications is suggested by the fact that this copy is inscribed to the Belgian comte d'Oultremont.
~ David Whitesell


Adopt me for: $500

image of item Hill, Ira. Ira Hill's memorial, and remarks to Congress. [United States, 1824]

Second recorded copy of this intriguing proposal for a ten-acre three-dimensional garden map of the world, in Mercator projection, to be built adjacent to the U. S. Capitol building. Hill (ca. 1783-1838) was a Maryland schoolteacher best known for his theory that the enigmatic Dighton Rock bore inscriptions from an expedition sent to the New World by the Biblical King Solomon. Here he proposes a botanical novelty unsurpassed for its beauty and pedagogical utility. In Hill's garden, "the United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific will be one hundred and sixty feet" in length, and major topographical features such as oceans and mountain ranges would be depicted (albeit not so visually impressive even at this scale). Congress could have all this for only $10,000 up front, eventually refunded through a half share in future profits from ticket sales. Hill presented his petition in April 1824. Despite offering to scale the project back to a map of the United States alone, he failed to attract the necessary votes, and the garden remained unbuilt.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Garrett Scott

image of item Hills, Delia M. Whisperings of time. San Francisco: H. Keller & Co., 1878.

This 172-page clothbound volume of verse has the distinction of being perhaps the most substantial book printed by the pioneering Women's Cooperative Printing Union in San Francisco. In business from 1868-1888, the WCPU was a book- and job-printing shop staffed almost entirely by women. The WCPU and its New York counterpart, the Women's Printing House, helped greatly to expand the ranks of women in the printing trades, especially in typesetting.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Pamela Harer

image of item The History and Adventures of Little Eliza. Philadelphia: William Charles, 1811.

This is among the earliest American editions of a book first printed in London accompanied by a set of paper dolls. In celebrated Philadelphia engraver and publisher William Charles' hands, the images are integrated with the text as a picture book, complete with Charles' subtle background clues. Eliza is a smart but disobedient little girl who runs away from home, and ultimately hits bottom as a street beggar before she is reunited with her parents. Here we see Eliza before her travail, reading a book. She is a well-dressed little girl surrounded by potted plants, alluding to her pampered and sheltered existence. Partial contributions welcome!
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by Tom & Lucia Knoles

image of item History of Omaha, from its first settlement to the present date. [Omaha, NE, 1870]

A concise, valuable history of Omaha's first 15 years (1854-1869), based in large part on the recollections of the anonymous author and other city founders. Half of the densely printed 64 pages consists of display ads for local businesses. Both text and ads exude the sense of optimism and excitement felt by residents of this boom town, situated beside the just-completed transcontinental railroad.


image of item

Adopted by Meredith Neuman

Hospital Jack. [Boston]: Geo. C. Rand & Avery, [ca. 1862-1865]

A very rare, finely printed pamphlet poem written in the voice of a U.S. Navy sailor recovering from crippling wounds after a Civil War naval engagement. After six months' recovery, he is about to leave for an uncertain civilian future, though his spirit remains unbowed:

"Yes, both my 'pins' were shot away;
I don't begrudge them, though;
We beat the rebels in the fight
Before I went below...


I don't begrudge my loss, I say, --
I'm made of better stuff, --
But where to go, and what to do,
It bothers me enough...

~ David Whitesell


Adopted by R.A. Graham Co. in honor of Ronald Ward

image of item How to make candy. A manual of plain directions of the more popular forms of confectionery. Hartford: N. P. Fletcher, [1875]

The most recent addition to AAS's unrivalled collection of early American cookbooks is this 168-page confectioner's manual in its original (and delightful) illustrated wrappers. In addition to a wide range of candies, there are recipes for syrups and medicated lozenges, as well as extended discussions of flavorings and colorings. The preface states that "it is an entirely new work, written by a gentleman"—perhaps the Nathan F. Peck who copyrighted it. This is the second recorded copy of the first edition; there was also an equally rare 1876 reprinting.
~ David Whitesell


Adopt me for: $500

image of item Huron County News (Port Austin, MI). 309 issues, 1865-1871.

One of the great strengths of the AAS newspaper collection is its holdings of small-town titles, a diversity that helps attract researchers to AAS. Most such titles are extremely rare and known in only one or two complete files. The Huron County News was published in Port Austin, MI (on the tip of the "thumb" extending into Lake Huron). Today the town's population is less than 800. This file is the only known run located in an institution.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by Robert & Lillian Fraker, Savoy Books

image of item Hyde, Walter. U. C., or How to keep sharp in dull times. New York: Yorkville Monitor, 158 86th Street, 1873.

Stock market crashes and bank failures? Yes, 1873 was a very bad year for the American economy. After serious but unspecified business reversals, Walter Hyde tried to make ends meet as a knife sharpener on New York's Upper East Side. He also produced this unrecorded example of mendicant literature: a small pamphlet of his verse reflections on the times, with frequent references to sharpening and grinding:

For I have been rich;--
Am now in the ditch,
And trying to keep my poise.
And as I go
I sharpen so,
That the angry hardened steel,
Becomes sharp as wit,
By the flying grit,
And illustrates how I feel.

~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Joel P. Greene

image of item Illinois State Register (Springfield) Mar. 25, 1842.

This issue contains seven legal notices inserted by the law firm of (Abraham) Lincoln and Logan. There is also an article about the Whig ticket for Sangamon County. It states that Lincoln would be an excellent candidate for the U.S. Senate. At this time he was finishing up his term in the state legislature.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by Peter L. Masi

image of item The inventor's manual, showing how to procure and sell patents. Cincinnati: American Patent Agency, 1879.

A rare pocket manual providing basic information on the patent, trademark, and copyright processes in the U.S., Canada, and abroad, and on the buying and selling of patents. Its primary message to budding inventors, however, is the importance of retaining a competent patent attorney or broker, such as the American Patent Agency. The agency's full range of services is detailed, and a short list of references and recent patents obtained—for such gadgets as ironing tables, music leaf turners, mole traps, and cigar bundlers—is appended.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by George W. Tetler

image of item Irving Institute, a classical and commercial boarding school for boys. David S. Rowe, M.A. principal. Charles L. Davis, associate principal. Tarrytown, NY, 1853.

This circular promotes a pre-Civil War era school for boys located in Tarrytown, NY, which was named for the aging author Washington Irving (1783-1859), whose home was nearby. The school had recently changed principals, and the circular reassures parents that the new team was experienced and capable. Pupils were requested to arrive ready to learn with their own bible, a dictionary, and an umbrella. The tuition of $100 to $125 included room and board as well as fuel, lights and laundry service. Additional courses in piano, languages, and drawing were available for extra fees.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Andrew & Caroline Graham

image of item Islander, or Prince Edward Weekly Intelligencer and Advertiser (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island). 54 issues, 1846.

AAS has a small but growing collection of early Canadian newspapers. Prince Edward Island seems to have had a vigorous newspaper tradition, but few titles lasted more than a few years. The Islander, which began in 1842 and lasted three decades, was one that had a modicum of success reporting on local life, mercantile information, and shipping news.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by Jon Kukla

image of item James R. Osgood Co. Art education. Prospectus. Boston, 1873.

This prospectus promotes the publication of a text which outlined a course of instruction for drawing in public schools. The issuer, James Ripley Osgood (1836-1892), had associations with many large Boston publishing houses, including Ticknor & Fields and Louis Prang & Co., and he also had experience printing art periodicals and drawing books. AAS holds several works by Professor Walter Smith (1836-1886), who authored the text being described here, including this very title. The verso of this prospectus features an illustrated advertisement for wooden drawing-models which were also designed by Smith and sold by Osgood.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Ellen S. Dunlap

image of item John A. Roebling's Sons Company. John A. Roebling's Sons' Trenton, N.J. ... manufacturers of iron & steel wire rope, bridge cables, ship rigging, wheels and ropes for the transmission of power ... [Trenton, 1875]

A very rare trade catalog—one other copy so far recorded—detailing the range of items made at the Roeblings' Trenton factory. Perhaps its best-known product was steel cable for suspension bridges. At his death, during initial construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, John A. Roebling (1806-1869) was acknowledged as the foremost suspension bridge engineer in the United States. His sons carried on both the manufacturing and engineering sides of the business (probably to the chagrin of Worcester's wire manufacturers, who competed directly with the Roeblings on many of the same products). The front cover features a wood engraving of Roebling's Cincinnati Suspension Bridge, completed in 1867, whose central span remained the world's longest until the Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Nancy Sevcenko in honor of her niece Liberty Fitzpatrick's birthday

image of item Johnson's new family receipt book ... Boonsboro, MD: Odd Fellow Office, 1852.

This unrecorded pamphlet published in rural Maryland, near Hagerstown, consists primarily of cooking recipes, though like many 19th-century "receipt books" it also offers housekeeping tips and treatments for numerous ailments, human and animal. The title page and front cover add an unexpected bonus: a wood-engraved vignette of the U.S. Capitol as it then appeared.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by April Haynes

image of item Jordan, Henry J. and Samuel Beck. The philosophy of marriage, being four important lectures on the function and disorders of the nervous system, and reproductive organs. New York: The Authors, [1862]

Positively no one under 18 permitted to adopt this book! This is the "51st edition" of a work whose first 49 editions seem to have vanished completely without bibliographical trace. Clearly this copy, in pristine condition, has never been consulted. Drs. Jordan and Beck, specialists in "diseases of the generative system," also operated the New York Museum of Anatomy on Broadway.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Audrey T. Zook

image of item Juvenile Sports. (Our Children's Series.) New York: Leavitt & Allen, [ca. 1856-1860]

This delightful book of stories was issued in a bright blue binding featuring a gilt image of children gathering around an elderly storyteller. The stories range from descriptions of children at play (building card houses, trundling hoops) to more sober accounts of a father's death and a little girl begging, reminding us that 19th-century children were not necessarily guaranteed a secure, happy life.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by William R. Burleigh

image of item The Kentucky and Ohio Union (Buena Vista, OH) Oct. 4, 1862

Sometimes at book fairs a dealer, helpfully trying not to waste our time, will point to his boxes of stock and say there is nothing of interest for AAS because we have it all. But AAS doesn't have it all by far, and serendipitous finds can still be made. At last January's Papermania fair in Hartford, this newspaper was found in one of those boxes. It was edited by David Asbury Murphy in 1861-1862 before he joined the 81st Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Buena Vista is a very small village on the banks of the Ohio River across from Kentucky. Apparently the newspaper's aim was to promote the Union during the Civil War. It is the only copy known and is unrecorded in any Ohio bibliography.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by Valerie Cunningham

Kenyon & Holbrook. Watertown Steam Engine Company, Watertown, N.Y. ... the best circular saw mill in America. Watertown, NY, 1873.

This heavily illustrated circular promotes the Watertown Steam Engine company in northern New York State. Because of its close proximity to the falls of the Black River, Watertown quickly became a center for manufacturing in the 19th century; and in 1847, the first portable steam engine was built in town. According to local histories, the Watertown Steam Engine Company opened in 1866 with $40,000 in capital, employed 100 men, and had 35,000 square feet of boiler and blacksmith shops, store houses, etc. This flyer, which includes wood engravings by A. Ashton, Kellogg & Bulkeley, and C. W. C., is interesting not only for its depictions of the various engines and saw mill equipment sold by the firm, but also for the large engraving of the factory and yard.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopt me for: $400

image of item King, Wallace A. View of Ascutney Mountain taken from High Bridge at Claremont, N.H. Tinted lithograph. Boston: Forbes & Co. Lithography, 1868.

This advertising lithograph for a popular Vermont patent medicine includes a lovely scene of Mount Ascutney. M. K. Paine of Windsor, VT, produced the balm (as well as other popular remedies, including a nerve tonic and a hair restorative) and sold it nationwide. According to the text on the print, this medicine was "compounded from the choicest gum resins of the Green Mountain State. Consisting of cedar, hemlock, spruce, fir &c. so combined as to produce a healthy counter-irritant..." and could be used both topically and internally.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Basie Bales Gitlin

image of item L.S. Currier and Co. Papers, 1865.

L.S. Currier opened a book wholesaling business in Cincinnati in 1865. These three letters provide a fascinating insight into one aspect of Currier's business. In the letter, written on April 14, 1865, Currier describes various canvassing activities, saying that he had "engaged a Stiff armed Soldier" to canvass in Indiana. Another letter is dated April 15, the day of Abraham Lincoln's assassination. "If there is no Hell of fire, God ought to make one to burn eternally the man who shot Abraham Lincoln." But then a few lines later he wrote more cheerfully: "Sold 400 Lincoln today to the same man who ordered 400 the other day-- Ordered 200 Lincoln for our own use. Every one will want a likeness of Lincoln. Presume we shall sell thousands."
~ Thomas Knoles


Adopted by Jane Pomeroy

image of item The largest and best assortment of wood cuts and stereotype casts of English wood engravings, ever offered to the trade. New York: Sears, 1865-66.

This advertising circular for New York bookseller and publisher Robert Sears (1810-1892) was issued right after the Civil War and promotes a large selection of British woodcuts and plates that Sears had for sale. Subjects include religious scenes, historical events, and landscape views of the United States and Europe. The text suggests that the cuts would be perfect for gift books, magazines and newspapers.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Bearly Read Books

image of item Lavinia and Lily; or Life at Boarding School. Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, [ca. 1870]

An early example of the girl's "school story" that became immensely popular in both Great Britain and the United States in the late 19th/early 20th century.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopt me for: $1,000

image of item The Lily (Mount Vernon, OH). 1854 and (Richmond, IN) Jan. 1, 1855, July 1859.

Amelia Bloomer was editor and proprietor of this periodical, considered the first devoted to women's suffrage, temperance, education, and fashion reform. It began in Seneca Falls in 1848, shortly after the landmark women's rights convention was held there. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton encouraged Bloomer to start The Lily (her husband was the editor of the Seneca Falls Courier at that time). In 1854 the Bloomers moved the magazine to Mount Vernon, OH. The next year the Bloomers moved to Iowa and The Lily was transferred to Richmond, IN under the editorship of Mary Birdsall, but Amelia Bloomer stayed on as a corresponding editor. Per the July 1859 issue at AAS, The Lily lasted longer than previously believed.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by James Arsenault

image of item Little Gertrude; or Faith and Sight. New York: Carlton & Phillips, 1853.

This is a touching story about a little girl coming to terms with the death of her three-year-old brother. Carlton & Phillips was the publisher for the Methodist Episcopal Sunday School Union in the 1850s.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by David Nicholson in honor of Scott & Bradley Nicholson.

image of item The Little Ones Stories. Philadelphia: Chromatic Printing Co., [ca. 1870]

This vividly colored image of a 19th-century fire fighter is taken from an illustrated chapbook for children. Philadelphia was a major center for color printing throughout the 19th century.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by Ann T. Lisi

image of item The Little Wanderer's Friend. April, 1870. New York, 1870.

This is an issue of a periodical devoted to promoting New York's Howard Mission and Home for Little Wanderers. Published during a major economic panic, the opening article describes the plight of the Mission's challenges to feed, clothe, and educate between 400 and 500 street children, "many of them with bare limbs and naked feet." This issue includes several uplifting songs (with music), including the classic hymn, "The Sweet By and By."
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by Jon Kukla

image of item The Lost Mechanic Restored. New York: American Tract Society, [ca. 1840s]

The story of a young man who struggles with alcoholism and succeeds in living a sober life.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by Hal Espo and Ree DeDonato

image of item McClay, James S. Style-o!-graphic pens and funny pencillings in Europe. [Hartford: s.n.], 1881.

One of several published accounts of the second European excursion organized and led by Dr. Eben Tourjée (1834-1891). Three hundred and thirteen Americans from 21 states explored the continent at Tourjée's heels from July to September 1879. A driving force in New England's music community, Tourjée had already distinguished himself as the founder of the New England Conservatory of Music (1867) and as a nimble shepherd of mass humanity, organizing choruses of 10,000 and 20,000 voices respectively for the 1869 and 1872 Boston Peace Jubilees. Tourjée soon applied his superlative organizational skills to travel by leading "Tourjée Excursion Parties" to Europe during the summers of 1878 and 1879, in part to raise desperately needed funds for his other activities. McClay's account is supplemented by many humorous drawings by the artist Eugene Pearl, as well as short sketches by 11 other travelers.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Laura Wasowicz, in memory of Richard Anders

image of item M'Gaw, James F. Philip Seymour, or, Pioneer life in Richland County, Ohio. 2nd ed. Mansfield, OH: The Herald, Geo. U. Harn & Bro., 1883.

An interesting historical novel about the War of 1812's effect on inhabitants of the recently settled Richland County, in northwest Ohio. The British did not occupy the county, relying instead on their Indian allies to turn it into a bitterly contested battle zone. Although Philip Seymour is a fictional character, the real Johnny Appleseed makes an extended cameo appearance. Written by a local minister and schoolteacher, serialized in the Mansfield Herald, and first published there in book form in 1857, the novel remained so popular locally that this new edition was published by the Herald a generation later. The text has been revised, "expunging objectionable words," and extensive commentary on the author and historical context have been added.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Lin & Tucker Respess

image of item McLaren, William. The unity of the human race. A lecture delivered before the ... Belleville Young Men's Christian Association ... Belleville, [Ontario]: E. Miles, 1860.

A rare and fascinating pamphlet, in which Belleville's Presbyterian minister marshals Biblical passages and scientific evidence to argue that all human races belong to the same species. Darwin receives only a brief mention (but not for his recently published Origin of Species), and "evolution" is not explicitly mentioned, but McLaren asserts "the existence of certain forces which ... by acting for a lengthened period ... may have produced all the varieties which are observed in the human family." America's slaveholders receive his strong condemnation.
~ David Whitesell


Adopt me for: $800

image of item Magee, John L. The Murderers doom. Miserable death of J. Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Lincoln. Lithograph. Philadelphia, 1865.

This print was purchased with next year's CHAViC conference, "Historical Prints—Fact and Fiction," in mind as it depicts the moment of John Wilkes Booth's death in a Virginia barn. The event was recorded in great detail in the press and John L. Magee issued his lithograph immediately after the event. The federal army lieutenant in charge of capturing Booth gave this report of what occurred that day: "Just at this moment I heard a shot, and thought Booth had shot himself. Throwing open the door, I saw that the straw and hay behind Booth were on fire. He was half-turning towards it. He had a crutch, and he held a carbine in his hand. I rushed into the burning barn, followed by my men, and as he was falling caught him under the arms and pulled him out of the barn." AAS has excellent holdings of Magee's other lithographic prints, many of which are part of the political cartoon collection.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Susan Skoog

image of item Marsh-Caldwell, Anne. Helen's Fault. London & New York: G. Routledge & Co., 1857.

Published simultaneously in London and New York, this is a moving tale about a spirited eight-year-old girl trying to be good. The daughter of a British officer serving in India, Helen is sent by her parents to England to live with her maternal aunt and cousins. Despite her calm aunt's continual advice, Helen manages to get herself into many scrapes, such as spilling ink over her uncle's book of fine metal engravings!
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted Hal Espo and Ree DeDonato

image of item Martin, Sarah Catherine. The Comic Adventures of Old Mother Hubbard and Her Dog. New York: Isaac Riley, 1807.

A rare and early picture book version of Old Mother Hubbard drawn by the prolific metal engraver William Charles (1776-1820), who was himself a pioneer publisher of children's picture books, first in New York, then Philadelphia. In this comic scene of Mother Hubbard treating her dog to some ale, the scene is mimicked by the framed picture of a drinking scene on the wall in the background.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by Georgia Barnhill, in honor of Lauren Hewes

image of item Mès, C. Les premiers pas = Los primeros pasos = The first steps. Paris & New York: Ve. Turgis, [1853-1855]

This hand-colored lithograph was simultaneously published in France and New York by the widow of Louis Turgis. The Veuve Turgis issued several other genre images of charming family events similar to this one of a young child taking its first steps. Surrounded by an admiring crowd of women and older children, the toddler focuses on a rattle being held by a man (his father, perhaps). On the background, oblivious to the foreground action, a young couple stands close together near a garden statue.
~ Lauren Hewes


104. IS 2012 THE NEXT 1843?
Adopt me for: $200

image of item Miller, William. The Bible student's manual of chronology and prophecy. Selected from the works of William Miller . by Joshua V. Himes. Boston: Moses A. Dow, [1841?]

A fascinating artifact of the Millerite mania of the early 1840s. By 1818 William Miller, a Vermont Baptist, had convinced himself through careful Biblical calculations that the world would end in 1843. Few took note until Boston preacher and publisher Joshua V. Himes took up Miller's cause in 1839, henceforth providing Miller with a prominent pulpit and churning out many Adventist publications. This clothbound pocket manual contains a 24-page précis of Miller's argument, a large folding chart illustrating Miller's Biblical chronology, and a 30-page blank "note-book, for the special benefit of those who attend Mr. Miller's lectures ... to take notes while hearing the lectures, for future reference." Indeed, in this copy the blank pages are filled with the penciled notes of an unidentified lecture attendee, which conclude: "Brings us down to the end of all things which is 1843 according to this mode of reconing."
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Brett Mizelle in memory of Sharon L. Sievers

image of item Monarch of the Glen. Carte-de-visite in original frame manufactured by Dean & Emerson, Worcester, MA, photographer unknown.

This object was purchased for AAS because of the frame which, according to a label on the verso, was manufactured in Worcester, MA by Dean & Emerson. This metal stamping business was best known for their production of pressed metal mattes for lining photographic cases. The frame was created by a similar process and includes a small wire stand, probably also made in Worcester. When purchased, the frame held a carte-de-visite of a famous painting by the British artist Edwin Landseer. The object would have been displayed in a parlor or sitting room to indicate the owner's fine taste in art.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Helen R. Kahn, in memory of Fred Kahn

image of item Murray, Lindley. An English Spelling Book. Quebec: William Stanley, 1863.

A basic spelling text written by Lindley Murray (1745-1826), who is best known for his English Grammar and English Reader. The reading lessons at the end of the Spelling Book reveal a great deal about prevailing cultural norms; one lesson advises children, "Do not waste anything. If you want more clothes and food than you want, do not spoil them, or throw them away: but give them ... to poor little boys and girls..."
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by Stephen P. Hanly

image of item The New England Primer. Portland, ME: S. H. Colesworthy, 1839.

This is a later example of the classic work encompassing the functions of a primer, reader, and catechism; it was the key text for both pedagogical and religious instruction for American children from its early printings in the late-17th/early 18th-century through about 1850. The image is taken from its picture alphabet infused with Biblical references.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Richard Candee is helping with my conservation work

image of item New Hampshire Anti-Gallican Friendly Society. Records, 1758-ca. 1808.

An Anti-Gallican Society was founded in Great Britain around 1745 to combat increasing imports of French goods and French cultural influence. This record book of votes of a New Hampshire Anti-Gallican society apparently located in Portsmouth begins in 1758, during the French and Indian War. Early members included three recent graduates of Harvard College: John Wentworth (later governor of New Hampshire and a Loyalist), Daniel Sewall, and John Pickering. The Society's activities included hiring men to watch the ports. In 1791 the organization was reconstituted as the New Hampshire Friendly Society and incorporated by the New Hampshire state legislature. This record book was later used as a scrap book and dozens of newspaper clippings will need to be removed to make it fully usable.
~ Thomas Knoles


Adopt me for: $300

image of item New York Fireman (NY). May 10, 1841. Vol. 1, no. 1.

This unrecorded newspaper, published by D. Lewis Northup, promoted the interests of firemen. It includes news and comments about different firefighting companies and other matters of interest to firemen, as well as notes on the theatre, general items of interest, and classified ads. The masthead was finely engraved by R. Roberts. No mention of the New York Fireman has been found in various bibliographies or databases, and this may have been the only issue published.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by Abby Hutchinson

image of item New York Picayune (New York). Aug. 21, 1858.

This long-lived 19th-century comic serial has been described as one of the most important, and issues are avidly sought by scholars for their research. Begun in 1847 as an advertising sheet for medicines, the comic material soon took precedence and the Picayune became entirely a comic newspaper. Under editor W.H. Levison, and from 1857 on under Mortimer C. Thomson ("Doesticks"), the Picayune attacked city and state corruption, Mormonism, and the economic panic. All issues are scarce, and we were excited to add this to what is becoming one of the best institutional holdings.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by Joanne Wilson

image of item The Nursery Primer and Self-Teaching Reader, for Beginners. Boston: John L. Shorey, [ca. 1875]

A pictorial primer written on the strategy of teaching a child to read through the identification of whole words (as opposed to syllables) illustrated by pictures. This technique builds upon what was begun in the United States by Jacob Abbott with his path breaking book Rollo Learning to Talk (1835). The Nursery Primer is filled with pictures commonly recognizable to 19th-century children; Santa Claus makes an appearance on p. 51!
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by Carl Robert Keyes, in honor of Robert G. & Cynthia A. Keyes

image of item Old Humphrey [i.e., George Mogridge]. Learning to Act. Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, [ca. 1857]

George Mogridge (1787-1854) was a popular writer of didactic stories for children. He wrote Learning to Act as a series of dialogues between parents and their children on how to be self-controlled, kind, obedient, dutiful, and prudent.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by Peter L. Masi

image of item Opie, Amelia Alderson. Illustrations of Lying, in All Its Branches. New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1855.

Amelia Opie (1769-1853) was an English writer of didactic tales for children popular on both sides of the Atlantic. Her stories resolutely address lies motivated by vanity, flattery, convenience, interest, fear, even benevolence.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by R. A. Graham Co. in honor of Margaret Perry

image of item The Oriental: or, Tung-Ngai San-Luk (San Francisco, CA). [bilingual edition] Oct. 1855.

This is the second Chinese newspaper published in the United States, beginning Jan. 4, 1855 and lasting until about Feb. 1857. (The first came out the year before and lasted only a few months.) There were two editions: a weekly Chinese edition, and a monthly Chinese/English edition. The Rev. William Speer edited the English section, and Lee Kan edited the Chinese section. The process used in printing the bilingual edition is interesting: while the English section was printed letterpress, the Chinese section was lithographed by F. Kuhl. After The Oriental ceased publication, there was no Chinese-language newspaper in San Francisco until 1876. Few issues have survived.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by James Arsenault

image of item Paris and Woodstock (Maine) Library. Articles of Association, 1845.

This is an interesting example of the spontaneous rise of library associations in the period before the arrival of the public library. The incorporators of the Paris and Woodstock stated that the library's objects were to be "Historical information, religious instruction, and the advancement of the laws of CHRIST." Membership (50 cents for a share) was open to both men and women although the seven incorporators were all men.
~ Thomas Knoles



The various AAS collections reflect the melting pot that has been the American population over time. By 1880 America's immigrant communities had spawned newspapers published in fifteen different languages, including Chinese, Welsh, French, Italian, Spanish, Danish, and Dutch. German-language newspapers have been the most prevalent. The first was issued in 1739 by Christopher Sauer, and by 1880 almost 800 German newspapers had been published. Unfortunately many were not saved, and today they are quite scarce and difficult to acquire. Here are three early examples.
~ Vincent Golden

Adopted by Katherine Keenum in memory of Charles Greve

image of item Demokratischer Freiheits-Press, und Schuylkill, Columbia und Northumberland Caunties Anzeiger (Pottsville, PA). Feb. 9, 1838.

Adopted by Peter L. Masi

image of item Die Freyheits Presse, und Schuylkill Caunty Wöchenlicher Anzeiger (Orwigsburg, PA). 1830.

Adopt me for: $300

image of item Harrisburger Morgenröthe und Dauphin und Cumberland Caunties Anzeiger (PA). 29 issues, 1833, 1834.


Adopt me for: $800

image of item Peoria Weekly Campaign Transcript (IL). [campaign edition] Sept. 30, 1858.

One of the pleasant surprises of this job is uncovering an unrecorded title. When one of these fugitives is discovered, it extends our knowledge of the field. The Peoria Weekly Campaign Transcript is a case in point. In 1858 a new owner, Nathan Geer, took over the paper and changed its politics from Democrat to Republican. In the July 2 and 9 issues of the regular weekly edition, the editor announced that a separate campaign edition would be published weekly from July 15 until the November election, plus one more issue containing the results. It emphatically supported Abraham Lincoln as state senator, and it had coverage and editorials on the first four Lincoln-Douglas debates, including the schedule of the last three. Only one other Republican campaign newspaper for this Illinois election is known, and it started after this one. So, this may be the earliest campaign newspaper to support Lincoln.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by Hal Espo and Ree DeDonato

image of item The phunny book. Published by Dr. Ephriam [sic] Muggins, M.D. [Burlington, VT: Henry, Johnson, and Lord, 1875]

A wonderful illustrated comic almanac for the years 1875-1876, published by a patent medicine distributor in Burlington, VT. Their inspired strategy was to sell patent medicines (through interspersed ads) while simultaneously satirizing their popularity. The fictional Dr. Muggins, who owes his "high moral position in society entirely to [his] early application to patent medicines," offers in this almanac "remedies for all the ills that afflict mankind, except possibly women's rights and the Beecher Scandal... If I make seven or eight millions out of [this pamphlet], that will satisfy me."
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Frances Langille, in honor of Rev. Dr. Barry McCarthy's installation, Greendale People's Church, Worcester, MA, April 2010

image of item Pierce, Willard. A century sermon, preached at Foxborough, October 24th, 1828. The day on which the widow Hannah Sumner completed her hundredth year. Dedham, MA: H. & W. H. Mann, 1829.

AAS owns many "century sermons" preached on the centennial of, e.g., the founding of a town or a church, or of some significant historical event. Far less common, for obvious reasons, are century sermons preached on the occasion of a centenarian's one hundredth birthday.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Charles H. B. Arning

image of item The Placer Courier (Yankee Jim's, CA). Jan. 14, 1858.

Yankee Jim's was both a mining town and the person who founded it in 1849. It got a big boost in 1851 when gold was discovered in the area. In December 1856 the town had grown enough that someone attempted a newspaper, The Mountain Courier. It went bankrupt within four months and E. B. Boust bought the equipment and building. On July 4, 1857 he began The Placer Courier and met with more success. It lasted until November 1858 when Boust sold it to R. J. Steele, who moved it to the nearby mining town of Forest Hill. This issue is rich in local events. The advertisements alone give a vivid picture of the life of a California gold mining town: blacksmiths, hardware, saloons, billiard rooms, liveries and stables, expresses, constable sales, etc. No other library records having a copy of The Placer Courier.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by Joanne Chaison

image of item Remington, S. The family doctor. Containing a description of the principal diseases, together with their treatment and cure, simplified so that every man can be his own doctor ... New York: Ensigns & Thayer, 1848.

A fine copy of this rare pocket manual on diet and the treatment of various illnesses, supplemented with a "Dispensatory of American Botanical Remedies." The color-printed wrappers depict a woman presenting a written query: How does one reach a healthy old age? The two seated figures hold in their laps a placard with the answer: "Temperance" and "Cheerfulness."
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Thomas Bruhn in honor of Georgia B. Barnhill

image of item Le retour de voyage = El regreso de viage = Returning from journey. Paris & New York: Ve. Turgis, [1853-1855]

Another genre scene issued by the Veuve Turgis [see also item #103], this hand colored lithograph depicts a father's homecoming. Several generations gather in a formal interior as the father embraces his wife at center. Several children spill across the foreground admiring various toys and weapons brought to them by their father, while an African boy stands in exotic dress at the far right. The Turgis firm continued to produce lithographs for the New York market until the Civil War.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Helen Deese

image of item Ritchie, Anne Thackeray. Cinderella. (Loring's Tales of the Day.) Boston: Aaron Kimball Loring, 1867.

A modernized retelling of Cinderella. Louisa May Alcott had various short stories published in the Loring's Tales of the Day series. This copy contains advertisements for Alcott's recently published novel Moods and Horatio Alger's early novel Helen Ford.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by Ellen S. Dunlap

image of item Robbins Preserved Wood Pavement Co. Preserved wood pavements. New York: The Company, 1870.

The only recorded copy of this promotional tract touting the advantages of wood street pavement over cobblestones, Belgian granite blocks, and concrete. By infusing lumber with "dead oil" and carbolic acid—a process similar to the making of railroad ties—pavement blocks could be manufactured that would be more durable and quieter than stone, generate less dust, and even act as a powerful disinfectant against noxious animal byproducts. The Robbins Company was one of several firms vying for the urban market.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Peter L. Masi

image of item S. B. Chittenden & Co. Circular. Great fall in prices. Cash trade! Dear Sirs ... New York, 1860.

Issued about a month after the election of President Lincoln and just ten days before South Carolina seceded from the Union, this New York circular hints at the economic difficulties faced by Northern merchants right before the war. S. B. Chittenden & Co. noted that the price of their woolen goods was cheaper than cotton cloth at the moment, while also commenting that prices had not been so low since the financial depression of 1857.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Laura Wasowicz, in honor of Jonathan Petrie

image of item The Sabbath School Concert: or Exercises for Sabbath School Worship. Boston: Heath & Graves, 1855.

A collection of religious poems and short pieces meant for recitation in the Sunday school. Included is "The Fugitive Mother" (sung to the tune "Rose of Allendale"), a sentimental song about a woman escaping with her babe in her arms. The back page bears this striking image depicting boys making the choice between heaven and hell, their speech captured in balloons—an iconographic tool also used by the political caricaturists of the day.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by Lauren B. Hewes

image of item Saratoga, N.Y. Letterhead blank, lithograph. New York: Charles Magnus & Co., [ca. 1865]

The lithographer Charles Magnus produced reams of stationery featuring famous American cities and monuments. This sheet promotes the spa city of Saratoga, NY, famous for its sulfur springs and a large horseracing track. Four vignettes at the top of the sheet feature scenic landmarks around the city being enjoyed by men and women. The stationery would have been used by the many tourists who wrote home to friends and family while visiting the city for its health benefits.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by John Carbonell

image of item Sheet music book, gathered by Idella M. Curtis, of Russell, MA. Various cities and publishers, 1855-1865.

This loosely bound compilation of 49 songs belonged to a young woman in rural central Massachusetts. She used a stencil to mark her name on several of the songs, most of which are arranged for piano and voice. The grouping includes sentimental tunes like Stephen Foster's Beautiful Dreamer and Civil War era songs such as On, On, On, the Boys Came Marching and Just After the Battle, both by George Root. Most of the tunes in the album are already part of AAS's outstanding collection of sheet music; but of the 16 we did not already hold, the most interesting is the minstrel tune Treasury Rats, published in 1864 in New York. This song expresses anger at the Federal Government for mishandling funds during the Civil War and includes several gruesome verses describing rats on the battlefield gnawing at corpses. It is hard to picture Miss Idella crooning Beautiful Dreamer and then singing this particular tune!
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Caroline F. Sloat in honor of Robert E. Sloat and Andrew F. Sloat

image of item Smith, Elizabeth Oakes Prince. Old New York: or, democracy in 1689. A tragedy, in five acts. New York: Stringer & Townsend, 1853.

The only published dramatic work of this prolific author and pioneering feminist. Born in Maine, she married the prominent editor and humorist Seba Smith (aka "Jack Downing") at the age of 16. A move to New York and business reversals encouraged Smith to write, and from the later 1830s she produced a steady stream of articles, poems, children's stories, and novels for the leading magazines, gift books, and publishers of the day. After attending the National Women's Rights Convention in Worcester in October 1850, Smith took to the lecture circuit and raised her pen on behalf of women's rights. Old New York, written when Smith was introducing feminist themes to her literary works, is a dramatization of Leisler's Rebellion. Smith introduces a fictional back story in which Leisler's wife remains secretly, but unhappily, married to none other than the man sent by the king to wrest New York from Leisler's control. Crushed by the revelation, Leisler is arrested, tried, and marched to the scaffold, where he and his wife reconcile and die together, happily.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Charles H. B. Arning

image of item Soldier's News-Letter (Brashear City, LA). May 16, 1863.

This newspaper was edited and published by A.W. Eastman, a private in the 8th Vermont Infantry Regiment, wherever his regiment happened to be stationed. This issue was published at the office of the Southern Steam-Ship Company in Brashear City, LA; other issues were published from Gretna, LA and Ship Island, MS. Eastman covered news of the Union occupation, the African-American troops under General Daniel Ullman, and the 4th Massachusetts Regiment. Only one other copy of the Brashear City, LA incarnation is known: another copy of the May 16 issue at the Clements Library.
~ Vincent Golden


131. OH, TO BE A GIRL!
Adopted by Stephen Ferguson

image of item Soliloquy of a boy. [United States]: J.H. Ferguson, printer, [1850?]

This commentary on growing up is full of typesetting errors, but the gist of the text is still intelligible. A young man looks back on his boyhood and laments the inequalities between growing up male versus female in the United States. He also details that his sisters got him into heaps of trouble and that he had no privacy in the house. The text provides an interesting commentary on young adulthood in the United States, which apparently included just as much teenage whining as nowadays!
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by Kay Allen

image of item Stanwood, Edward. Boston illustrated. [Boston: James R. Osgood, 1873]

This extensively illustrated guide to Boston was published shortly after the 1872 fire that leveled part of the business district. What is remarkable about this copy is that its original owner has heavily annotated virtually every page with additions and corrections up to ca. 1876. It is possible that the owner intended to assist in some way with the regular updates compiled by Stanwood, though it seems more likely that this was intended as a private, comprehensive record of one person's Boston.
~ David Whitesell


Adopt me for: $125

image of item Sweet, Samuel Niles. Teachers' institutes, or temporary normal schools; their origin and progress. Utica, NY: H H. Hawley & Co., 1848.

An early handbook on "teachers' institutes" for public school instructors, akin to today's in-service workshops or the Teaching American History seminars organized by AAS. At a time when public school teachers had little or no professional training and often worked in isolated, rural settings with few resources at hand, educators realized the need to bring teachers together at least briefly for periodic group meetings. Here Sweet provides a comprehensive state-by-state survey of the teachers' institute movement, with copious quotations from relevant correspondence and documents, followed by "practical suggestions" for teachers. One of Sweet's aims was to bolster the claim that his brother, Stephen R. Sweet, founded the movement in 1837.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Ellen S. Dunlap

image of item Thomas's Massachusetts Spy, or Worcester Gazette (Worcester, MA). Mar. 14, 1820 extra

Many people assume that AAS "has everything" in certain categories. Sometimes even curators run the risk of making that assumption. AAS has Isaiah Thomas's own run of the Massachusetts Spy that we assume is complete, and for general issues, it is. When this extra issue appeared on eBay, the first thought was "we have it." But further checking showed that AAS lacked this particular issue. It contains news from Spain that reached the Spy office after the regular issue for March 15th had been printed. This little piece was quickly set in type and printed separately to get the news out, then reprinted as part of the next regular issue.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopt me for: $500

image of item True Witness and Catholic Chronicle (Montreal) 1850-1858. 416 issues

Edited by George Edward Clark, this major Catholic newspaper began in 1850 with the goal of countering anti-Catholic sentiments being publishing in other Quebec periodicals. It became a major force in Montreal's Catholic community, printing not only religious news, but local news and events as well. The True Witness continued for 60 years before ceasing publication.
~ Vincent Golden


Adopted by Robert & Lillian Fraker, Savoy Books

image of item Tunebook, early 19th century.

This well-worn volume contains approximately fifty secular tunes with titles such as "Presidents New March," "York Fusalier," "The Hay Maker," "The Girl I Left Behind Me," and "Jefferson and Liberty." Examination by musical scholars will undoubtedly help us to determine the date and possibly the location of the compiler. Even in cases such as this when key identifying information is absent, collections of music help in an understanding of the popularity of individual tunes and the repertoire of musicians.
~ Thomas Knoles


Adopt me for: $100

image of item Warren, J. Thomas. Old Peggy Boggs; or, Nick Whiffles in the war. New York: Frank Starr & Co., 1877.

A fine example of a dime novel, this from Frank Starr's Ten Cent American Novels series. On the eve of the Civil War, Philadelphian Harrison Graves is engaged to teach music and art to a Virginia plantation owner's daughters, only to find himself enmeshed in Southern gothic horror. At the outbreak of war, the plantation owner dons his Confederate general's uniform and has Graves imprisoned as a suspected abolitionist. But Old Peggy Boggs slips into the prison and frees Graves, who then liberates Boggs. daughter from unjust white slavery on the general's plantation. Graves then joins the invading 14th Ohio to thrash the rebels and send the general to an early grave.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Ellen S. Dunlap, to celebrate the nuptials of her nieces Susan Washburn Jones and Esther Washburn Mezey

image of item The wedding gift, to all who are entering the marriage state. Worcester, MA: S. A. Howland, 1849.

AAS assiduously collects publisher's cloth bindings from the period ca. 1847-1852, when binders employed an amazing variety of printed cloth patterns as a canvas for blind- and gilt-stamped ornament. This example is particularly, um, striking. Interestingly, the gilt flower vase is the same ornament used on the binding of item #55 above.
~ David Whitesell


Adopt me for: $325

image of item Wells, William Harvey. Correspondence with Leander Wetherell, 1846-1848.

William Harvey Wells (b. 1812) was the author of A Grammar of the English Language, first published in 1846. By 1864 260,000 copies of the work had been printed. These five letters are about the sale and marketing of Wells's book. Purchased from M & S Rate Books. Henry F. DePuy Fund.
~ Thomas Knoles


Adopted by Michael Winship

image of item B. Westermann & Co. List of illustrated works and photographs adapted for Christmas and New Years presents, embracing the latest and best productions of German art and literature ... [New York: B. Westermann & Co.], 1875.

A rare bookseller's catalog issued by B. Westermann & Co., at that time the leading importer of German books to the U.S. Several hundred German works illustrated with engravings, chromolithographs, or mounted photographs; portfolios of plates; photograph albums; single photographs and prints; atlases, maps, and globes, etc.—all suitable for holiday gift giving.are briefly described and priced.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Joanne Wilson

image of item Why Sit Ye Here Idle? New York: American Tract Society, [ca. 1830s]

This tract addresses a topic commonly discussed in 19th-century tracts with great urgency: laziness!
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by Joanne Wilson

image of item Williams, Gus. Gus Williams' "Olympic" songster, a notable collection of the funniest of funny songs ... New York: Robert M. DeWitt, [1875]

A new addition to AAS's remarkable collection of American songsters. Born in New York's Bowery, Gus Williams (1847-1915) enjoyed great success as an actor, singer, and comedian during the 1870s and 1880s. He was touted as "the Kaiser of comical Dutch minstrelsy" who murdered the English language with a "German" accent: "I vonce did keep a beer zaloon, und it vos near a school." Mercifully, most of the songs included here showcase his other comic gifts.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Hal Espo and Ree DeDonato

image of item The Wine of Tar Picture Alphabet. Dayton, OH: Oliver Crook & Co., [ca. 1867]

This is a child's picture alphabet, interspersed with plenty of advertisements for various products, including ladies' muffs, eight-day clocks, carbolic soap, and especially Dr. Crook's Wine of Tar—a self-proclaimed remedy for throat and lung ailments.
~ Laura Wasowicz


Adopted by Stephen P. Hanly

image of item Wolleb, Johannes. Compendium theologiæ christianæ ... Editio nova. Londini: Typis Hen. Woodfall, sumptibus T. Longman, 1760.

Wolleb's Compendium was a popular theology text which found favor at early 18th-century Harvard. By the 1750s, Harvard's increasingly liberal faculty wished to retire the long out-of-print Compendium. This did not sit well with Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson, who insisted that Wolleb be retained. Accordingly, in 1760 Harvard directed its London agent to commission a new edition of the Compendium from a suitable London printer—perhaps the nearly 300-page Latin text was considered beyond the capabilities of Boston printers. To Harvard's dismay the printer required a minimum order of 1,000 copies, all of which were shipped to Cambridge. Wolleb's Compendium remained in use at Harvard until 1784. Nowhere does the book reveal that Harvard was its true publisher, though we know this from unpublished sources in the Harvard Archives. This copy bears the 1770 ownership inscription of Joseph Crosby of Braintree (Harvard class of 1772) and the early 19th-century signature of "Abigail Smith Adams"—not the Abigail Adams, alas, but a near relation of the same name.
~ David Whitesell


Adopted by Helen R. Kahn, in memory of Fred Kahn

image of item Würtele, F. C. Stolen, Lost or Removed. Quebec City: Literary and Historical Society of Quebec, [1870-1880]

This document is a record of the professional librarian's greatest challenge. Frederick Christian Würtele (1842-1920), librarian of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec, sent out this handbill calling for the return of missing, possibly stolen, volumes of the Quebec Herald newspaper. The borrower (or thief) apparently cut the 18th-century papers from their covers. It is not known whether the papers were ever returned.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopt me for: $300

image of item Young, Samuel. A Wall-Street bear in Europe, with his familiar foreign journal, of a tour through portions of England, Scotland, France and Italy. By T. Q. New York: Samuel Young, 1855.

This privately printed travelogue collects letters originally published in the Saratoga Springs Republican, a newspaper edited by one of Young's close relations. Young was the quintessential Ugly American, and his breezy account makes for absorbing (if sometimes cringing) reading: "British Museum — This rather beats Barnum's." At Stratford-upon-Avon he lodged for the night at the Red Horse Tavern: "The room assigned to me was No. 15, made celebrated by having formerly been occupied by Washington Irving. The names of many Americans were written on the wall paper ..." In Naples Young found himself quite at home observing the Exchange, where the "Bears" temporarily held sway during a financial panic.
~ David Whitesell


Adopt me for: $100

image of item Zuccato's papyrograph (patented.): the greatest economizer of time, labor, and money. Norwich, CT: The Papyrograph Co., 1876.

This advertising circular documents the invention and distribution of a predecessor to the mimeograph. Promoting itself as a way to make multiple copies from the same text, the papyrograph could be leased and licensed at terms outlined on the circular. A separate page of advertising features sample handwriting and a small drawing copied via the apparatus.
~ Lauren Hewes


Adopted by John Neal Hoover

Calloway, Colin G. White people, Indians, and Highlanders: tribal peoples and colonial encounters in Scotland and America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.


Adopted by Rudy Ruggles

image of item Batcheller, Stephen, 1778-1848. Notebook, 1797-1798.

Stephen Batcheller, Jr. was born in Royalston, MA the son of a physician and began studying with a doctor in Montague, MA in 1797. He later settled into a practice in Royalston, and between them he and his father served the community for eighty years. This small volume is largely composed of medical recipes (for example cures for rickets, diabetes, epilepsy, the bite of a mad dog, and St. Vitus. Dance), but there are also some commonplace-type entries.
~ Thomas Knoles


Adopted by Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz

North Carolina Times. New Berne, NC. June 15, 1864.

Besides wallpaper, newspaper publishers sometimes had to resort to wrapping paper, lined ledger paper, and even tissue paper. Both of these issues are printed on yellow wrapping paper. In the Colorado Transcript the editor wrote, "We couldn't help it. ... Some of our subscribers will receive this week's Transcript printed upon yellow wrapping paper, owing to the non-arrival of a supply at our factor's store. We had only enough to print about half of our edition, and have been compelled to resort, to this make-shift."
~ Vincent Golden


Thank you for adopting!

The Adopt-A-Book Catalog features a variety of items acquired by AAS curators in recent months. All will be offered for "adoption." That is, you may adopt any item by pledging the stated amount. In return AAS will permanently record the adopter's name 1) on a special bookplate attached to each item, and 2) in the AAS online library catalog.

Become a member of the Alliance for AAS today!


How to adopt:

First, browse the Adopt-A-Book Catalog and select the item(s) you wish to adopt.

Contact David Whitesell

a) by e-mail to:

b) by telephone to:
(508) 471-2165

c) or by mail to:
American Antiquarian Society
185 Salisbury Street
Worcester, MA 01609-1634

Please provide your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address along with the number(s) of the item(s) you wish to adopt. AAS will contact you with information on how to redeem your pledge. Or save time and send a check (payable to AAS) for the full amount to the address above.

Not ready to adopt your favorite item? Then consider becoming a godparent by pledging 25% or more of the adoption cost for any item valued at $500 or more!

Questions? Contact AAS. Thank you for your support of AAS's acquisitions program!