Adopt a Gift Book 2012

In December of 2012, AAS celebrated the tradition of the American gift book with a special edition of our popular Adopt-a-Book program (which will be held in full on April 5, 2013). We called this special winter mini-edition “Adopt a Gift Book” and thirty-one of the forty attractive and important American annual volumes were adopted. Support of this program aids the Society’s curators as they pursue new acquisitions for the collection.  And you (or the person you choose to honor) are forever associated with a particular volume in the Society’s collection.

First a word on American annuals, also called gift books. AAS has a collection of nearly 1,000 gift books published between 1830 and 1870. Based on a British tradition, the elegantly bound books contain poetry, prose, and illustrations and were intended to be read at home in the parlor. They were marketed for the holiday trade, and often came out in November with titles such as the Christmas Gift from Fairyland or The Friendship’s Offering and Winter’s Wreath.  The volumes were purchased by parents for their children, by friends, by older brothers and often are dedicated inside with personal notes.

In 2009, the Society embarked on an NEH-funded project called Prints in the Parlor which involved cataloging and digitizing the engraved images inside American annuals to make them more available to researchers. At the project’s conclusion, over 5,000 records were created. By selecting this area of the collection for our winter adoption program, we are, in a way, re-gifting the gift books. Originally purchased as gifts by family members, teachers, or sweethearts, we now hope you will adopt a volume or two as gifts for those on your holiday shopping lists!

For questions about the program, please contact Elizabeth Watts Pope, Curator of Books, [].

We thank you for your support of this new initiative.

Adopted Items:


Adopted by Caroline Schimmel

Its All Crystal Clear! [Cloud Crystals from 1864]

Adopted by Susan Branson for Zoe

Everyone's Favorite Gift! [Children's Annual from 1853]

Adopted by Peter B. Logan and Deborah A. Freeman

What a Christmas Eve! [Stranger's Gift from 1836]

Adopted by Chester, Camilla, Damien, Allison, and Madeline Gryski in honour of future readers

Wheeeee! [Literary Souvenir from 1844]

Adopted by Ed Hood in honor of Nan Wolverton

A Mother's Treasures [Affection's Gift from 1854]

Adopted by Caroline and Andrew Graham in memory of Sheba

No New Leash Laws! [Winter Wreath from 1856]

Adopted by Caroline and Andrew Graham in memory of Mackie

Here kitty, kitty [Rose of Sharon from 1852]

Adopted by the Hanno Family in memory of Our Loyal Dogs, Athena and Gem

Saved by Dogs! And they have Brandy! [Laurel Wreath from 1850]

Adopted by Mr. & Mrs. Michael J. O'Connell, N. Bethesda, Maryland

Magic in the Woods [Eclectic Gift Book from 1859]

Adopted by Ellen Gruber Garvey in honor of Janice Radway

Let's Make a Deal! [The Gift from 1844]

Adopted by Peg Lesinski in honor of Jaclyn Penny

What Strong Arms She Must Have! [The Token from 1828]

Adopted by Alison & Bob Petrilla in 2012

In a (Binding) Pattern [Affection's Gift from 1854]

Adopted by Jennifer Pierce in honor of Herb Snyder and Barb Dunn

Its Not a School Night! [The Hyacinth or Affection's Gift from 1854]

Adopted by Georgia Barnhill in honor of Christine Graham-Ward

Snow-Bound [The Snow Flake from 1856]

Adopted by Uncle Peter Walther in honor of Alastair Feist

Faster! [Christmas Blossoms from 1851]

Adopted by Uncle Peter Walther in honor of Charlotte Coatney

You're going to burn your little tongues! [Gem of the Season from 1846]

Adopted by Lauren Hewes in honor of Vincent Golden

Read All About it! [The GIft from 1843]

Adopted by the Hewes Family

The Gorgeous Governess [The Souvenir of Friendship ca. 1854]

Adopted by Andrew Cariglia

Charity among the Urban Drifts [Moss Rose for 1850]

Adopted by Sarah Purcell, with thanks and love for L. Edward Purcell

Reading is Fundamental [The Gift from 1839]

Adopted by Martha Elena Rojas

"I am trying to finish my dissertation!" [Friendship's Gift from 1847]

Adopted by Sally Talbot for Melodee Wagen, with love

The White Mountains or the Alps, who can tell the difference? [The Christian Parlor Book from 1849]

Adopted by Jeffrey and Rebecca Morin in honor of Fern & Ann Ferland, Christmas 2012

I Think I Shall Never See a Plate as Lovely as this Tree [The Coral Gift from 1851]

Adopted by Hilary Wyss on behalf of John and Dorothy Truman, Christmas 2012

Color Gives Added Value [The Chaplet of Literary Gems ca. 1850]

Adopted by Hilary Wyss on behalf of Hugo and Meta Wyss, of Cornwall, Connecticut

My Best Side [The Cabinet & Talisman from 1829]

Adopted by Johanna McElwee

I need to finish this last page...[Ladies' Souvenir from 1853]

Adopted by William Wallace in memory of Mary Brown

For an Odd-Fellow or a Bored Boarding School Girl [Odd Fellows' from 1849]

Adopted by L&T Respess Books

"I think I feel a nibble!" [The Gem from 1839]

Adopted by Henry and Sophia Penny for Kevin "Pa" Donovan

Go, Grandpa, go! [Ladies' casket from 1860]

Adopted by John Thomson for L & T Respess

Books You've 'Red' [Token & Atlantic Souvenir from 1834]

Adopted in honor of Michael Pyron by Black Swan Books Richmond, Virginia

Friends don't let friends read bad poetry [Amulet from 1846]


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