Alexander Anderson Collection

daguerreotype of Alexander AndersonThe American Antiquarian Society holds thousands of examples of wood engraved illustrations created by Alexander Anderson (1775-1870), whose work appears inside almanacs, Bibles, medical texts, periodicals, and children’s books and also on broadsides and ephemera.

Anderson has been called the first skilled wood engraver in America and his talent and careful attention to detail helped animate and enliven publications during his more than eighty year career. His biographers called him 'The Father of American Wood Engraving,’ a phrase that is also inscribed on Anderson's tombstone.

In 2020, AAS received an important gift of nearly 1,300 titles as well as 384 boxwood blocks carved by Anderson to make his illustrations, all donated by AAS member Jane Pomeroy, the author of the comprehensive bibliography of the artist’s work. Pomeroy selected over 1,000 of Anderson's engravings to illustrate this major bibliography.


In the recording below, author Jane Pomeroy and Billie M. Levy discuss the career of Alexander Anderson and his impact on nineteenth-century children’s book illustration. Levy collected children’s books and founded the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Connecticut. The recording was made was in the 1990s for West Hartford Cable TV.

Courtesy of West Hartford Cable TV


wood engraving

wood engraving

Six woodblocks

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