Illustrated Inventories

Selected AAS materials have been digitized and made available online. Additional digital collections of AAS materials have been produced through AAS digital partnerships. A complete list of digital resources available in the AAS reading room includes all digital collections containing AAS content as well as electronic products produced elsewhere.

Ambrotypes Collection Inventory
The American Antiquarian Society's photograph collection includes approximately one hundred and fifty ambrotypes. Ambrotypes became popular in the mid-1850s, and were much less expensive to produce than daguerreotypes. These consist of a collodion image fixed to a glass plate, which, when held up to light, appears negative. To create a positive image, the back of the plate was either painted black or placed against a black background.
Audubon's Birds of America: An Illustrated Inventory
This resource, presented by the American Antiquarian Society, provides access to the color plates inside lithographer Julius Bien’s rare edition of Audubon’s Birds of America, published in 1860 in New York. The Bien volume was produced entirely in America, unlike the famous 1838 engraved edition, which was printed in Scotland and England by W.H. Lizars and Robert Havell. Begun seven years after the death of John James Audubon, the Bien set was intended to provide a more affordable edition of the Birds of America, appropriate for educational institutions. History would intervene, however, making the Bien edition more rare today than even the original Lizars/Havell set.
Charles Peirce Collection of Social and Political Caricatures and Ballads Illustrated Box List
The collection and online illustrated inventory consists of 65 British and American satirical prints published between 1796 and 1807. Well-known British caricaturists James Gillray (1757-1815), Isaac Cruickshank (1756-1811) and Charles Williams (active 1797-1830), are well represented with colored social satires. As well, the publishers represented within this collection include Samuel W. Fores (1761-1838), William Holland (1757-1815), and Thomas Tegg (1776-1846), all three of whom advertised that bound portfolios of caricatures could be lent from their London shops.
Daguerreotypes Collection Inventory
The American Antiquarian Society's photograph collection includes nearly 230 daguerreotypes. Daguerreotypes, the first commercial form of photography, appeared in America around the year 1839. These were produced by first sensitizing a polished silvered copper plate with iodine vapor, and then exposing the plate to light. The image was developed over hot mercury, fixed, and rinsed. This was a direct positive process, meaning that no negatives were produced, and so each daguerreotype is unique. Daguerreotypes can be easily distinguished from other early photographs by their reflective, mirror-like surface.
David Claypoole Johnston Family Illustrated Box List
The David Claypoole Johnston Family Illustrated Box List describes of 28 boxes of material dating from 1799 through the early twentieth century, and spans two generations. David Claypoole Johnston (1799-1865) is a noted cartoonist and humorist, who also worked in watercolor, charcoal and oil. The collection at the American Antiquarian Society consists of approximately 50 watercolors, two states of three of his most famous cartoons (including colored proofs, engravings and watercolors), pencil, pen, ink and wash drawings, working pieces, envelopes for Metamorphosis, and a full run of his career-launching publication Scraps.
Drawings Collection Inventory
The American Antiquarian Society’s drawings collection consists of over 550 drawings in graphite, pen, ink and wash, chalk, watercolor and charcoal ranging in size from items used as bookmarks to large landscapes intended for display in the home; there are also over a dozen sketchbooks. The collection ranges from the late 1700s to the early twentieth century, with the bulk dating from the mid-nineteenth century.
European Political Print Collection Inventory
This fully illustrated inventory of over 200 graphic arts items dating from 1720 to 1843 represents a traditionally out of scope area of the Society’s major collections, but it remains a rich resource for those studying the cultural capital of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Hawaiian Engravings Collection Inventory
One of the unusual portions of the Hawaiian Collection is an assortment of more than thirty engravings produced by students at the Lahainaluna School on the island of Maui. A mission press was introduced at this institution about 1828 and was used to provide male students with instructions in the skills of engraving and printing.
Isaiah Thomas Broadside Ballads Project
With over 800 images and 300 mini-essays, this site offers a unique and comprehensive view of the broadsides that Isaiah Thomas (1749-1831) collected in early nineteenth-century Boston. Each broadside includes a brief explanation of its content by Kate Van Winkle Keller.
McLoughlin Bros. Catalogues, Price Lists, and Order Forms Inventory
The catalogs, prices lists, and order forms from the McLoughlin Bros. Collection are available as pdf files. Digital copies have been made since each item is extremely fragile.
Painted Portraits, Miniatures and Sculpted Portrait Busts Inventory
Images of all of the painted and sculptural portraits are indexed by sitters and artists (and subject). There is a page of thumbnail images for easy browsing and access and a separate listing and index of Worcester city residents.
Paul Revere Collection Inventory
While Paul Revere (1735-1818) is most famously known for his legendary midnight ride as well as his three-dimensional wares, his prints and works on paper remain some of the most iconic images of the late eighteenth-century. This online inventory celebrates the extensive Revere collection of the American Antiquarian Society (AAS), including items within eight boxes in the Graphic Arts collection

Photographs of Native Americans Collection Inventory
The collection of photographs of Native Americans contains 223 photographs housed in two boxes. It includes the work of notable photographers including William Henry Jackson (1843-1942), Jack Hillers (1843-1925), and Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904).

Photographs of 17th and 18th Century Structures in Massachusetts Collection Inventory
From 1887 to 1945, Harriette Merrifield Forbes (1856-1951) photographed seventeenth and eighteenth century structures throughout central and eastern Massachusetts. Her images, preserved as 853 negatives (mostly glass plate negatives), have been digitized and cataloged as part of a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.
Photographs of the New England Fair by B.T. Hill Collection: An Illustrated Inventory
The American Antiquarian Society contains a collection of glass plate negatives taken by Benjamin Thomas Hill (1863-1927), at the Worcester County Agricultural Society's fairgrounds in the early decades of the twentieth century.
Photographs of Tuskegee Institute: An Illustrated Inventory
The American Antiquarian Society has a collection of fifty-six photographs depicting life in and around Tuskegee Institute, in Tuskegee, Alabama, ca. 1890-1915, taken by an unknown photographer. The campus, now known as Tuskegee University, is depicted here during the tenure of the school’s first president Booker T. Washington.
Silhouettes: An Illustrated Inventory
The American Antiquarian Society collection of portraits contains 209 silhouettes. Silhouettes are profile portraits made of paper that became popular in the mid-eighteenth century in Europe. Generally the profile of the sitter is cut out of white paper and the resulting shape is then mounted on glossy black paper or black fabric. These portraits became very popular in the United States during the early nineteenth century.
Tintypes Collection Inventory
The American Antiquarian Society's photograph collection includes over two hundred tintypes. Tintypes, also known as ferrotypes or melainotypes, were produced from the mid-1850s until as late as the mid-1930s.

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