Material and Visual Culture Studies

Pockets: An Intimate History of How We Keep Things Close
American Portrait Prints

The American Antiquarian Society contains a vast collection of American portrait prints. A reference collection of over 5,000 portraits of Americans has been gathered as the Society's American Portrait Prints (APP) Collection. Arranged alphabetically by name, this collection is maintained in the Graphic Arts Department and contains images removed from newspapers, periodicals, books, letterheads, and ephemera. The Society actively collects American portrait prints dating from the late seventeenth century to the late nineteenth century.

Common Bond: Stories of a World Awash in Paper

In this lecture based on his latest book On Paper: The Everything of its Two-Thousand Year History, Nicholas Basbanes provides an eclectic and far ranging cultural history of the ubiquitous material that is the basis for printed materials, armed conflicts, packaging, sanitary supplies and so much more.

Gems of Art on Paper: American Literary Illustration

In this program, Georgia Barnhill, an expert on the visual culture of this period, will discuss her new book, Gems of Art on Paper: Illustrated American Fiction and Poetry, 1785–1885, which explains some of the costs and risks that book publishers faced as they brought about the transition from a sparse visual culture at the end of the eighteenth century to a rich one a century later.


A collection of poems written by members of the Lloyd Debating Society, a club made up of students attending the Boston Latin School, including future Senator Charles Sumner (1811-1874). Topics include poverty, intemperance, perseverance, and ancient history.

Essays and Sketches

Includes a story about African Americans and a discussion of contemporary amateur journalists. By eighteen-year-old Troy, New York, and Richmond, Virginia, amateur John Winslow Snyder (1855-1910); he became a lawyer and taught at the Kansas City (Missouri) School of Law.

This text reflects period prejudices and intolerance.

Pockets: An Intimate History of How We Keep Things Close

It’s a question that stirs up plenty of passion: Why do men’s clothes have so many pockets and women’s so few? Based on her new book, Pockets: An Intimate History of How We Keep Things Close, Hannah Carlson, shows us how we tuck gender politics, security, sexuality, and privilege inside our pockets.

From Sacred to Secular: Visual Images in Early American Publications
Humbug! The Politics of Art Criticism in New York City's Penny Press
Paper Promises: Early American Photography