Thursday, September 13, 2012

American Antiquarian Society databases

In yesterday's New York Times, Edward Rothstein contributed an interesting review of a new exhibit at the Grolier Club highlighting the bicentennial of the American Antiquarian Society. As noted in the article, many of the Society's collections have been digitized and Stanford has acquired access to these rich databases, listed below. They offer rich insight into American history, literature, and culture from the Colonial period through Reconstruction.

Early American Imprints, Series I, Evans (1639-1800)
Early American Imprints, Series II, Shaw-Shoemaker (1801-1819)

America's historical newspapers: featuring Early American newspapers, 1690-1922

American Broadsides and Ephemera

American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodicals Collection (1691-1877)

The AAS has also published The American Antiquarian Society, 1812-2012: A Bicentennial History by Philip F. Gura, as well as a supplementary website; as the site notes, "the Society digitized and made available in high-resolution the images and descriptions from the text. Not merely a list of illustrations, this site provides links to inventories and catalog records while also establishing additional contexts for viewing these important items."

The image of the Charleston Mercury accompanying this post is taken from the AAS website, which provides a detailed account of its provenance:

"Considered to be the first Confederate imprint, this broadside announced to the public the declaration, on December 20, 1860, that South Carolina would secede from the United States. This sheet was removed from a wall in Charleston by the popular Boston-born author Caroline Howard Gilman (1794-1888), who had moved permanently to Charleston following her marriage to the Rev. Samuel Gilman. Gilman mailed the broadside to her daughter Eliza in Salem, Massachusetts. Eliza in turn presented the document to American Antiquarian Society (AAS) member Nathaniel Paine who, heeding the Society’s call to preserve all printed material relating to the unsettling national events, passed the broadside along to AAS."

Stanford users can also access the broadside via the American Broadsides and Ephemera database.