Blog Posts tagged "americana"



Horatio Alger, Jr.

By Rich Rennicks

In his day, Horatio Alger, Jr. (1832-1899) was one of the most-famous authors in America. While his books have largely fallen out of print today, everyone is familiar with his main idea, because Horatio Alger, Jr. popularized the “pulling oneself up by the bootstraps” ideal that permeates so much of American life. It's not too much of a stretch to say that Alger gave America its great national... [more]

Since 1975 the William Reese Company has served a large international clientele of collectors and private and public institutions in the acquisition of rare books and manuscripts and in collection development. With a catalogue inventory of over forty thousand items and a general inventory of over sixty-five thousand items, we are among the leading specialists in the fields of Americana and world t... [more]

In 1868 America you had to pay your bills in America just like you do now. If you were the tidy type, you might have this collapsible pocket bill organizer on your desk. This unusual survival —an expandable pocket bill organizer— was manufactured from gilt-stamped and lettered black cloth (closely matching book cloth seen on publisher's trade bindings for the period) and stiff cardstock. Comme... [more]

On September 25, 1789, as the momentous first Federal Congress drew to its close in New York, the new national capital, Representative Elias Boudinot introduced a resolution calling on President Washington to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer . . . acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by afford... [more]

It is circa 1788. An American lawyer, Archippus Seele (1765–1789) of Easton, Massachusetts, is apparently in a grumpy mood. The reasons could be many. Some in the community accused Archie's father, a sawyer, of employing the imps of Satan to keep things running. That could make you unhappy. If Archippus had been a precog perhaps he had a freak when he intuited his mother would become a distant a... [more]

The American Antiquarian Society was recently awarded the National Humanities Medal. We caught up with the Society's director, Ellen S. Dunlap, to hear all about it. Founded in 1812, the Society houses American books, broadsides, newspapers, graphics, and ephemera from first contact through 1876, and more selectively in manuscript collections. The award was given “for safeguarding the American s... [more]

Printed American broadsides of the 18th and 19th centuries—what we might think of today as “posters”—were an important public means of spreading news and information within a community. A broadside might print a political manifesto, a religious sermon, a military declaration, news of a great battle, or a Presidential proclamation. A broadside might advertise a newly arrived shipment of goo... [more]

This past April, the biggest news to hit the antiquarian book trade in roughly 400 years became public: my colleagues Dan Wechsler and George Koppelman, booksellers in New York City, unveiled a copy of a sixteenth century dictionary which could, quite plausibly, have once belonged to William Shakespeare — complete with annotations possibly in the bard's hand and many tantalizing, if ultimately c... [more]

Last May I posted about the construction of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, a research library that will act as a repository for Mount Vernon's vast collection of books, manuscripts, and archival materials and will include a wing that replicates Washington's own library. Mount Vernon has been raising funds for the construction and maintenance of the library, ... [more]

Last April, ground was broken in Mount Vernon and construction of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington commenced. The library will be a repository for Mount Vernon's vast collection of books, manuscripts, and archival materials, and will be open to students, scholars, and other special groups. It is slated to open in September of 2013. Perhaps the most interesting ... [more]

The Charleston Library Society, the oldest library in the South, has been conducting a muti-year search and cataloguing project to record the multitude of volumes it contains in its vault. (The library has been moved a number of times over the years and collections have been integrated, thus necessitating the project.) Recently the search unearthed a rare, 270-year-old book on political parties, H... [more]

Today, Swann Galleries in New York will be offering an original manuscript from the Salem witch trials as part of the Eric C. Caren Collection auction, entitled 'How History Unfolds on Paper'. The manuscript is the court indictment of Margaret Scott, a widow in her 70s who was accused and found guilty of "certaine detestable arts called witchcraft and sorcery." Scott was one of the last eight resi... [more]


1790 Census Up For Auction

By Janine Moodhe

A rare copy of the United State's first census will be offered in Bonhams Rare Books and Fine Manuscripts Auction on October 4th. The census was conducted under the direction of Thomas Jefferson, who at the time was serving as Secretary of State under Washington, and was therefore also the nominal director of the census (a title held by the Secretary of State for the first five censuses). This par... [more]

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