American Antiquarian Society – Digitized Collections

The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) library houses a large collection of printed materials from first contact through 1876 in what is now the United States of America, the West Indies, and parts of Canada. A section of this website is devoted to the library’s collections that have been digitized and made available online. While most of them deal with American sources, two of them focus on European sources:

  • Charles Peirce Collection of Social and Political Caricatures and Ballads.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, satirical prints were presented in various ways for a growing consumer audience. One of these ways was to bound them together into a volume and to lend them out for a fee. This collection contains the digitized social and political caricatures that were bound in the book that was assembled by Charles Peirce, a bookseller from New Hampshire, and that was available to be lent out in 1807. The collection also contains the corresponding newspaper advertisements that describe the book. The collection consists of 65 British and American satirical prints published between 1796 and 1807.

They are shown in the original order in which they appeard in the Charles Peirce album. In addition, there is a searchable pdf containing an inventory of the entire collection. For each image title of print, year, publisher/artist information, sheet size, and a brief description are shown. Images are available as thumbnail and as 150 dpi scans, while higher quality reproductions may be ordered.

  • European Political Prints.

This collection contains over 200 graphic arts items dating from 1720 to 1843. They are of British, French, German, and Dutch origin. Whereas a significant portion of the collection is of a humorous nature, there are also historical scenes, social satires, allegorical representations, and portraits. More than half of the items relate directly to America, and a large number of the remaining prints highlight dealings with the West Indies, Canada, trade in the Atlantic, and international relationships between European rivals. Some of the pieces were issued as separately published prints, while others were extracted from illustrated periodicals.

The collection is ordered chronologically. For each print a 2-3 sentence description is supplied, as well as sheet size, title of print or first line of text, known publisher information, and year. Images are available as thumbnail and as 150 dpi scans, while higher quality reproductions may be ordered.

Last update

Thursday, 12 June 2014 - 5:30pm
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