IN PURSUIT OF A VISION: TWO CENTURIES OF COLLECTING AT THE AMERICAN ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY.

  • Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 2012.
  • 7.5 x 10.5 inches
  • hardcover
  • 222 pages
  • ISBN 9781929545681 / Order Nr. 110055
  • Price: $55.00  other currencies
IN PURSUIT OF A VISION: TWO CENTURIES OF COLLECTING AT THE AMERICAN ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY.

This generously illustrated catalogue accompanied a fall 2012 exhibition at the Grolier Club in New York celebrating the American Antiquarian Society's bicentennial year. In Pursuit of a Vision: Two Centuries of Collecting at the American Antiquarian Society chronicles the ways in which important books, pamphlets, newspapers, graphic art, manuscripts, and other materials have come to AAS. The exhibition and catalogue focus on the librarians, collectors, book dealers, and donors who helped build the Society's extraordinary holdings.

The American Antiquarian Society was founded in 1812 in Worchester, Massachusetts, by the patriot, printer, and publisher Isaiah Thomas. AAS is a principal research center for the study of the nation's history and culture and holds one of the world's foremost collections of books, newspapers, and broadsides printed in early America. Thomas's personal library forms the nucleus of the collection, which today numbers four million items, including nearly 750,000 books, over two million newspapers, and substantial holdings of periodicals, graphic arts, and manuscripts.

It would be difficult to truly represent the full breadth and depth of AAS collections in a single exhibition, so a different approach was taken here. In Pursuit of a Vision introduces nearly thirty of the many individual scholars, philanthropic collectors, librarians, members, and book dealers who have, over the past two hundred years, helped to build this independent institution into a national treasure. As aficionados of the history of print and collectors well know, each addition to a collection comes with its own story. This exhibition and generously illustrated catalog chronicle the individual stories of almost two hundred objects, with eighteen essays addressing major aspects of the Society's collecting history: laying the foundation, late nineteenth-century benefactors, collecting in the twentieth century, bibliographic initiatives, collection development, and responsible stewardship. As the American Antiquarian Society begins its third century as a leading research library and a learned society, the institution's success remains a collective achievement shared by many individuals, both past and present, whose commitment and generosity have made it a reality.