- Worcester, Massachusetts: American Antiquarian Society, 2012.
- 6.75 x 10 inches
- hardcover, dust jacket
- 454 pages
- ISBN: 9781929545650
Price: $60.00 other currencies
Order Nr. 117114
Revised Edition. Founded in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, the patriot printer and leading publisher of the new nation, the American Antiquarian Society reflects his vision for the printed record of America's history-its preservation and its interpretation. Over two centuries, beginning with Thomas's gift of his own extensive library of books and newspapers, this learned society has become widely recognized as a national treasure. The collections are an indispensable resource for everyone interested in studying the United States to 1876. Scholars, artists, and writers benefit from the library collections and its fellowship programs to conduct research resulting in books and other works that frequently earn national awards. The Society also offers lectures, seminars and conferences, programs for teachers, and a rich website for diverse audiences.
This volume traces the development of the library and the role the Society's librarians have played as collectors, scholars of American writing and publishing, and stewards of the nation's history. Readers will meet Isaiah Thomas and his successors at the Society's helm: Christopher Columbus Baldwin, Samuel Foster Haven, Edmund Mills Barton, Clarence Brigham, Clifford K. Shipton, Marcus A. McCorison, and Ellen S. Dunlap. Each has moved the Society forward by deftly matching the institution's needs with local and national developments. The Society celebrates its bicentennial as a leading independent research library, a pioneer in the digitization of its collections, and a center of scholarship for the study of American history and culture.
The American Antiquarian Society-pride and joy of its founder Isaiah Thomas-holds the DNA of our shared national patrimony. On the occasion of its bicentennial, this uniquely American library has published a copiously illustrated history that is at once scholarly in purpose, rich in probing insight, and brimming with narrative detail. While keenly alert to the evolution of the Society, Philip F. Gura's guiding approach has been more finely focused on its intellectual development as a cultural repository of extraordinary consequence, with careful attention given to the people who have shaped and nurtured it into the twenty-first century. The founding spirit of this remarkable institution-a bookman for the ages "touched early by the gentlest of infirmities, bibliomania"-would be mightily pleased, I am certain, with this magisterial tribute to his enduring legacy.
-Nicholas A. Basbanes, author of A World of Letters: Yale University Press, 1908-2008 and A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books.
Philip F. Gura, William S. Newman Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture since 2000, has taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 1987. Widely recognized for his scholarship, Gura, who first visited the American Antiquarian Society as a reader in 1971, considers his election to membership in 1988 one of his highest honors. He is the author of many books, including American Transcendentalism: A History (2007), finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award (nonfiction) and Truth's Ragged Edge: The Rise of the American Novel (forthcoming in 2013).