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March 18th, 2013 • Posted in Massachusetts

Adopt-a-Book April 5, Worcester, Mass.

On Friday, April 5, 2013, the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) will hold its sixth annual Adopt-A-Book event at which  members of the general public get to “adopt” selected historic items from the AAS collections.  The events goes from 6 – 8 p.m. in Antiquarian Hall, 185 Salisbury Street in Worcester, Mass.

Admission is $10 – drinks and hors d’oeuvres are included. For more information and to make reservations, contact Ann-Cathrine Rapp at (508) 471-2135, or consult the Society’s web site at


At the event you’ll view rare books, pamphlets, newspapers, prints and other gems that have  found a home at AAS.  You can then adopt one or more in your own name, a friend’s name or in memory of a special person. An AAS curator will use the money to buy something equally interesting in the coming year. Sample items include: issues of historic newspapers priced from $10-75; a broadside at $35; a children’s book for $40; a popular novel at $75; a volume of poetry for $100; and a lithograph or engraving from $100-500.

All donations are tax deductible and will be permanently recorded on a special bookplate and in the AAS online library catalog.  During the event, Society curators will also describe their collections and explain what they buy and why.

The AAS library aims to collect one copy of everything printed in America through the nation’s centennial in 1876. The annual Adopt-A-Book event is a way the public can help AAS fulfill its mission while learning more about historic printed materials and the inner workings of a major American research library.  People can also adopt online at:


The country’s first national historical organization, the American Antiquarian Society is both a learned society and a major independent research library. The AAS library today houses the largest and most accessible collection of books, pamphlets, broadsides, newspapers, periodicals, sheet music, and graphic arts material printed through 1876 in what is now the United States, as well as manuscripts and a substantial collection of secondary works, bibliographies, and other reference works related to all aspects of American history and culture before the twentieth century.

The Society sponsors a broad range of programs–visiting research fellowships, research, education, publications, lectures, and concerts–for constituencies ranging from school children and their teachers through undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, creative and performing artists and writers, and the general public.

The AAS library is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. and Wednesday from 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. It is closed on all legal holidays. The library is open to serious researchers, free of charge. Complimentary public tours are held Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m.

December 24th, 2012 • Posted in Massachusetts

Their monument sticks like a fishbone in the city’s throat.

Robert Gould Shaw Memorial on Boston Common,  a bronze bas-relief funerary monument by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (located at 24 Beacon Street) - and part of Robert Lowell’s response:

Their monument sticks like a fishbone
in the city’s throat.
Its Colonel is as lean
as a compass-needle

He has an angry wrenlike vigilance,
a greyhound’s gentle tautness;
he seems to wince at pleasure,
and suffocate for privacy.

He is out of bounds now. He rejoices in man’s lovely,
peculiar power to choose life and die-
when he leads his black soldiers to death,
he cannot bend his back.

Robert Lowell (1917–1977), from For the Union Dead in Selected Poems (Rev. ed. 1993) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Carved on back of the monument, are these words by Charles W. Norton:

“The White Officers taking life and honor in their hands cast in their lot with men of a despised race unproven in war and risked death as inciters of servile insurrection if taken prisoners besides encountering all the common perils of camp march and battle. The Black rank and file volunteered when disaster clouded the Union Cause. Served without pay for eighteen months till given that of white troops. Faced threatened enslavement if captured. Were brave in action. Patient under heavy and dangerous labors. And cheerful amid hardships and privations. Together they gave to the Nation and the World undying proof that Americans of African descent possess the pride, courage and devotion of the patriot soldier. One hundred and eighty thousand such Americans enlisted under the Union Flag in MDCCCLXIII-MDCCCLXV.

November 12th, 2012 • Posted in Massachusetts, Springfield

One Day Literary Itinerary for Pioneer Valley in Massachussets

Emily Dickinson Museum

The Pioneer Valley is located in and around Springfield, Massachusetts. Here’s one possible literary itinerary you might want to follow next time you’re in the area:

From poetry to picture book art and everywhere in between you’ll find some wonderful homes, galleries and museums dedicated to the likes of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, and Dr. Seuss to name just a few

One Day Itinerary:

William Cullen Bryant Homestead – This National Historic Landmark was the estate of America’s famed 19th century poet. Guided tours explore two centuries of family life and architectural changes.The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art – Celebrating the art of the picture book including works by Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar) and other picture book illustrators. Galleries, art studio, performances, and reading library.National Yiddish Book Center – World’s only museum devoted exclusively to modern Yiddish culture and literature. Performances, films, lectures, concerts, exhibits, galleries, English-language bookstore, and Yiddish book collection.

Emily Dickinson Museum – The Museum consists of two historic houses closely associated with the poet Emily Dickinson and members of her family during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Homestead was the birthplace and home of the poet Emily Dickinson. The Evergreens, next door, was home to her brother’s family. The Museum is dedicated to educating diverse audiences about Emily Dickinson’s life, family, creative work, times, and enduring relevance.

Springfield Museums at the Quadrangle and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden • Visit one of the four museums on the grounds or spend time with Dr. Seuss’ beloved life-size bronze characters set outdoors. Visit the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, the Grinch and his dog Max, Sam-I-Am, Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, the Lorax and Yertle the Turtle!

Mark Twain House • Visit the 19-room Victorian mansion where Mark Twain lived, wrote and raised a family during the happiest and most productive years of his life.