10 Intriguing Facts about Worcester’s American Antiquarian Society
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Despite its numerous and understandable regulations, the AAS works hard to make its priceless historic teachings accessible to the public. The AAS holds complimentary tours of the museum every Wednesday at 3pm and gives free public lectures. The Society also sponsors teacher training workshops and seminars and collaborates on education programs for K-12.
If you’re considering a visit, Go Local Worcester retrieved some of the most interesting facts about the American Antiquarian Society:
1. The Society’s mission is to collect, preserve and make available for study the printed record of America from the time of first European contact through the year 1876.
2. The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) holds the largest collection of American printed materials created before 1821 in the world.
3. The Society’s collection encompasses material from all fifty states, parts of Canada and the West Indies.
4. All of this material is housed in the Society’s main library building, Antiquarian Hall, at the corner of Park Avenue and Salisbury Street.
5. The Collection includes over four million items housed on 25 miles of shelving.
6. In addition to rare books, the Society also collects graphic arts materials, periodicals and newspapers, pamphlets and manuscripts. Everything from great works of literature to yesteryear’s junk mail is in this remarkable archive.
7. The Society was founded by Isaiah Thomas in 1812. At the time, we were at war with the British (War of 1812) and the Society was established in Worcester to keep the collection safe from British warships which were then harassing coastal ports.
8. The Society itself is composed of 984 individuals elected to membership. Famous current members include: Ken Burns, David McCullough, Nathaniel Philbrick, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jill Lepore, Gordon Wood, and Henry Louis Gates to name just a few.
9. Collectively, AAS members have won 78 Pulitzer Prizes.
10. While the Society is actively digitalizing its collections and making them available to scholars around the world, we always save the original items.
For more information you can log onto www.americanantiquarian.org.