By Christopher B. Daly
For those who want to understand America’s history through the legacy of printed materials, there is a terrific new exhibit at the Grolier Club, a leading institution for bibliophiles (who knew?), located at 47 E60th St. in Manhattan. According to the NYTimes, the exhibit shows the importance of collecting historical materials while history is being made, rather than waiting and hoping to find them later.
The exhibit, titled “In Pursuit of a Vision,” features some of the gems from the estimable American Antiquarian Society.
The AAS (which is not as stuffy as its name might imply) is located in Worcester, Mass., and it serves as the greatest repository of original newspapers, magazines and ephemera from early America through the 19th century. It was founded by Isaiah Thomas, a Revolutionary War-era printer/editor who put out a paper called The Massachusetts Spy. When he thought the Redcoats might be about to shut him down, he fled from Boston to Worcester, and he brought with him his own collection of newspapers, which formed the core of the AAS collection.