New Course: AMST 838/438: America Collects Itself
This course will trace the conscious collecting (by both individuals and institutions) of books and documents from the 17th century to the present day relating to "America," as that term was variously defined over time. Americans (that is, transplanted Europeans) began collecting books, documents, and manuscripts relating to the history of America as early as the 1680s. The Massachusetts Historical Society, the first institution created specifically to collect and preserve American history, was founded in 1791, during George Washington’s presidency. Collecting American history is alive and well in America. In a recent (2012) antiquarian bookseller’s catalog, we have seen for sale a 1777 love letter by Benedict Arnold for $15,000 and a British edition of Thomas Jefferson’s first book (A Summary View of the Rights of British America, 1774) for $60,000!