“We still know too little about the ways in which commerce and consumption remained politically meaningful for citizens in the wake of the Revolution. Despite excellent scholarship on the debates between politicians and political economists in this era, the ways in which these policies and ideas took root among the broader population is still something of a mystery. Using the incredible array of ephemera, now digitally available through Readex’s database of American imprints, some of the ways in which American consumers navigated the political challenges of getting and spending in the early republic are finally becoming more clear.”
— Joanna Cohen, School of History at Queen Mary, University of London
“Students and scholars can search and browse more than 2,300 Civil War envelopes in American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series 1, published by Readex in cooperation with the American Antiquarian Society. This unique collection provides a rich resource of information about this crucial era, shedding light on military battles and life, attitudes towards slavery and the South in general, politics and hero-worship and life at home. Civil War envelopes offer invaluable information about both the material culture and the intellectual attitudes of and towards the Civil War, which cannot be duplicated by any other medium.”
— S.J. Wolfe, Senior Cataloguer and Serials Specialist, American Antiquarian Society
“... the clipper ship cards now available in American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series 1 ... rare and colorful pieces of ephemera ... offer fresh opportunities to explore diverse aspects of American history and culture. ... The American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series 1 digital archive contains 129 different genre-based repositories, one of which is Advertising Cards. Entries for nearly four thousand trade cards reside therein.”
— Bruce D. Roberts, author of Clipper Ship Sailing Cards (2007) and Mechanical Bank Trade Cards (2008)
“Print culture, particularly ephemera, has much to teach scholars of 19th century gender, race, nation and empire. Researchers interested in these topics will find that Readex’s collection includes hundreds of Clipper Ship Sailing Cards displaying a dynamic variety of images and messages. This catalogued collection represents an ideal source of ephemera just waiting to be explored. These cards tell a story of maritime transport, the conquering of the oceans, and the expansion of the West, as well as the importance of racial, class and gender divisions in national citizenship discourses. Within the scramble to settle California, the cards themselves participate in a commercial and imperial expansionism that implicates them in transcontinental empire-building of the 1850s. Their illustrations were vital to the ship companies who built their riches on the dreams of men who took to the sea dreaming of land, women, authority, and multiple visions of imperial manhood.”
— Jeffrey Gagnon, Ph.D. candidate in Early American Literature, University of California, San Diego
“Broadsides and ephemera offer a view of daily life in historical America that cannot be recreated through other textual sources. Providing greater access to these kinds of materials can only broaden and enhance our understanding of the past.
“I use broadsides in my class presentations whenever possible. They are visual, easy to get a quick sense of, and have an immediate impact on students. As research interests move more towards interdisciplinary subjects, visual culture, and popular culture, broadsides and ephemera are increasingly important.”
—J. Andrew Armacost, Collection Development Librarian at the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University
“American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series 1 invites researchers into the rich and rewarding archive of print materials among the American Antiquarian Society’s outstanding collections. Web-based archives like the Readex Archive of Americana have revolutionized visual, material and textual inquiry in recent years. Full-text indexing allows creative searching and browsing and makes broadsides, calendars, charts, city directories, trade catalogs, print illustrations of many sorts, photographs and children's literatures, for example, accessible in facsimile from a distance. I have found this wonderful resource immensely useful in my own work as a historian of American visual and material culture.”
— Sally M. Promey, Professor of American Art History, University of Maryland
“Like previous electronic offerings from Readex, American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series 1 provides an outstanding resource for scholars and students alike. This unique resource greatly enhances undergraduate and graduate curricula by providing new perspectives on the material and print cultures of early America. The formatting and search methods make sense to Net-savvy students who might otherwise have difficulty navigating traditional microform indexing and access. What I find most extraordinary about a resource like Readex’s American Broadsides and Ephemera is how it raises the bar for the questions students ask about literature. The unexpected discoveries students make in this newly accessible archive provoke deep critical engagement with the central texts of all my early American courses. You couldn’t ask for a better lure into the early periods of literature, history and culture.”
— Meredith Neuman, Assistant Professor of English, Clark University
“American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series 1, is absolutely amazing and should be consulted in depth by anyone working on early American culture. The intuitive interface—featuring improved search, display and print capabilities—enables researchers quickly and efficiently to explore this valuable new resource.
“Holding an abundance of scarce and often surprising printed materials, American Broadsides and Ephemera is a must for every library serving students of 19th-century American history and culture. Now, no study in these areas will be complete without a search of this immensely rich collection. As a complement to the Archive of Americana’s Early American Imprints and Early American Newspapers, this new collection is hugely important in presenting a balanced view of early American life.
“American Broadsides and Ephemera contains the scraps and pieces of society—programs, announcements, promotional pieces, schedules, trade cards—anything that was printed to get immediate attention and then be thrown away. Because they are not necessarily polished products of elite writers, broadsides and pieces of ephemera reveal society as it really was. Extraordinary and wondrous phenomena are described in local terms. Quack promoters prey on naive beliefs and superstitions. Slang phrases and expressions spill out from hack writers whose output would never reach print in a sophisticated setting. Dramatic illustrations and headlines vie for the attention of the wondering multitude. Researchers can observe changes in commercial approaches over time as different typefaces, headlines, illustrations, poetry and songs are used in new ways. And because the materials in this collection are all scanned in color, the reader can see handwritten notations, hand-colored engravings and early color prints.
“With full-text indexing, document images can be quickly retrieved by topic, location and even by a single word. Imaginative and thorough cataloguing by the American Antiquarian Society lets students and scholars select from many hundred categories as well as search for specific items directly. This kind of research was unthinkable only a few years ago. Now it is a reality and indeed a requirement for valid American historical scholarship in many fields.”
— Kate Van Winkle Keller, Independent Scholar
“Readex’s American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series 1 is an outstanding resource for the study of early American print and visual culture. I have used the collection extensively in my dissertation research and have found the interface easy to use and the subject and genre indexes invaluable in locating relevant materials. This Web-based collection is an excellent way to make the rich holdings of the American Antiquarian Society accessible to a broader community of researchers.”
— Bill Wagner, Doctoral Candidate, University of California, Berkeley
“American Broadsides and Ephemera, Readex’s Web-based edition of nearly 30,000 items held by the American Antiquarian Society, is crucial to my research in art history. Instead of sifting through material unrelated to my project—as one often has to do when doing archival work—I was able to search the collection digitally, call up the image and get a clear sense of whether or not the object was what I was looking for before taking a closer look. For students and more advanced scholars producing work that is interdisciplinary in nature, access to such a broad range of visual and material culture is invaluable.”
— Jennifer Greenhill, Doctoral Candidate, Yale University
“American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series 1 was a valuable resource for my research on the history of probability and statistics. In this very easy-to-use online collection, I found various first-person accounts about statistics in the 18th century. American Broadsides and Ephemera will be helpful to anyone researching not only the history of science, but any historical topic.”
— Brian Duncan, Student, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
“This fully catalogued collection brilliantly reveals the social, cultural and daily life of late 18th-century and 19th-century America. … Broadsides and ephemera serve to illuminate the American past in profound and unique ways.”
— Georgia B. Barnhill, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts, American Antiquarian Society
“Broadsides are the most vivid exhibitions of the manners, arts and daily life of communities and nations. They imply a vast deal more than they literally express, and disclose visions of interior conditions of society such as cannot be found in formal narratives.”
— Samuel F. Haven, Librarian, American Antiquarian Society (circa 1872)
“American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series 1 is spectacular. The zoom capacity makes it quite easy to read even small and sometimes unclear print; I looked at both German- and English-language examples, and there’s no question that students could find their way around these materials for research projects without much difficulty. A valuable complement to Early American Imprints, American Broadsides and Ephemera offers researchers working on 18th- and 19th-century North America many items of great interest in several disciplines. This new resource is really one of a kind for looking beyond the printed book or newspaper.”
— A.G. Roeber, Professor of Early Modern History and Religious Studies, Pennsylvania State University