Collecting Dissent: Museum Collections on the History of Protest from the Revolutionary Era to the Present
The largest collection of prints and works on paper by Paul Revere is held at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. Several of these prints helped fuel the American Revolution with their imagery of dissent. Much of the Revere collection was assembled in the early twentieth century by AAS librarian and president Clarence S. Brigham (1877-1963), whose Paul Revere’s Engravings (1954; 1969) remains the most significant book on the subject.
Nan Wolverton, Director of Fellowships and Director of the Center for Historic American Visual Culture will look at the early collecting practices of Isaiah Thomas, patriot printer and friend of Revere, whose personal library of books, pamphlets, and newspapers became the foundation of the American Antiquarian Society’s archive when Thomas established it in 1812. Thomas’ efforts to collect a complete printed record of the past included cheap broadsides, many of which focus on Revolutionary Era dissent and will be considered alongside Revere’s works on paper.