As part of an ongoing effort to provide access to Houghton’s rich broadside collections, a three-month cataloging project was completed last fall. Funded by the Ruth Miller Memorial Philanthropic Fund, which has provided long-time support of Houghton’s effort to reduce its number of “hidden collections,” cataloger Hyo Lee processed an eclectic group of about 500 mostly nineteenth-century American broadsides. Many were the gift of George Lyman Kittredge (1860-1941), the distinguished folklorist and Harvard professor of English. The broadsides were printed mostly in the northeast, but include a number of California imprints. The group includes ballads, popular songs, and poetry on diverse topics, including crime and murder, shipwrecks, fires, patriotism, and politics. Many of the broadsides document local history through announcements or programs of public gatherings. Among these, a significant portion pertain to New England local church history, but concerts, readings, popular entertainments, and local festivals are also covered. Among the many advertisements are a number issued by New England resorts, some including menus. Other broadsides document the Civil War era, including the War itself and the national debate over slavery and abolition.
1.Paolilli, Antonio. L’America nun fa’ pe’ me! Providence: A. Paolilli’s Music Co., c1921. American Broadsides 771.
2. Grand thanksgiving fete and festival, given by the officers of the garrison of Fort Pulaski, GA, November 27th, 1862. Programme. [Georgia?: s.n., 1862]. American Broadsies 888.
3. Baptist Meeting House (North Attleboro, Mass.). Rules for renting pews in the Baptist Meeting House, North Attleborough. [North Attleboro, Mass. :s.n.,1855]. American Broadsides 867
4. Mount Holyoke. Worcester, Mass.: Edward R. Fiske & Son, printers, [ca. 1870?]. American Broadsides 1145.
5. Queen, Jas.(James),1824-approximately 1877. Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon and Hospital, Philadelphia … [receipt for donation]. Philadelphia: T. Sinclair’s Lith.,[ca. 1860?]. American Broadsides 1150.
6. Rocky Point (Hotel : Providence, R.I.). Rocky Point Hotel, J.C. Parks, proprietor, bill of fare, dinner. August 28th 1869… Providence, R.I.: Providence Press Co.,1869. American Broadsides 1155.
7. Astonishing to all! And no charge if not satisfied! : Madame Morrow is, without exception, the most wonderful astrolgist [i.e. astrologist] in the world, or that has ever been known… New York: Isaac J. Oliver, steam printer, 32 Beekman-St., [1857?]. American Broadsides 1162.
8. Fourth week of the celebrated Bohemian Troupe! of glass blowers! Boston :J.H. & F.F. Farwell, printers, U.S. Mammoth Job Office, 5 Lindall Street,[between 1855 and 1877]. American Broadsides 1171.
In addition to the broadsides shown here, a selection of Civil War-era broadsides cataloged as a part of this project will be on display in Houghton Library’s Chaucer Case (located on the ground floor) during the month of February.
Thanks to rare book cataloger Elaine Shiner for contributing this post.