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From the Cataloger’s Desk: Pictorial History of the American Revolution

March 9, 2018

I cataloged this book at the end of 2017, and I find it interesting for multiple reasons. Firstly, I enjoy the subject matter. Anything pertaining to the founding fathers and birth of our country brings out the history nerd in me. With more than 400 pages, several hundred engravings, the Constitution of the United States, and a foldout facsimile of the Declaration of Independence, it covers just about everything!

The provenance of this book and its condition are two additional factors that make it stand out from the crowd. Many of the books in our collection have bookplates with the names of people or institutions to whom they previously belonged. Sometimes, there are signatures or inscriptions handwritten on the preliminary leaves, which can offer even more details. In this case, the bookplate tells us it belonged to the Fortville-Vernon Township Public Library before it came to our collection. Thanks to the inscription, we also know it was given as a Christmas gift in 1846. This is the same year of the book’s publication, so it’s safe to assume the recipient was the very first owner.



In terms of condition, this book has definitely seen better days. The spine is visibly damaged, and there is noticeable foxing present. In other words, the pages are discolored with lots of brownish-yellow spots. What fascinates me most, though, is the presence of what appears to be a wormhole. This blemish has an almost perfect shape. Fortunately for us, the bookworm didn’t eat its way too far into the book, and the text is unaffected.

Noticeable Foxing


Lastly, the cover of this book, showing the seals of the 13 colonies and the illustrations inside are incredibly beautiful. Important people, places and events from the American Revolution are depicted throughout. I can’t do them justice in this blog, so I encourage you to come to the library and see the book for yourself!

The catalog record for this item can be found here.

Lindsay Borman is the cataloger of Printed Collections at the Indiana Historical Society. Her claim to fame: She can name all of the U.S. presidents ... in order!

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