The American Antiquarian Society’s drawings collection consists of over 550 drawings in graphite, pen, ink and wash, chalk, watercolor and charcoal ranging in size from items used as bookmarks to large landscapes intended for display in the home; there are also over a dozen sketchbooks. The collection ranges from the late 1700s to the early twentieth century, with the bulk dating from the mid-nineteenth century. For the most part, the works in this collection are by amateurs, not professional artists, and they are representative of similar collections stashed away in local historical societies and other libraries. We hope that this presentation will enable scholars and teachers to integrate such popular imagery into their research and teaching. Jaclyn Penny created this inventory as part of the collection access initiative of the Center for Historic American Visual Culture. Other collection inventories will follow.

This site offers several ways of using the collection and inventory:

Drawings Home

Browse by Box

These pages include a thumbnail image, detailed description, and dimensions for each drawing. Date and acquisition information is included when it is available. Click "Enlarge" to view a research-size reference image of each drawing.
Browse by Subject

The following seven categories have been identified in the drawings collection: landscape, portrait, still life, decorative, genre, marine, city views & buildings.
Artist/Sitter Index

This page lists all known artists and sitters represented in the collection. Links to the descriptions and images of the drawings are provided.




Prep for Print/
Print as Source

This page identifies: 1) drawings created as preliminary work for publication and 2) drawings where a print was used as a source for student drawings. Each section is divided into works where publication information is known and unknown. If AAS holds a print version of the item, a link to the online catalog record is supplied.
Other Drawings at AAS

This page lists the locations of drawn works contained within other AAS collections.
Keyword Search

Download a pdf of the Drawings Collection inventory and search it for specific keywords.


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