americana

Other Ideas

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This seemingly insignificant, slim volume is the catalog for a groundbreaking exhibition curated by Sam Wagstaff at the Detroit Institute of Arts. A renowned curator and collector, Wagstaff is best known as the benefactor of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and poet-musician Patti Smith.

American Entomology

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Thomas Say (1787-1834) was a self-taught naturalist who has come to be considered the Father of American Entomology.  In 1812 he became one of the founding/charter members of the Academy of Natural Sciences at Philadelphia and actually lived at the Academy and tended its small museum for several years.  He also began publishing this book – part 1 came out in 1817 – but his participation in several scientific expeditions delayed its completion until later in the 1820s.  In this and other works he described and named over 1400 species of insects (especially beetles).

The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table

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This collection of Yankee essays by beloved American author Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. was originally published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1857, a magazine that Holmes named.  Eventually published in book form, this second edition copy is about as American as apple pie with a side of New England cheddar.  Published in Boston in 1859, it still boasts its original, austere, American publishers' cloth binding typical of the mid-19th century.  The essays are "dramedy" vignettes about a fictional Boston boardinghouse and the breakfast conversations among residents therein.