I was very skeptical about having to wake up earlier than usual to go on a field trip that would also make it so I had to miss my next class, but honestly, it was awesome! There were so many different things there that I never thought they’d have. Honestly, who would suspect a place that collects old newspapers and letters to have a lock of George Washington’s hair or a vial of tea from the Boston Tea Party? This field trip really proved to me that I’m a history nerd which is good since it’s way too late for me to change my major.
One of the items I looked at in AAS was a letter written by John Hancock. The part of the letter I liked the most was how he signed the letter. Not only was there the famous “John Hancock”, but he also signed it “your real friend.” To be honest I found this hilarious because John Hancock ain’t no fake friend but also I found it to be very personal. In my blog post about the Coquette, I talked about how letters were much more personal and showed intimacy. It was amazing to see how true this is because even though the Coquette was a reliable source from the time it was also a work of fiction. To see the intimacy of letters in person was amazing.
Another item I looked at was a newspaper from the time of the Stamp Act. This newspaper was especially interesting because it had a skull and crossbones for the stamp instead of the issued one. To me it made me think of how rebellious the colonists were, they were pretty much rebellious teenagers. When they hated the tax on their tea they threw it in the harbor, and when they taxed paper, they made the stamp look like the British were killing them. It was a not so subtle way to be subtle about rebelling against the act. The reason I liked it so much was because we had talked about it in class and it is one of those things that you know about but you don’t really believe until you see it.
The last item I analyzed at AAS was a first edition of Common Sense by Thomas Paine. The first thing I noticed was the long S’s we have been talking about in class. However, after laughing at a couple of “common senfe’s”, I noticed at the bottom of a page there was a letter “B”. At first, I was thinking that was supposed to be a “P” for Paine but after an explanation, I learned it had to do with how the book was put together. The “B” was how they were able to tell which order to put the pages in. It really showed how the bookbinding has progressed over the years and it has proved how expensive paper was that they wanted to preserve it as much as they could. Now a days we waste paper like it’s nobody’s business.
The whole trip really showed me how important print was in the colonial times. It was amazing to see not only the finished product but also the machine that created these works. The printing press itself was amazing to see because it was so complex. There were so many steps one had to take to print one page of paper. I was honestly so surprised to find that someone could print a lot of pages within an hour because I think it would take me an hour to get the letters to stay on the tablet-thing( I forgot the name of it). All in all, the field trip really brought everything we had been talking about, to life.