PICS Organization Name
American Antiquarian Society
Claire Jones '18
History matters. This has been forcibly demonstrated in recent political discussions, many of which are tied to African Americans experiences. At the American Antiquarian Society you can be a part of the collecting, preserving, and making available all of our American stories.
The American Antiquarian Society is an independent historical research library focused on early American history, literature, and culture. AAS is located in Worcester, MA, approximately 45 miles west of Boston. The Society is world-renowned for its preeminent collection of the earliest printing from what became the United States. Since our founding in 1812, the AAS’s mission has been to collect, preserve, and make available for study one copy of every item printed in what is now the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean from European contact to 1876. Thus far we have collected and house on-site four million items, and include manuscripts, newspapers and periodicals, printed books and pamphlets, and graphic arts materials.
AAS’s plan with this internship is to take a smart, curious college student and set them free on the early African American and Caribbean material within AAS collections. The student intern will gain subject expertise, will assist in building the Society's collections, and will help innovate creative ways to promote the type of research that can be done at the Society. Improving access and knowledge regarding these critical materials not only has importance for historical scholarship, but also for everyday people. Our understanding of history informs opinions, attitudes and policies to the present day. With this internship, you can make your contribution to history.
A student interested in a possible career in libraries, museums, history, and/or academia will gain valuable professional experience with demonstrable results by the end of the summer. Under the direct supervision of the curator of books, the intern will assist in the research and acquisition of new items for the collection. He or she will help improve the descriptions of African American and Caribbean resources already held at AAS, using information found in published bibliographies and catalog records. Much of the work will be done at the computer, but the intern will also have plenty of opportunity to use the actual historical books and pamphlets and even to conduct original research. An off-site field trip or two (paid, during work hours) will be planned to build relationships with other comparable institutions.
Takeaways from the internship may include, depending on the intern's interests:
- a seminar presentation to staff and fellows,
- an online exhibition,
- posts on the Society’s blog, or
- highlights on the AAS Instagram feed. (It’s really worth checking out, if we do say so ourselves: https://instagram.com/americanantiquarian/.)
The AAS African American Resources Intern will be part of a lively intellectual community of scholars, curators, and librarians, as well as a cohort of other summer college interns in various departments at the Society. Brief conservation training of all the summer staff is conducted together with the other interns and opportunities for socializing outside of work hours abound in Worcester and nearby Boston.
An interest in history, especially early African American and/or Caribbean history is a required. Strong research and writing skills are also essential.
Additional important qualifications include a strong attention to detail, a commitment to accuracy, and dependability.
Coursework or other knowledge related to African American history or the Caribbean is highly desirable.
Expected Start Time
Expected End Time
Meets Certificate Requirement
Worcester is home to 9 colleges and universities, some of which provide summer housing for outside students.
Best work experience - tracking down obscure authors and printers using ancestry records and book-history reference works.
—Claire Jones '18