Several thousand original prints, drawings, watercolors, and printed book illustrations relating to early American history, primarily from the period leading to the American Revolution through the early years of the nation.
The images in this digital presentation offer an extensive array of visual documentation-in portraits, scenes, and views-of the people, places, and events that shaped the new American nation. They represent a holding of 10,240 visual items that is part of even larger collection of some 30,000 items assembled by the New York physician Thomas Addis Emmet (1828-1919), and donated to the Library in 1896 by trustee John Stewart Kennedy. Emmet developed a passionate interest in American history after a boyhood visit to Philadelphia, when he first saw the original Declaration of Independence, and went on to collect, for some fifty years, drawings, engravings, maps, and manuscripts relating to the American Revolution and the early history of the United States.
Like other 19th-century collectors, Emmet presented his pictorial Americana as "extra-illustrations," binding them, in his case, into classic American history texts to illustrate relevant passages and to enrich the texts visually and intellectually. In the same way, he also assembled images and manuscripts to document the published proceedings of the Albany Congress and the Continental Congress.
Other portions of the Emmet Collection not offered in this digital presentation are manuscripts, in the Manuscripts and Archives Division, and maps, in the Map Division.
Emmet, Thomas Addis. Incidents of My Life; Professional--Literary--Social, with Services in the Cause of Ireland. (1911)
Goffe, James Riddle. "In memoriam, Thomas Addis Emmet ... 1828-1919." Transac. of the Amer. Gynecological Soc. v.44 (1919)
NYPL. Calendar of the Emmet Collection of Manuscripts etc. Relating to American History (1900)