Shapiro Center News

News about the Shapiro Center and The Huntington’s American history collections.

May 2024 - Upcoming Huntington Conference - Futurity as Praxis: Learning from Octavia E. Butler
This two-day conference (May 23-24) explores Octavia E. Butler, how we have learned from her writing, and what her archive at The Huntington can help future generations discover.

Apr. 2024 - Library Collectors' Council Acquisitions for 2024
The Huntington has acquired six extraordinary collections through the generosity of the Library Collectors' Council, a group of supporters who help fund the purchase of new items to add to the Library's holdings.

Jan. 2024 - The Abraham Lincoln collection is now available in the Huntington Digital Library
The Huntington’s Abraham Lincoln collection includes items dating from 1813 to 1911, and contains correspondence, presidential and military documents, and legal records, as well as items relating to Lincoln’s assassination and legacy. The collection is now available in the Huntington Digital Library as part of the American Presidential and Founders Papers collection.

July 4, 2023 - The Most Memorable Independence Day in American History
July 4, 1863, was a turning point in the Civil War and in the history of the United States.

Apr. 2023 – Announcing New Huntington Digital Library Collection: American Presidential and Founders Papers
The Huntington Library holds significant manuscript material – letters, notes, documents, maps, etc. – related to America’s presidential Founders George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. There are also significant materials from later presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Theodore Roosevelt. The American Presidential and Founders Papers digital collection launches with nearly 600 George Washington items and will grow over the coming years.

Apr. 2023 – The George Washington Collection is Now Available in the Huntington Digital Library
The Huntington Library’s George Washington collection—which includes correspondence, surveys, military records, memoranda, accounts, receipts, and ephemera dating from 1749 to 1806—is now available in the Huntington Digital Library as part of their newly-launched American Presidential and Founders Papers collection.

Feb. 13, 2023 – The Huntington Names Winner of 2023 Shapiro Book Prize
The biennial award of $10,000 for outstanding first monograph in American history and culture goes to R. Isabela Morales for Happy Dreams of Liberty: An American Family in Slavery and Freedom.

Dec. 2022 – Finalists Announced for The Huntington’s 2023 Shapiro Book Prize
Six finalists have been named to the shortlist for The Huntington’s Shapiro Book Prize, awarded biennially for an outstanding first scholarly monograph in American political, social, intellectual, or cultural history.

Nov. 16, 2022 A Founding Document
The Speech of Ackowanothio from September 1758 reflects the perilous situation of Native Americans in the Colonial era.

Aug. 30, 2022 – Beyond All Earthly Power
Abraham Lincoln’s 1861 letter to Ephraim and Phoebe Ellsworth regarding the death of their son, Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth of the 11th Regiment of New York Infantry, is known as the first condolence letter of the Civil War.

Feb. 17, 2022 – To Influence the Minds of the People
A Presidents’ Day reflection on George Washington's legacy and his role in ratifying the U.S. Constitution.

June 23, 2021 – Extraordinary Expenses
A mundane expense report from the U.S. Marshal for Massachusetts sheds new light on the history of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.

Feb. 10, 2021 – “The Paths of Honour, Truth and Virtue”
Just like all parents, John Adams wanted his son, John Quincy Adams, to succeed in life. But, even more urgently, he wished him to grow into an honorable gentleman as his letter of April 8, 1777, expresses.

Feb. 3, 2021 – The Rise of the Latino Vote: A History
On the occasion of winning The Huntington’s inaugural Shapiro Book Prize for The Rise of the Latino Vote: A History, Professor Benjamin Francis-Fallon discusses how Latina/o leaders in the United States first came to see themselves as belonging to one political community, exploring their attempts to bond and to pass legislation, and analyzing how both major political parties attempted to co-opt this emerging constituency and reshape it in their own image.

Jan. 14, 2021 – The Huntington Names Winner of Inaugural Shapiro Book Prize
The biennial award of $10,000 for outstanding first monograph in American history and culture goes to Benjamin Francis-Fallon for The Rise of the Latino Vote: A History.

Jan. 13, 2021 – Cataloging in the Time of COVID
Melissa Haley, American Presidential Papers Project Archivist; Olga Tsapina, Norris Foundation Curator of American Historical Manuscripts; Anne Blecksmith, head of Reader Services; and Jackie Beckey, Reader Services librarian, give a behind-the-scenes look at how the Library’s American collections have been accessed by researchers over time, and how these materials and the Shapiro Collection are being made more accessible through the art of archival processing—a crucial element of collections care and stewardship.

Oct. 17, 2020 – The Past in the Present: America’s Founding and Us
Professor Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize–winning author and one of the nation’s premier authorities on the Founding Era, discusses how Americans today deal with problematic historical figures such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, in the inaugural lecture for the Shapiro Center for American History and Culture at The Huntington.

June 17, 2020 – “Release the Vessel & Cargo”
A seemingly pedestrian letter written by Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin to Newport, Rhode Island, customs collector William Ellery in 1809 bears witness to the painful and tortuous history of slavery in the United States.

Feb. 6, 2020 – Huntington Acquires Archive Documenting a Notorious Colonial Plot to Defraud Native Americans of Ancestral Land in Pennsylvania
A collection of affidavits, depositions, sworn testimonies, maps, and letters documents a 1757 investigation into the so-called Walking Purchase of 1737 that defrauded the Lenni Lenape (known to Europeans as Delawares) out of more than a million acres.

Nov. 13, 2019 – Huntington Acquires Two Major Collections of Slavery and Abolition Materials
The papers of Zachariah Taylor Shugart include a rare account book with names of men and women who passed through his Michigan farm, which was a stop of the Underground Railroad. The Dickinson & Shrewsbury saltworks archive sheds light on a West Virginia industry that was not plantation-based but still relied heavily on slave labor.