Broadsides on Exhibition at the Providence Athenaeum

Broadsides on Exhibition at the Providence Athenaeum

This online exhibition highlights images from broadsides exhibited from September 15-October 15, 2012 at the Providence Athenaeum as part of the Rhode Island Center for the Book's Art of the Book program.

Broadsides capture big history in a seemingly small way. As an ephemeral form of printing, they are the product of their moment, usually not meant to last very long, and that makes them a powerful record of everyday life. Rhode Islanders have been printing and posting broadsides for hundreds of years, and this Athenaeum exhibition of items from the collections of the Providence Public Library offers examples from the 1700s through the twentieth century. 

Some of the most dramatic and important broadsides appear during wartime, and many are included in the exhibition, but also on display are examples of the peacetime proclamations, advertisements and other forms of broadside publications that made up the backdrop of daily life.

Rhode Island printing of the Declaration of Independence

"Verses made on the sudden death of six young women and one boy..."

World War I poster

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