The American Antiquities Society has created a wonderful online exhibit, A Place of Reading. It demonstrates the interesting result, and also the the difficulty, of the sub-field of the history of reading within book history. It also illustrates the strong value placed on reading and literacy in American history, such as in this 1764 engraving by Isaiah Thomas illustrating a mother’s "religious and social responsibility in teaching her children to read."
Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)