February 20 – September 27, 2020

Riot, Sedition, Insurrection: Media and the Road to the American Revolution

In the years preceding the American Revolution, printing presses in the thirteen colonies churned out a wave of seditious literature. A swirl of pamphlets, posters, newspapers, and other print media, not often grounded in fact, fomented a climate of rebellion against the British crown.

This exhibition will bring visitors through the pamphlets that memorialized and politicized key events in the early years of Revolution, from the Stamp Act to the Boston Massacre to the Battle of Bunker Hill. By looking at the same works that circulated in the streets, coffeehouses, and homes of Revolutionary-era Americans, we can experience the media environment that shifted public opinion from loyalty to rebellion.

Many of Pequot Library’s treasures of early Americana will be on view, including several items from our collection on long-term deposit at The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University and our 1776 edition of Thomas Paine’s incendiary essay Common Sense.

Explore the Gallery Guide of materials on display in the Perkin Gallery.

Learn more about the exhibition and related programs.

Enjoy George Miles’ (Curator, Western Americana at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale Universtiy) gallery talk from the exhibition opening.

View the Educator Guide for this Exhibition

Upcoming Exhibitions

Pequot Library’s exhibitions feature a variety of theme-based curated selections from our Special Collections of rare books, manuscripts, and archives. Some displays include contemporary books and artwork that highlight and complement each subject’s relevance to modern life and culture. Pequot Library is unique thanks to its Special Collections of over 30,000 rare books, manuscripts, and archives, which offer a vibrant portrait of the culture and history of the United States, nature, science, literature, and the arts.

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