Topics include: early printed books; printing materials and processes; bookbinding; typography and book design; authorship, publishing, reading, and the book trade; the book in America and American books; graphic arts and book illustration; the c19 mechanization of the printing trades; c20 fine printing. Intended for those with no prior coursework or extensive reading in the field.
The instructors welcome students from a broad range of academic disciplines, collectors, dealers, and librarians.I. How useful were the pre-course readings?
1: Definitely, and persevered heroically under unexpected circumstances. I don't know what wellsprings of grace or enthusiasm she draws from, but they are deep and wonderful. 2: Very much so. She had a valuable facility to know how much detail was appropriate for a survey course such as this, yet was able to deal with many questions in depth when asked. 3: Amazingly well prepared. Information was endlessly supplied. AS is a natural-born teacher, with a mastery of her field and an untiring ability to articulate it in a way that is easy to comprehend. She answers questions in widely varying areas with ease and certainty. (She very easily handles teaching the course alone.) 4: Yes in spades! 5: AS was very well prepared, even though Peter VanWingen was unable to attend. I cannot believe that she could continue her high level of enthusiasm the whole week. I was impressed! 6: Absolutely!!! She was superb!!! 7: Yes, but the course could have been better coordinated with the lecturers. 8: Excellently. 9: Yes, AS was a first-class, top-notch instructor. I appreciated her knowledge and ability to transmit this to the class. 10: Yes. I was immensely impressed by her ability to stick to the schedule (and be flexible when necessary) and get all the material (a first in my experience of academic courses) covered. 11: AS is a master teacher. She is extraordinarily well prepared to teach this course. She combines lectures, slide and video presentations, Special Collections demonstrations, and self-tests very effectively. 12-13: Yes. 14: No question about this. She had full and confident command of the subject. 15: Extremely so. 16: Yes, definitely. She adapted well to unexpected and unavoidable changes in the course structure. 17: Yes, very much! 18: Yes, very.III.How useful were the guest lecturers?
1: Very good idea to hear various views; but coordination of content and delivery is needed, but under the circumstances.... Greer Allen was most informative, Daniel Traister less so. 2: GA's appearances were energetic and informative, intent on clarifying key points of technical knowledge. Nicolas Barker was a delight. However, DT's appearance on Thursday was basically irrelevant to the purpose of the course and left a bad taste at the end of an otherwise fine day. He consumed limited and valuable class time in a crammed survey course. That time could have been devoted to serious and structured treatment of another content area. His winking diatribe on scholars with whom he disagreed and the relativistic cultural polemic he propounded shed heat but little light, divulging more a mannered academic persona than a compelling scholarly perspective. He added absolutely no value to the course and was not what I had in mind when I decided to commit time and money to come to Virginia. Every other instructor I encountered met my highest expectations. 3: GA was excellent in his technological explanations. NB's talk was informative. DT provoked interesting debate. 4: DT put me to sleep (after lunch is not a good time). GA talks too fast in his enthusiasm, but no one dozes in his presentation. NB lulled me with his voice, delivery. 5: NB and GA added a lot to the course. 6: They complemented our instructor exceedingly well. 7: GA added material. DT was interesting but not completely relevant. NB covered material already covered. Would have liked better coordination. 8: Very helpful, especially in view of the absence of our second instructor. 9: NB was excellent. DT spoke 1 1/2 hours and said very little! GA also very good -- quite knowledgeable. 10: They added to the course. 11: The guest lecturers at times repeated material we had already covered in class. Better to have a team teacher than guest lecturers, but unavoidable under the circumstances. 12: The guest lecturers were very helpful in filling in the gaps of expertise of our instructor. 13: Extremely. 14: GA was delightful. NB was systematic. DT was thought provoking. 15: Less useful, but it is good to hear different perspectives and I'm sure that our instructor also needed a change of pace (although she never showed signs of tiring!). We all appreciated GA's enthusiasm. 16: They provided a good variety and differing points of view. 17: Most were very interesting and useful. 18: They were okay, except that DT spoke a long time without saying much. NB was excellent.IV.Was the intellectual level of the course content appropriate?
1: Yes -- though more opportunity for structured or directed discussion among ourselves on a limited basis would be valuable. So many interesting people participate, it would be good to learn from them. 2: AS did a good job of balancing the different levels of preparation various students brought to the course; however, future classes need true team teaching with at least two instructors who might pursue various subjects in more detail with smaller groups of students. The letterpress laboratory with GA did this, but similar treatments might have been given to binding and illustration by separate instructors. Perhaps a choice of workshops could have been made by students in the course according to their different interests and preparation. 3: Yes. It was both comprehensive and inspiring. 4: Superb: challenging, but not threatening. 5: Very appropriate. 6: Since I am a novice in the history of the book, yes! I would suggest that the guest speakers try to avoid repeating what has already been covered. At times there was too much review. 7-10: Yes. 11: Yes, very appropriate. 12-13: Yes. 14: Yes, in that it was designed as an overview for those without much experience.15: Yes. In particular, I appreciated the variety of perspective represented by the participants. 16: Yes -- though I would have preferred more detail on some subjects. 17: Yes. It was very challenging and stimulating. 18: Yes.V.If your course had field trips, were they effective?
1: Definitely. These topics can not be discussed in a vacuum of slides and photocopies. Do need to see, touch, and compare originals. I especially valued working with the RBS lab books -- more of this. 2: Absolutely yes. 3: For this course, the trips to Special Collections were especially suitable, invaluable, and enjoyable. 4: Excellent presentations in Special Collections. Reminded me of John Tedeschi at the Newberry 20 years ago, letting my students handle a First Folio, etc. 5: The three field trips to Special Collections were well worth the time! It was wonderful visiting the collection and seeing the real thing we had been shown on the screen. 6: Absolutely! The use of Special Collections was of particular significance. Actual materials always outweigh the use of slides. 7: Visiting Special Collections and handling books was a highlight for me. Printing was useful to see the skills involved. 8: Yes, very well. 9: Yes, very much so. Nice to see such items in the flesh and have AS elaborate on them. 10: Trips to Special Collections were useful, but I would suggest that more time be scheduled for such trips so that everyone could see the books (and all the books be seen). 11: Very well spent. This was a very important part of the course. 12: Yes -- it was helpful to see first hand examples of the items we were discussing in class. 13: Yes. 14: We made three visits to Special Collections. There is no substitute for seeing the real thing. 15: Yes -- the visits to Special Collections were the high points of the week, the raison d'ątre of this course. 16: Yes. Examples in Special Collections were excellent. 17: Yes. It helped a great deal to actually see the books. We had discussed various techniques in printing, etc., so time with these works helped us to apply what we just learned! 18: Yes.VI.Did the actual course content correspond to its RBS brochure description and Expanded Course Description? Did the course in general meet your expectations?
1: Not exactly -- my description said 1500-1800: I got extra value for having pre-1492 and post-1800 history included. 3: Yes. The course met and exceeded my expectations. 4: Yes in spades! This was worth every penny and two full days, six airplanes, to be part of. Thank you! 5: The course appeared to have several titles prior to our arrival, but it still met my expectations. I feel very satisfied with the content and quality of the information I got and will be able to use it in my work. 6: Yes. 7: Yes and yes. I expected to learn a little about the care of books. 8: In general, it did. I was not surprised or disappointed. 9: Yes, I was well satisfied. 10: The course exceeded my expectations. 11: Yes, the course content corresponded to the brochure description and yes, the course met all my expectations (and then some). 12: The course description was a bit vague, but it did meet my expectations. 13: Yes and yes. 14: Yes, the course was as advertised. Because of AS's relentless commitment to quality, it even exceeded my expectations. 15: Yes, this course met and in fact surpassed my expectations in terms of content (depth and breadth) and quality of instruction. I feel that the RBS brochure description communicates very well the nature of the course. 16: Yes. It gave me a good overview of printing history and related issues; rein-forced what I knew already and exposed me to a lot that I didn't already know. 17: Yes. 18: It pretty much met my expectations and it was helpful. I would have preferred, however, taking one time period at a time and exploring it in depth, before moving on to another. In other words, I would have liked a bit more historical context and approach to the subject. In each time period, the major printers could be discussed, examples shown, context given, etc.VII.What did you like best about the course?
1: 1) The instructor -- four apples!!! 2) The lab book
sessions (books and prints). 3) Visits to Special Collections. 4)
Expert visitors lecturing. 5) Expert
aficionados participating. 2: The trips to Special
Collections and other hands-on work with books. 3: The
atmosphere, set by the instructor's good nature and the interest
fellow students. Also, finally having an overview of a subject
has long interested me, in a course that was never before
available. This one was well worth waiting for. 4:
Thoroughness. Breadth, scope. Instructor. Samples. Exercises.
Well-chosen slides. Three field trips to Special Collections.
The hands-on experience touching the books, especially the
to describe a book. AS also -- she is a great instructor.
The course was well organized and logically presented. It covered
a great deal, but avoided the feeling of being a superficial
survey. 7: Examination of books in Special Collections.
Meeting other people interested in books and book collecting.
8: AS made it because of her teaching style, willingness
engage in discussion and dialog to the right degree, etc. This
in sharp contrast to the poor teaching style of DT, whose method
presentation got in the way of his message, with which I
think I agree, though I could not be sure. 9: AS's
knowledge and ability to convey this to the class via lectures,
slides, show-and-tell, etc. 10: The presentation of the
world of rare books. The instructor made a point of touching on
aspects -- history, technology, etc. 11: I liked the
Special Collections and actually seeing the books very much, but
also liked AS's lectures. They were excellent. 12: I
the instructor's enthusiasm. It generated a good deal of interest
and excitement about the subject. 13: Lectures tied to
actual objects. 14: AS's disciplined, organized approach
that did not sacrifice spontaneity. 15: Special
viewing. Hands-on exercises with book pages, illustrations, and
books. The instructor. 16: AS was terrific. She's very
knowledgeable and speaks well. Course content was very good.
17: Again, working with the books. The trips to Alderman's
Special Collections and seeing the collection. 18: Slides
and book specimens.
VIII.How could the course have been improved?
1: 1) Provide magnifier loupes to each participant in the lab setting or ask us to bring one. 2) Provide a list of films and videos available on the topics. 3) More video sessions like the one on Sunday night. 2: See 4, above. Additionally, this course might best be offered in two segments, one for the letterpress era and one for the period following. 3: Can't think of any improvement to what is already so well done. 4: It needs six or 10 days. I'm grateful for the concision, but I just panted as we raced through each session. 5: It would have been better to have been able to divide the class when viewing the books in Special Collections, since the group was so large. Maybe having a second instructor would have helped this situation. 6: The course should be limited to, say, a maximum of 12 students. We had a class of 21, which made using Special Collections cumbersome. 7: More coordination between speakers. 8: Probably would have been better with the second instructor -- we had a very large class -- but AS handled it excellently. 9: I think much was presented in such a short time. I see no real way for improvement, given the time available. 10: Perhaps less time on the manuscript tradition; I can't say much as I don't have much to compare this course to. I was very impressed with everything, from the administrative matters of RBS to the course. 11: Can't think of any way. 12: Fewer slides could be shown, with more hands-on viewing of materials. 13: Fewer jaunts back and forth. 14: This is a fine course for taking at the beginning of one's RBS career. 15: I have no improvements to suggest, other than perhaps having two sections (different weeks?) of this course to permit smaller class size. 16: I would have liked to go into many subjects in more depth. I would have been willing, for example, to do additional reading during the week. 17: Perhaps more lab work. 18: See 6, above. Maybe, too much is trying to be squeezed into the course. Perhaps learning to recognize different types of illustrations should really not be a part of this course and the course focus more on the history of the book.
1: Bravissima! More than I hoped for. All that I expected! Will always remember and value friends, associations, BOOKS! 2: Any survey course has limitations, but this was essential and worthwhile. 4: Take it. Go to bed early. Enjoy your classmates. Be prepared for cloudbursts. Leave the preparatory reading texts at home. Bring hangers and laundry soap. Get an ATT calling card. The Jefferson Bank closes at 3pm, not 3:30 if you need to cash Traveller's Checks. 5: It's an important course and I would highly recommend it. Read as much as possible ahead of time. 6: Read as much of the suggested reading as you can. 9: I highly recommend it as a place to understand the book and its development through time in Western civilization. A basic starting point! 10: Read the reading list -- I would have been lost without some background. 11: Do the reading ahead of time. 13: Excellent course as a basis for other RBS courses -- take it first! (Offer it in the first week???) But also, because of the huge amount of material, consider two courses: one covering 1450-1800, and one from 1800 to the present. 15: I would certainly recommend this course with great enthusiasm. A lot of ground is covered, but concrete, material examples guide you through the wealth of information. Actually, AS does the guiding. She is a marvelous instructor with a mind- boggling command of this field and material and an admirable capacity to keep a course like this on track, interesting, lively, and fun. 16: This course is a very good way to get an over-all sense of the major developments in the history of Western printing. 17: People should definitely do the required reading before coming here. It helps to have a general background before arriving. 18: AS did an excellent job teaching, was lively and entertaining. There was no sign that she had recently taken on the whole responsibility for the course.
Number of respondents: 18 Percentages Leave Tuition Housing Travel Institution Institution Institution Institution gave me leave paid tuition paid housing paid travel 72% 64% 45% 39% I took vaca- I paid tui- I paid for my I paid my own tion time tion myself own housing travel 0% 36% 33% 39% N/A: self- N/A: Self- N/A: stayed N/A: lived employed, re- employed, with friends nearby tired, or had retired, or or lived at summers off exchange home 28% 0% 22% 22%
Three students (15%) were general librarians with unspecified rare book duties; two students (10%) were rare book librarians; two (10%) were rare book librarians and archivist/manuscripts librarians, and one student (6% each) was an antiquarian bookseller, an archivist, a collector, a conservator/binder/preservation librarian, a library paraprofessional, a museum employee, a teacher/professor, a teacher/professor and archivist/manuscripts librarian, a teacher/professor and general librarian with unspecified rare book duties, was semi-retired, or retired.