Rare Book School 1995


The expanded course descriptions (ECD) set forth below are intended to supplement -- but not to replace or substitute for -- the course descriptions in the Rare Book School (RBS) brochure. For further information about any aspect of RBS, write 114 Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903; fax 804/924-8824; email; telephone 804/924-8851.

Electronic copies of this and other RBS documents are on file at our World Wide Web site: /1995/

At the end of each ECD is a list of the previous years during which the course was offered at RBS and the names of the instructors. Prospective students for RBS courses are invited to consult the widely-distributed annual RBS Yearbooks, in which students' exhaustive evaluations of all RBS courses offered since 1989 have been published in their entirety. RBS was not held in 1992. Copies of the 1990, 1993, and 1994 RBS Yearbooks are in print and available postpaid for $10 (1990 and 1993) or $15 (1994); copies of the 1989 and 1991 Yearbooks are out of print.

All courses announced in the RBS brochure and ECD will in fact be held. There is no minimum number of students necessary for a course to run; RBS does not cancel courses.

Week One: Monday 10 July - Friday 14 July

11. The Company of Stationers to 1637. For about a century from the 1550s, both the manufacture and the wholesale distribution of printed books in England were largely consigned to a single city and governed by a single trade organization -- a situation without real parallel in any other country. This course will explore the origins, nature, and development of that organization: its premises, membership, and customs; its regulations and record-keeping; and its relations with the authorities of city, church, and state.

In their personal statement, applicants are encouraged to mention any topics or areas of special interest. The ability to read English secretary hand, while not a requirement, would be useful. Peter Blayney: new course

12. Collecting Travel Literature. Designed for librarians with collection-building and -management responsibilities, the course will explore the beginnings of travel literature as an aspect of Western literary tradition and its development involving both fantasy and factual travel narratives, as Western experience reaches all parts of the earth. The course views travel literature as descriptive of the cultures of both the observed and the observer. The impact of technology on travel in various times and places will be a continuing theme, as will the changing style of reporting as literacy increases and cultural expectations change. The place of travel literature in traditional academic disciplines will be emphasized. Other topics to be discussed: collecting maps and other illustrative matter; building appropriate bibliographical and reference collections; sources for acquisitions; the uses of travel collections in exhibits and other publicity programs. The course's time-frame will stretch from antiquity to the present. John Parker: 93-94

13. Publishers' Bookbindings, 1830-1910. The purpose of this course is to develop skills in recognizing and understanding the technical and stylistic components of c19 American book covers. As the microforming and digital imaging of brittle books proceeds in research libraries, it becomes increasingly important to appreciate the book and its cover as they were initially manufactured. Each day, significant bookcloths and endpapers are discarded, because their role in book history is not understood.

The course will provide laboratory sessions in distinguishing between graining, stamping and embossing on leather, paper and cloth-covered bindings. The differences between American and English covers will be explored. The BAP collection of clothbound books, intensively built up over the last several years and chronologically arranged, will be drawn on to illustrate the evolution of cover design and its relation to Victorian decorative art and architecture. Special emphasis will be given to identifying ``signed'' bindings -- the periods in which they occur and how to look for them. Sue Allen: 84-85 91-94

14. Printing Design and Publication This course is directed toward library and museum staff responsible for the appearance of printed materials ranging from simple case labels to elaborately illustrated catalogs.

The course will begin by examining expectations: what constitutes a document of library or museum grade? what fails? The developing doctrine of typographic organization and design calls forth an evaluation of materials, tools, and processes. What types are suitable? what papers? How can costs and schedules be controlled? How can institutional identity and authority be achieved? What software packages can be used to produce good work on equipment commonly found in institutions? A considerable part of the course will consist of an evaluation of examples of museum and library printing supplied by students, the instructor, and the BAP collections.

In their personal statement, applicants should describe their present design/production responsibilities (or opportunities), and state topics that they would particularly like to see covered in the course. Greer Allen: 94

15. Collecting the History of Anglo-American Law The objective of this course is to acquaint collectors and librarians with the tools and techniques needed to form focused collections of historical materials in Anglo-American law. The instructors will pay particular attention to planning collections in light of intended use and availability of materials and funds.

The course will include lectures on the role of legal materials in the development of the common law, and on the terminology, physical make-up, and determinants of rarity of legal books and manuscripts. A substantial part of the course will be devoted to the bibliography of the field: a discussion of the history of the production and distribution of law books, a thorough introduction and evaluation of the principal bibliographies and reference books, and demonstrations of how to use these tools. Laboratory sessions will give students hands-on experience in using some of the basic bibliographical tools and antiquarian book price guides.

After a survey of the history and present state of the collection of rare legal materials by individuals and institutions, the course will conclude with a discussion of strategies and techniques in collection development, emphasizing sources of acquisitions (used and antiquarian booksellers, book fairs, auctions, gifts).

Students are expected to have at least some general knowledge of the history of Anglo-American law. In their personal statement, applicants should describe briefly their knowledge of legal history and bibliography, and their (or their institution's) collecting interests. Morris L. Cohen and David Warrington: 89-90 93

16. Introduction to Electronic Texts This course will provide a wide-ranging and practical exploration of electronic texts and related technologies.

The course is aimed primarily (although not exclusively) at librarians planning to develop an etext operation, and at scholars keen to develop, use, and publish electronic texts as part of their own textual, research, and pedagogical work. Drawing on the experience and resources available at UVa's Electronic Text Center, the course will cover the following areas: how to find existing etexts; how to use a scanner to create etexts, including digital image facsimiles; the necessity of Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) for etext development and use; text analysis software; the management and use of on-line text databases; and the creation of World Wide Web hypertexts.

As a focus for our study of etexts, the class will create an electronic version of a print or manuscript text, mark its structure with SGML tagging, create digital images of sample pages and illustrations, produce a hypertext version, and make it all available on the Internet.

Applicants need to have basic Internet literacy (including e- mail). Some experience with the World Wide Web will be an asset. In their personal statement, applicants should assess the extent of their present knowledge of the electronic environment, and outline a project of their own to which they hope to apply the skills learned in this course. David Seaman: 94

Week Two: Monday 17 July - Friday 21 July

21. History of the Printed Book in the West. This course will cover the development of the Western printed book in chronological and thematic sessions via a combination of lectures, workshops, slides, videotapes, and films.

The course is intended for those who have a growing curiosity about the history of books, printing, and the allied arts, and who would like formal classroom exposure to the subject in a well-equipped environment. The instructor emphasizes that this course is aimed at beginners. In their personal statement, applicants should describe the nature of their developing interest in the history of the book and (if relevant) explain briefly the causes of this interest and the purposes to which they propose to put the knowledge gained from the course. Alice Schreyer/Peter VanWingen: 85-94; Martin Antonetti

22. History of European and American Papermaking. Divided equally between lectures and laboratory exercises, this course will examine the historical setting of early papermaking, its aesthetics and technology. Students will experiment with various manufacturing methods practiced in Western paper mills from the incunable period to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, althoughan introductory session will also address Oriental techniques. One session will be devoted to the instruments and procedures for judging paper properties, such as grain direction, permanence, and durability. The lectures will view (1) changes in technology in the light of documentary evidence; (2) the economics and organization of the paper trade (mostly in England, France and America); (3) the relationship between the paper trade and the book trade; and (4) paper as bibliographical evidence. Both the lectures and the laboratory exercises will emphasize the mass production of paper suitable for printing, printmaking, and writing, with some additional consideration given to papers made for paper-cased bindings.

No hands-on experience in printing or papermaking is required, but applicants should have a general acquaintance with the history of books and printing. Timothy Barrett and John Bidwell: 87 89 91

23. Book Illustration to 1890. The purpose of this course is to teach students how to tell the difference between the various relief, intaglio, and planographic printing methods used in book illustration in the period before the domination of photographic processes. The emphasis of the course will be on process rather than on connoisseurship, on execution rather than design, and on the practical rather than the theoretical.

Almost the sole medium of instruction will be actual examples of original and reproductive prints drawn from the substantial BAP collection, many of them divided into suites or (as they are known locally) individual Packets of twelve prints all from the same (or a very similar) source. The twelve students in the class study their own packet of prints under close instruction, using loups and 30X microscopes (provided), as necessary.

During the course, students will make and print a linoleum cut, a zinc etching, and an acrylic drypoint. These are exercises in reproductive -- not creative -- work: no artistic ability of any kind whatsoever is either necessary or expected.

In their personal statement, prospective applicants should describe the extent of their formal and/or informal background in the field. Terry Belanger/Joan Friedman: 83-85 87; TB: 88 90-93 94 [twice]

24. Lithography in the Age of the Hand Press. This course aims to approach the subject from several different directions and to bridge traditional boundaries between printing history, bibliography, the history of printmaking, design history, and ephemera studies.

Sessions will focus on the first half of the c19. They will cover: the invention of lithography; equipment and materials; some early treatises on the process; pictorial prints; lithographed books, music, and ephemera; the spread of the trade in Europe; and the relationship of lithography to color printing generally. Also included will be discussion of: the graphic characteristics of lithography; the development of the process; pictures and letterforms; some leading figures; and questions associated with identifying, describing and studying lithographed items.

Each topic will be introduced by an illustrated lecture or less formal talk. In all sessions, however, the aim is to be as interactive as the situation and size of class permits. There will be plenty of time for discussion and, wherever possible, items from the University Library will be made available to provide an opportunity for an element of connoisseurship.

The course makes no specific requirements of participants, although some understanding of how lithography works and of the history of graphic images and printing processes is desirable. In their personal statement, applicants should give an indication of their background and interest in the field. Michael Twyman: 93-94

25. The American Book in the Industrial Era, 1820-1914. This course is aimed at scholars, catalogers, collectors and others whose interest or research is focused on c19 American books. The emphasis of this course will be on American books, although British practices will also be discussed as appropriate. The course presupposes no detailed knowledge of descriptive bibliography, but will introduce students to bibliographical practice and convention as they apply to books published during this period.

In their personal statement, applicants should summarize their background in the field, and state any topics that they would particularly like the course to cover. Michael Winship: 86 89-94

26. Introduction to Rare Book Librarianship. The course is offered in two sessions. The first session (17-21 July) is directed at librarians who lack formal preparation for work with rare books and special collections but whose duties currently include such duties. The second session (24-28 July) is intended for those who contemplate work at some future date with rare books and special collections or who are interested in the topic, either from a library-specific point of view or from general intellectual curiosity, but who have not necessarily had any professional training in librarianship. Both sessions will include lectures and discussion. Topics include: (1) definition and purpose of rare book collections -- the determinants of rarity and of value; the appropriateness of rare book collections in libraries; developing criteria for identifying rarities in the general collection; the commitment to security and quality of the collection; (2) collection development -- starting from where you are, and ascertaining areas of strength and building to them; relating collections within the library to each other; learning the processes of acquisition (the rare book market and its practices); creating a new field for collecting; building a reference collection to serve the unit; (3) technical processing -- catalogs, calendars, and shelflists; describing individual books and collections; relating the rare book collection to the general collection of the library; elementary repair techniques; conservation and planning for growth; lighting and readers' facilities; (4) relating the rare book collection to its various clienteles and to the public; special interest groups and their needs; the curator in the classroom; preparation of exhibits; use of the media for publicity; Friends of the Library groups; fund-raising activities; publications.

The two sessions will differ in the emphases each lays upon the topics enumerated above. The first session will emphasize both theory and practice. The second session will emphasize theory. Because student interests will play a considerable factor in each, it will be helpful if students, in their personal statement, describe as fully as possible their present position and state what they would like to get out of this course. John Parker / Daniel Traister: 83-91; DT: 93-94

Week Three: Monday 24 July - Friday 28 July

31. History of the Printed Book. See no. 21.

32. Type, Lettering, and Calligraphy, 1450-1830. This course will attempt to bring together coherently a number of points about the history of letterforms during its period, to survey current scholarship in the field, and to point directions for students' future study. The course presupposes a general knowledge of Western history, and some awareness of the continuity of the Latin script, but no special knowledge of typographical history. James Mosley: 84-86 88 90-94

33. Book Production in 16th-Century France. Le cours se propose d'étudier différentes éditions parisiennes et lyonnaises de grands écrivains français du 16e siècle (Rabelais, Marot, Montaigne, Ronsard, par exemple), la manière dont elles ont été imprimées et publiées à leur époque, les rapports éventuels entre auteurs et imprimeurs, et enfin les bibliographies majeures. Une attention particulière sera aussi portée sur l'activité de quelques imprimeurs humanistes et graveurs de caractères comme, par exemple, Antoine Augereau, Simon de Colines ou Claude Garamont à Paris, et François Juste à Lyon. La professeur sera heureuse de connaître les intérêts personnels des assistants.

This course will be conducted in French. Applicants who can follow lectures and discussion in French but prefer to participate in English are welcome. Facility in English is required in order that students may participate in the activities of RBS outside of this course. In their personal statement, applicants should describe their backgrounds, their fluency in spoken and written French, and their particular interests and desires for the course. French speakers should address their ability in English. Jeanne Veyrin-Forrer: new course

34. Introduction to Rare Book Librarianship. See no. 26.

35. Rare Book Libraries: A Perspective for Booksellers. A knowledge of the way in which institutions view special collections of books, manuscripts, and related materials is essential to a practical understanding of how their rare book departments operate. Bookseller/librarian relations are (like all relationships) essentially personal; but they are also relationships between professionals both of whom ought to be comfortable and confident intheir professional roles. The exercise of each role implies mutual expectations and responsibilities that need to be understood fully by both parties.

What should I offer and how should I offer it? the dealer wonders. The answer is complex: the options include visits to institutions, quoting, and sending catalogs. In all cases, the attitude of the librarian toward these methods of merchandising is an important consideration for the bookseller. The rare book librarian's day is not easily typified; still, it can be described after a fashion, and some understanding of what a rare book librarian regards as routine is likely to improve librarian/bookseller relations.

The training of rare book librarians has traditionally consisted of a combination of formal education and on-the-job experience. The training of antiquarian booksellers has traditionally been conducted on a kind of apprentice system. This course is an attempt to provide a bridge between the widely varying training of librarians and booksellers.

This course is restricted to persons currently working in the antiquarian book trade. Prospective students are encouraged (though not required) to enclose a recent catalog (or other sales device) with their applications. In their personal statement, applicants should briefly describe the problems in librarian/dealer relations that they would particularly like to see this course address. Richard Landon: new course

36. Introduction to Book Collecting. This course is intended for serious but isolated book collectors who would like to learn more about the current American rare book scene: about the interlocking professional and social worlds of antiquarian book collecting, the rare book trade, and research librarianship. It is aimed at persons who collect energetically but who currently are not active members of bibliophilic social clubs and who do not participate to any great extent in library friends' organizations. The course will have at least something of a proselytizing bent (the instructors admit to being members of various social and scholarly bibliophilic and bibliographical organizations, as well as a good many library friends' groups; and they are well acquainted with a fair number of book dealers).

Among the questions the course will address: how can I most effectively use the services provided by dealers, auction houses, and other agents? if I decide to catalog my collections, what are my computer software (and other) options, and where can I find someone to advise or help me? what can I do to preserve my books on my own, without professional help? how can I find a responsible book conservator, and how can I assess the adequacy and cost-effectiveness of the work done? what are my best options as regards insuring my collections? to what extent do which of the various scholarly and professional organizations encourage participation by those with an avocational (as opposed to a professional) interest in books? what are the benefits (and also the hidden strings) associated with joining bibliophile and friends' organizations? what (eventually!) should I do with my books? what are the tax implications of giving them away? of selling them? of leaving them to my heirs? how can I efficiently set up my own program for learning more about books and collecting?

In their personal statement, applicants should describe their book collections and their most active current collecting interests, and state what they would particularly like to see the course cover. Wm P. Barlow, Jr / Terry Belanger: new course

Week Four: Monday 31 July - Friday 4 August

41. European Decorative Bookbinding. There are two ways in which to approach the history of European decorative bookbindings: chronologically and thematically. This course combines both, in that it will treat decorative bookbinding in a series of themes and episodes. The themes (the relation between form and use; the influence of the spread of learning and the increase in readership on binding structure and design; styles and designs; patronage and collecting; the economics of the binding trade; preservation vs. access) may cover considerable chronological periods. They will be illustrated by episodes: in-depth treatment of specific manifestations or specific periods (eg c12 Paris; monastic reform; turbulence in the c19). The course will be extensively illustrated with slides, and there will be a field trip to inspect actual examples.

The course is aimed at librarians, antiquarian book dealers, collectors, and conservators with an interest in history. Students should have a basic knowledge of European history and of the history of book production, as well as an understanding of book structures and a familiarity with bibliographical description and bookbinding terms. Please indicate any relevant previous training and/or experience you have had in this field, and state your own area of special interest. Applicants are reminded that this course is open only to those who have already taken Nicholas Pickwoad's RBS course (see no. 42, below); no exceptions can be made to this requirement. Mirjam Foot: 93-94

42. European Bookbinding, 1500-1800. The history of bookbinding is not simply the history of a decorative art, but also that of a craft answering a commercial need. This course will follow European bookbinding from the end of the Middle Ages to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, using the bindings to illustrate the aims and intentions of the binding trade. A large part of the course will be devoted to the identification of both broad and detailed distinctions within the larger groups of plain commercial bindings and the possibilities of identifying the work of different workshops without reference to finishing tools. The identification and significance of the different materials used in bookbinding will be examined, as well as the classification of bookbindings by structural type, and how these types developed through the three centuries covered by the course. The development of binding decoration will be touched on, but will not form a major part of the discussion.

There will be slide lectures each day. Actual examples from the BAP collections will be used to supplement the slides in three afternoon sessions, and another afternoon will be spent examining finely bound books in UVa's Special Collections.

Students are expected to have a sound knowledge of bookbinding terms and a basic knowledge of the history of book production in the period under consideration. The purpose of the course is to encourage an awareness of the possibilities latent in the detailed study of bookbindings and is thus aimed at all those handling books bound in this period, but it has particular relevance for those involved in the repair and conservation of such materials.

The first session of this course (July 31-August 4) is particularly intended for bench-trained conservators; the second session (7-11 August) is particularly intended for those whose interest in thefield is primarily historical; but the two sessions will have substantially the same content. In their personal statement, applicants should describe the nature and extent of their bench training (if any) in bookbinding and/or related disciplines, and they should also describe any previous formal or informal historical study in the field. Nicholas Pickwoad: 87 [three times]; 88-93 [twice each year]; 94

43. How to Research a Rare Book. The determination of the character and importance of a rare book usually begins with a search for relevant bibliographical citations. This course will introduce (or re-introduce) students to some of the most important and useful reference sources for the study of pre-1900 printed books. Non-English materials will be emphasized, although no special linguistic facility is required of students, and the course will have no particular historical or subject emphasis.

Group problem sets will be assigned for class discussion, so as to introduce search strategy in general along with specific bibliographical verification techniques. Out of this practical experience, students will (it is hoped) develop insights into the present state and potential nature of our bibliographical record in covering particular historical periods and languages, regional and national literatures, format genres, and subject areas.

The course is aimed at bibliographers, reference and collection management librarians, and catalogers working with rare books in institutions or in the antiquarian book trade. In their personal statement, applicants are encouraged to state what subject or linguistic areas they would particularly like to see the course include. D. W. Krummel: 90-93

44. Rare Book Cataloging. This course is intended for those with a working knowledge of AACR2rev. and of general cataloging principles and practices. Lectures, discussion, and exercises will center around the following topics: the differences between rare book and general cataloging, and why those differences exist; basic concepts of edition, issue, and state; the organization of the cataloging record, including levels of detail and variety of access points; problems in transcription, format and collation, and physical description; recent developments in codes and standards; theuses and requirements of special files; and setting rare book and/or special collections cataloging policy within an institutional context. The goal of this course is to provide an introduction to each of the primary elements of the rare book catalog record, so that students will be equipped to begin cataloging their institution's rare book and special collections materials.

In their personal statement, applicants should give a brief description of the types of materials they expect to catalog. They are also encouraged to mention specific problems they have encountered (or anticipate encountering) in their work, whether of a concrete nature or concerning broader issues in cataloging policy. John Lancaster/Earl Taylor: 83-84; ET: 85; Suzy Taraba/Stephen Young: 86-91; ST: 93-94; Eric Holzenberg

45. Visual Materials Cataloging. This course is intended for catalogers and curators of visual materials who have a working knowledge of AACR2rev. and/or APPM; MARC formats; and of general cataloging principles and practices. The emphasis will be on c19 and c20 prints and photographs being cataloged either as single items or as part of archival collections. Descriptive cataloging will focus on use of Graphic Materials, with comparison to AACR2rev. and APPM. For subject cataloging, we will compare LCSH, AAT, and LC Thesaurus for Graphic Materials. For access to form and genre, we will compare Descriptive Terms for Graphic Materials with LCSH and AAT. Other topics will include differences between cataloging visual and textual materials, level of detail in the catalog record, special problems in authority work, the relationship between physical processing and cataloging, and establishing cataloging policy within an institutional environment. The class will make a field trip to LC to visit the Prints and Photographs Division, where presentations will include an overview of cataloging techniques in the digital environment.

Applicants should give a brief description of their experience cataloging rare and archival materials, their current duties with regard to visual materials, and the types of materials they expect to catalog. They are also encouraged to mention specific problems they have encountered, as well as any particular expectations they have for the course. Jackie Dooley: new course

46. Introduction to the Internet. Students will be provided with a computer account and ample access to computer facilities for the duration of this course. After an overview of the ways of connecting to the Internet, the class will explore the global resources available on-line. Starting with communications tools such as electronic mail, on-line phone books, and networked discussion groups such as ExLibris, students will then connect to network-accessible information sources such as library catalogs, special collections guides, on-line bookdealers, etext collections, and networked museum exhibits.

Students will be encouraged to consider the practical utility of networked communication to their commercial or academic pursuits (eg how can a book dealer use on-line information to identify

what a library lacks? how can a cataloger working in a particular field gain electronic access worldwide to the detailed cataloging records of relevant specialized libraries? how can a scholar get rapid responses by querying others working in the same field?) The course will also include a discussion of the strategies that students may use for providing themselves with permanent access to the Internet after they return home.

Applicants must have a basic familiarity with a microcomputer (IBM or Mac), including facility with a word processing program. In their personal statement, applicants working in institutions should describe the facilities for electronic communications (or the lack of) available to them at work. Self-employed or independent applicants should describe those aspects of electronic communications to which they are particularly eager to have access. David Seaman:94

Week Five: Monday 7 August - Friday 11 August

51. Latin Paleography, 1100-1500. For many years, there has been a striking contrast in the scholarly attitude toward Latin scripts of the early and of the later Middle Ages. While the paleography of the early medieval and Caroline periods has been the object of serious academic study, late medieval scripts have hitherto mostly been examined (1) for reading literary and documentary texts and (2) for dating manuscripts. As manuscripts of the later Middle Ages are incomparably more numerous than early medieval codices, this is a paradoxical situation, one that needs to be redressed.

Accordingly, this course will try to systematize our knowledge about the gothic and humanistic scripts in all their diversity of forms and styles. It will include: the examination and reading of examples of Latin texts (exceptionally French or English ones); the study of abbreviations; the typology and nomenclature of scripts, according to the Lieftinck-Gumbert system and other systems; the dating and localization of scripts; the techniques and principles of historical and diplomatic transcription and editing. Students will be required to make a series of transcriptions as homework.

The course will have a practical character, concentrating on a broad range of scripts. Starting from the tangled image presented by late medieval manuscripts, a much-needed systematization will be developed, and gothic and humanistic scripts will be given a place in the history of handwriting in the West.

The course is intended for scholars and researchers, librarians and antiquarian booksellers with a basic knowledge of Latin who, sooner or later, are likely to deal with late medieval manuscripts. All students in this course must have had some previous formal introduction to paleography Albert Derolez: 88-93

52. Introduction to Medieval and Early Renaissance Bookbinding Structures. This course is aimed at librarians, archivists, and art historians specializing in early books and manuscripts, and others who handle such material. The course will emphasize studies of the physical book and binding craft techniques of the period. It will proceed by means of lecture and discussion, and employ a considerable number of slides, diagrams, and samples. The structurally diverse products of the period will be explored by general descriptions and the use of certain carefully chosen case studies. The instructor will present for discussion his own methods concerning the interpretation and recording of such binding structures. In the face of the extensive losses now occurring in Europe to primary source material, problems of preservation and record photography will be mentioned. There will be a full-day field trip to a collection with medieval and Renaissance manuscripts and bindings.

In their personal statement, applicants should indicate their background, special interests and expectations from the course. The course presupposes a general knowledge of European history, but not of binding history. Please note that this course is not designed for practicing bookbinders (as such). Christopher Clarkson: 84-94

53. European Bookbinding, 1500-1800. See no. 42.

54. Introduction to Descriptive Bibliography. This course is intended for those who want to develop their abilities to read or write fairly elaborate physical descriptions of books, particularly those books produced before about 1850.

Each class day is divided into four parts: lecture, homework, lab, and museum. Daily lectures concentrate on methods of determining format and collation, and of describing type, paper, illustrations, binding, and the circumstances of publication. Students prepare for daily laboratory sessions in which they work, under close supervision, with progressively more difficult examples of various formats and collations. During the daily museum periods, students have extensive hands-on access to the celebrated BAP realia collections: tools and equipment, samples and examples, self-teaching packages, and the like.

The course is especially appropriate for those who are not quite comfortable in reading detailed bibliographical descriptions, or who need guidance in the techniques of identifying bibliographical formats and collations. Terry Belanger/Donald Farren: 85-87; TB/DF/David Ferris: 88; TB/David Ferris: 90-94

55. Refocusing Special Collections. Not long ago, most American research institutions viewed the steady growth of both their general library and their rare book collections with pride, or at least complacency. More was better; in any event, more was inevitable. As the world's knowledge base continues to expand, however, individual libraries have increasingly had to face the impossibility of continuing to collect aggressively in every subject field, in every area of human endeavor both past and present.

Similarly, rare book and special collections departments within larger libraries are facing the need to redefine their collection development policies. As institutional collections accelerate their acquisition of materials in substitutional formats (both non-print and electronic), the pressure on rare book departments will grow: the temptation to transfer hard-copy originals no longer wanted in the general stacks will be considerable.

This course is a practicum in assessing current special collections and in establishing parameters for their future scope. In their personal statement, prospective students are encouraged to describe a challenging case study based on a collections problem they are presently encountering at work. Students will have a chance to work on this case study during the course. Hendrik Edelman: new course

56. Developing Special Collections of African-American Materials. This course is aimed at research and rare book/MS librarians and archivists whose current responsibilities include the care of collections containing African-American (A/A) printed and/or manuscript materials. The instructors bring perspectives from different work environments: (1) a large special collections department in a major university research library with an established pattern of funding and acquisitions; and (2) a relatively recent program with limited funding in a small, historically black institution. The course will focus on the history of collecting A/A materials and the development of A/A historiography. Other areas of investigation will include A/A literature and its development over the years, A/A authors (including lesser known ones), and relevant bibliographies. There will be a one-day field trip to the Archives at Virginia State University.

Other course topics include: sources for acquiring both new and older materials (specialty publishers, reprints, relations with dealers); developing user clienteles; description and preservation; exhibits; photographic materials; electronic applications; and -- and especially -- current issues (Afrocentrism vs Eurocentrism, multiculturalism, ethics, inter-institutional competition).

In their personal statement, applicants should describe the collections with which they are currently concerned and mention any areas which they would especially like to see this course cover. Lucious Edwards, Jr / Michael Plunkett: new course

A Brief Description of Rare Book School

Terry Belanger founded RBS in 1983 at Columbia University under the aegis of the Book Arts Press (BAP), the bibliographical laboratory he established at the School of Library Service in 1972 to support the study of the history of the book. The first RBS offered eight five-day courses on subjects similar to those still offered today -- similar and, indeed, in some case identical: eight of the 15 living RBS 1983 instructors -- Sue Allen, Nicolas Barker, TB, Christopher Clarkson, Paul Needham, Daniel Traister, Michael Turner, Michael Winship -- still regularly teach in the institute. The eight original courses (two courses per week held over a four-week period) were all team-taught, because TB was then under the impression that no single instructor could teach a highly specialized subject, six hours a day, for five days straight.

RBS 1983 was a considerable success: with [8 x 15 =] 120 places available, 112 students attended. Our lion (derived from an early c19 watermark) made his first appearance as a trademark at RBS 1984, which expanded to 20 courses. Over the years, the institute has continued to grow and prosper; RBS 1995 offers 30 courses, mostly with single instructors (who teach 12 or fewer students six hours a day for five days straight).

In 1993, RBS moved from New York to the University of Virginia, where some of the BAP's teaching collections are always on display in the Dome Room of the Rotunda on The Lawn, the central grounds of the University. These collections have grown enormously in recent years, in large part thanks to the generosity of the BAP's 550-member support group, the Friends of the Book Arts Press.

In New York and Charlottesville, a typical RBS student experience has emerged. (Most RBS students are, of course, not students: they tend to be working professionals who sometimes have students of their own, back home.) RBS attendees usually enroll for a single course in any given summer. They generally arrive on Sunday in time for housing check-in, registration, a reception, and an opening dinner followed by the showing of videotapes and films on bibliographical subjects. Classes begin on Monday morning; each day is divided into four 90-minute classroom sessions punctuated by lunch and by half-hour morning and afternoon coffee breaks. The intensity of RBS coffee breaks must be observedto be believed. At six pm on Monday and Wednesday evenings, there is generally a public lecture on a subject of bookish interest, followed by a reception. Tuesday is usually Bookseller Night, with students encouraged to visit local used and antiquarian bookshops, and take advantage of Charlottesville's many excellent restaurants. On Thursday evening, TB delivers his State of the Bibliographical Nation address. Classes end on Friday with evaluations (a very important part of the RBS process) followed by a closing reception. Most students stay in residence at least over Friday night (they may use RBS housing as long as they wish), in part to avoid the annoyances inherent in Friday evening travel, and in part to have a final dinner with new and old friends and acquaintances: about 40 -- of RBS students in any given week are returnees from previous years.

In striving for excellence, it is not always possible to be comfortable; still, RBS tries very hard indeed to offer its faculty and students alike an experience that is both worthwhile and enjoyable. We were pleased by a comment in a RBS 1994 course evaluation that described Rare Book School as ``an intellectual Hawaii.''