Sue Allen

B-90: Publishers’ Bookbindings, 1830-1910
17-21 July 2006


1)   How useful were the pre-course readings?

1: The pre-course readings were of great assistance, familiarizing me with technology, equipment, styles, designers, and so many other things. I felt adequately prepped for the course. 2-3: Very useful. 4: Very. I wish everyone in the class had read them; there would have been fewer needless questions. 5: Very useful and appropriate to the course. 6: The pre-course readings were very helpful in order to get a grasp on the material to be covered. 7: Very. 8: Very relevant. 9: Just right. 10: Extremely useful. 11: Very useful.


2)   Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?

1: Yes, I will continue to use course materials. 2: Very helpful. The bibliography will be perfect for future research. 3: Bibliography will be very useful 4: Materials, yes very useful. Syllabus, would have been good to have one. 5: Yes, and I expect so. 6: Appropriate and useful. 7: Yes. 8: Yes, especially the bibliography. 9: Yes and yes and yes. 10: Yes. 11: Very useful.


3)   What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?

1: The intellectual level was high, the classmates had wonderful backgrounds of a wide variety which added to the class. The teacher herself in the best aspect. Her love of her subject, her wide knowledge, and the passion she brings when conveying this information to her students is compelling. 2: The book as a primary source of material culture. Showing how designs on bookbindings mirrored architectural and decorative arts trends. SA’s emphasis on historical research techniques (using city directories to research binders and period illustrations to show techniques) was excellent. 3: All aspects were interesting as this was a new area for me. I especially enjoyed learning about the earlier decades through the 1860s. 4: Aspects, everything! Especially contexts of history, culture, etc. The intellectual level was definitely appropriate. 5: Abundant visual and tactile work with the covers. Oh, yes. 6: The entire course was of the greatest interest to me. The intellectual level was very high. 7: Everything was exactly on target for my needs. 8: The time line is of the most use for me with bullet points for markers of the decades. 9: Identification of rare material. Suited me intellectually. 10: All aspects of great interest and relevant. Intellectual level was the highest. 11: Wonderful, stimulating intellectual level; everything useful.


4)   If your course had field trips (including visits to the Dome Room, the McGregor Room, the hand printing presses in the Stettinius Gallery, the Etext Center, UVa’s Albert and Shirley Small Library, RBS’s Lower Tibet, &c.), were they effective?

1: Absolutely. Our visits to the MacGregor Room were very worthwhile and useful. 2: Yes. Another visit to SC would have been good. Maybe an optional field trip to the Jefferson Library would be a special feature of this experience. 3: Yes. Seeing the Barrett Collection examples and tying the bindings to the periods when our great literature was published was most interesting. 4: Yes! I could have spent more time in SC! 5: The Gray Collection was a surprise and very helpful. 6: Added to the depth of the course. 7: Yes. The better light and space in the small auditorium was especially appreciated. 8-9: Yes. 10: Very well spent! 11: Yes.


5)   What did you like best about the course?

1: SA. My classmates. The books themselves. 2: Learning an incredible amount of material in such a short time. And the answer to number three above, the instructor was charming and so thorough. Very inspiring to learn from. 3: I really enjoyed learning about the cloth and engraving. 4: SA! Her enthusiasm knowledge, love, candor, and tremendous passion for the subject. Vince Golden is a terrific assistant. We couldn’t have done it without him! This really was fabulous! Thank you! 5: SA’s emphasis on seeing the books and other illustration materials. 6: The teacher, the assistant, the teaching materials, and the slides. 7: SA! 8: Abundance of examples. 9: The hands on with so many examples. 10: Everything and especially being exposed to SA and VG. 11: SA’s passion and enthusiasm not only for what she had to tell us, but her very real interest in every event that marked our growing understanding of the material.


6)   How could the course have been improved?

1: I’m not sure it could be. SA and VG have things well in hand. 2: Including a boxed lunch or two, for convenience. Having breaks in another location. The RBS room was uncomfortable and unwelcoming when overcrowded. 3: It was excellent as it was. 4: At times, clearer organization, or at least a road map/syllabus to know where we’ve been and where we’re going. 5: I cannot imagine. SA and VG made a great team. 6: I can’t think of one way. 7: More time, music. 8: Photo handout of period example books or integrate into time line. 9: It can’t. 10: I really don’t know how. 11: I will think about this and get back to you if anything occurs.


7)   We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa’s Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?

1: Gloves are too cumbersome [and were not used in this course]. The Allen baskets are a good way to examine the items. 2: The baskets were a great solution to sharing materials. 3: Classroom handling of materials was excellent. 4: If something really shouldn’t be handled (as was the case for a few items), make sure people don’t do so. One disruptive person persisted in doing this. Not good for the collection. 5: None. In fact, I think I’ve learned a bit. For instance, the Allen baskets will be a good idea for my institution. 6: Everyone was very respectful of the materials. 7: Seemed fine. 9: None. 10: I can’t imagine any improvement -- always done extremely carefully. 11: I think everyone was pretty careful; perhaps a simple demonstration handling although people might be offended.


8)   If you attended the Sunday and/or Monday night lectures, were they worth attending?

1: Introductory lecture by TB was fine for its purpose. I really enjoyed the Monday night lecture. I am currently reading the book mentioned, and the speaker helped bring that to life. 2: The Sunday lecture was different than I had hoped -- maybe a short description by each instructor on what they would be covering during the week would have been good beyond reading what was on the website. 3: I did not attend the Sunday lecture. On Monday, I enjoyed Vince Golden’s lecture very much. 4: Sunday, yes. Monday, definitely yes! 5: Yes. VG’s was very informative, and TB’s was a good introduction to RBS. 6: N/A. 7: Yes. Both TB and VG left me wanting more. 8: Yes, well done. 9-10: Yes! 11: Yes, both were worthwhile. I hope VG has published (or will) his talk on newspaper preservation.

9) If you attended evening activities, was the time profitably spent?

3: N/A. 4: N/A -- I was too interested in having a leisurely dinner with classmates instead. 5: Video Night, no. 6: The three videos were excellent. 7: N/A. Have already seen the films. 9: Did not attend. 10: Yes! 11: N/A.


10) Did you get your money’s worth? Any final thoughts?

1: Absolutely got my money’s worth. I will be back. But next time I will know to bring hangers and a desk lamp! Both items, small though they may be, would make the stay more comfortable! 2: Very much so. The book collector in our class was very distracting. He had many extraneous comments and seemed to be more interested in buying everything he saw shared during the class than in learning from them. Perhaps keeping the students as professionals who want to enhance their knowledge for professional reasons might help keep the class on a more instructional level. 3: Definitely. 4: Yes! Advice for Christian Dupont: make tour of Special Collections shorter and more book oriented! This really was terrific. I’m so glad I came! 5: Undoubtedly. Take it as soon as you can. SA is non pareil. 6: I definitely got my money’s worth. I would positively recommend this course to anyone interested in the book arts. 7: Take this course ASAP! It will change your view of publishers’ cloth bindings forever. 8: Yes. 9: YES! 10: YES! Great experience! 11: Suggestion: when SA publishes her book, RBS should, in conjunction with her publisher, initiate via the ALA a celebration event: small (or large) shows of c19 American binding holdings simultaneously all over this country. Thank you, Sue!

Number of respondents: 11


Leave                       Tuition                    Housing                   Travel

Institution                 Institution                 Institution                 Institution

gave me leave            paid tuition               paid housing              paid travel

36%                            36%                            36%                            27%

I took vaca-                I paid tui-                  I paid for my              I paid my own

tion time                    tion myself                 own housing              travel

0%                              54%                            63%                            73%

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              scholarship                home

63%                            9%                              0%                              0%

There were two rare book librarians (18%), two teacher/professors (18%), three conservator/binder/preservation librarians (27%), three book-collectors (27%), and one book appraiser (9%).