Ian Gadd & Michael L. Turner

H-80: The Stationers’ Company and the London Book Trade to 1830
17-21 July 2006


1)   How useful were the pre-course readings?

1: Frankly, the four required readings (which I did) do need to be supplemented by a book that underscores the Company character of the Company. A study of London City Companies (such as illegible) would illuminate the definition of Stationers’ as a city corporate body -- and save a half day of instruction. 2: The readings were spot on, and essential. 3: Perfect background and context; not too much required, and they were referred to in the course. 4: I read only the two books “required” and found both useful. I’ve already re-read bits of each and found what I learned in the course greatly increased my understanding. 5: Quite useful; a vital bibliography of the Stationers’ Company. 6: Yes. I got a very good overview that the class discussion made relevant. 7: Blagden was useful (if a bit dry). I found the articles more interesting and more indicative of current thinking about the company. 8: DIFFICULT. The Blagden book is a very hard read. It seems the literature (historical) for this course as sparse, so I don’t have an answer for the problem. 9: 10: 11: Very useful; all applicable. 12: Very good.


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 but as befits a new course, illustrative material could have been better integrated into the course of lectures. 2: The syllabus and the workbook are excellent. As always, when RBS receives the master packet from the faculty, they should “blow-up” the smaller print, and add page numbers. 3: The materials distributed in the course pack, assembled as a reference shelf, and shown on screen were exemplary in quality, relevance, order, and rarity. There were many significant finds freely shared. 4: First-rate, as was the mini-library brought in by one of the instructors. 5: Yes, I plan on using the handouts for teaching and research. The facsimiles of relevant c16-c18 century documents were particularly welcome, the statistical charts as well. 6: Syllabus was excellent. The course pack will give me a lot to go over when I return home. 7: Yes. I’m looking forward to MT’s website going online. 8: They were useful and complete, and they will be of definite use in the future. 11: Yes, the booklet especially so. 12: Syllabus could have been expanded a bit. Please paginate the course pack!


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 detailed focus on book trade issues was fascinating. The intellectual level, which had to address various interest, experiences, and educations of the students, was well tuned. 2: The intellectual level of this course has been riveting, while terrifying. The use of the course is multiple -- this is the only course of its kind anywhere on either side of the Atlantic! Every source consulted here is essential for research. 3: The intellectual level was quite high and maintained in a very congenial and collegial fashion. The broad chronological scope was of great interest to me, as well as the particularities of the history of licensing. 4: Those that illuminated the historical role of the Stationers and the human face of the company. The level of the course was just right for me. 5: I’m doing doctoral research on c16-c17 century publishers, and this class provided remarkably useful strategies on using Stationers’ records to do such work. 6: I was very interested in the various reference tools and their relevance within the area of the book trade in general. The discussion cleared up most of the questions that have plagued my research. 7: The background to the Company and City set the stage very well. I was most interested in the interaction of the Company with other aspects of the book trade. 8: They historical aspect. The intellectual level was more than appropriate -- it was high. 11: I’m not sure a time-line based course would not be easier to follow, though I’d preface the week with a session on operational definitions, e.g. “freed” and “clothed” mean something totally different to me now than they did six days ago. 12: Yes, indeed. Sorry there wasn’t more on St. Paul’s Churchyard.


5)   What did you like best about the course?

1: The teachers as dynamic duo were well harnessed: IG, focused and energetic (and always poised); MT wise, discursive, and sagely anecdotal. 2: IG and MT are international institutions. The material on the Stationers’ Company has been made publicly available by generations of scholars, bibliographers and librarians, and as a result we can now benefit with specific knowledge of the book trade, but also McKenzie’s “sociology” -- the social history of the book. 3: We were plugged into the source/sources of expertise. 4: The quality of the presentations and of the materials and the give-and-take between the two instructors. 5: IG and MT are helpful, articulate, interesting, and absolutely brilliant. I found this one week course more helpful than many of the graduate courses I’ve taken. The course was well-designed and covered a lot of ground without being overwhelming. 6: The organization of the material was excellent. The two instructors served as complements in their knowledge of the Stationers’ Company. 7: The dynamic between IC and MT. Very different in style, they complemented each other effectively. 8: Its organization and the caliber of its teachers. For a first-time course it was outstanding. 11: The energy and enthusiasm brought by IG and ML. 12: IG and MT make a great team!


6)   How could the course have been improved?

1: More attention not being given to internal Company dynamic; structures were well articulated, social dynamic much less. Did we need more political superstructure, i.e. more macro, less micro? 2: I suppose the only way to improve is to ask IG and MT to stay on a second week and teach the English book trade. 4: Focus in the last day’s sessions were, perhaps inevitably, blurred some. 5: One more day to talk more about 1700-1830 and the English Stock. 6: More time. There was not enough time to go over everything. 7: Run the course at Stationers’ Hall! 11: An interesting aspect of the course was the pursuit of an individual project. I recommend this be advertised to those in attendance ahead of time, then generally discussed in an early session. This would allow each and every attendee to benefit from initial commentary and advice and save the instructors from repeating answers to the same or similar questions.


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

1: N/A. 2: TB, I would love to see a retrospective of your notes for these Sunday sermons. They may tell us where we’ve come. 3: Sunday evening provided me with a perfect introduction! 4: Yes. 5: N/A. 6: Very much so. The state of RBS is always interesting, and I enjoyed the Monday night lecture. 7: Yes. 8: Monday night OK 11: Yes. Thoroughly enjoyed seeing and listening to Vince behind the podium. 12: Yes.                      

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

1: N/A. 2: N/A. 4: Moderately. 5: N/A. 6: Did not attend. 7: Museum Night - yes. Didn’t attend Video Night. 11: N/A.


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

1: A fine course; a worthy addition to the school. You will be amazed at how much you learn from these generous, knowledgeable men. 2: I certainly did get my money’s worth. I could pay every penny myself and take vacation, just for the chance to hear IG and MT talk together about English books and English book trade history. Advice: do as much of the reading as you can, so you have enough background and terminology. 3: Absolutely satisfied. 4: Yes. 5: Absolutely. Take it. It’s a helpful, dare I say comprehensive, background to a widely misunderstood aspect of English publishing, and a great introduction to issues regarding the English book trade in general. 6: Absolutely. I would recommend this class highly and hope it will be run again. 7: A terrific course. 11: Absolutely. Please do bring back IG and MT so other future RBS attendees may benefit from their expertise on this subject.

Number of respondents: 12


Leave                       Tuition                    Housing                   Travel

Institution                 Institution                 Institution                 Institution

gave me leave            paid tuition               paid housing              paid travel

58%                            42%                            42%                            33%

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

tion time                    tion myself                 own housing              travel

8%                              42%                            33%                            50%

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

33%                            17%                            25%                            8%

There were three rare book librarians (25%), two general librarians with some rare book duties (17%), one teacher/professor (8%), one full-time student (8%), one antiquarian bookseller (8%), one book collector (8%), one retired person (8%), one academic administrator (8%), and one docent (8%).