T-50: Type, Lettering & Calligraphy, 1450-1830
13-17 June 2011
1) How useful were the pre-course readings? (Leave blank if you applied and were accepted late for the course, and thus did not get the list in time.)
1: They were very important to me to understand and have a knowledge of the general class idea. Some of the same texts were required and acted as a refresher for previous courses. 2: Very useful—I enjoyed JM's commentary on what to focus on in the readings, and what to be wary of as subsequent scholarship had adjusted viewpoints. 3: Quite! The one text most recommended I found least useful; however, I would also have appreciated more warning about Updike, also. On the whole, reading Moxon and Gaskell were most useful to me. 4: JM's blog was essential reading. Good for future reference as well. 6: Essential. 7: The books recommended by JM, particularly the Harry Carter, provided a valuable grounding for the week. JM's blog is also essential reading. 8: Yes, very—especially the blog! 9: Pre-course readings were generally helpful. For the benefit of future students, I'd say the less you know about type, the more important it is to read these ahead of time—the in-class experience can approach overload at times, even for people familiar with the topic. 10: Very good, but the readings were not necessary to daily class. Added material. 11: Very useful. I would have appreciated JM's workbook in advance, perhaps in PDF form.
2) Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class appropriate and useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?
1: Yes, in addition to materials distributed for this course I purchased five other books to be there when I get home to help me in identification. I would not have known these books were available had I not attended. 2: The bibliographies are invaluable. I particularly enjoyed the expanded annotations by categories at the front of the workbook to help guide my continued reading. 3: I haven't used them in class, but I intend to refer to them, particularly the bibliographies, in future. 4: Yes, I believe [illegible] bibliography will be consulted over and over again. 5: Yes! They were well-organized and very useful. 6: Very useful. The instructor's bibliography is amazing. 7: The resources JM provided—including his annotated bibliography, list of names, and translation of typefounding manual, will remain treasured references. 8: Yes. The workbook is lovely and bibliography will be very useful. 9: Yes, and yes. I also liked the electronic distribution of the extended bibliography—way too long to print on paper and thus wasteful of resources. 10: I think the material will be more meaningful now that I understand more. 11: Yes, very useful. It was very kind of him to have a fuller bibliography for us to copy.
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: I can't say of just one aspect. History of type, examples of type, persons relevant to type, forgeries, instruments used in type. Too many to go on. 2: It's always wonderful to merge the practical techniques (such as casting type) with the contextual thread of how these techniques changed over time and pointing out tell-tale signs. 3: As a medievalist, I was most interested towards the beginning, in the manuscript and incunabular material. Nothing if not intellectual. 4: Placing the particular typefont within its historical place. By providing the background for fonts I now have a better idea of what is going on with a particular typeface. Yes, intellectual level was appropriate. 5: I am particularly interested, first, in the physical process of printing, and second, in the cultural significance of print. 6: The course was taught at a very high level, which was correct for this group. The instructor's correlation of type history with general and cultural history was very welcome. 7: I found JM's ability to not only contextualize typographical currents with influences in lettering but also forces in art, politics, and world history to be remarkably thoughtful and appealing. It is clear that he has considered these issues at great length, and simply listening to him speak is fulfilling. 8: The historical contextualization of typographic style—the influence of type in history and of culture on type. 9: I work with type every day and feel greatly strengthened in my use of it through deeper understanding of both the people who created it and the conditions under which it was made. 10: I wish there had been more type history and less general history. 11: Discussion of blackletter, laws, and English history was most relevant for me. The intellectual level was indeed appropriate.
4) What did you like best about the course?
1: Timeline of type and examples. 2: I actually liked not having a cheatsheet defining type changes, as it underlines the fluidity of the ongoing scholarship. 3: Superb reproductions. CASTING TYPE. Immersion atmosphere. I feel that my lettering eye has been vastly sharpened, beyond factual information. 4: JM! He knows his material and is generous in sharing his knowledge. 5: The interactive portion—when JM made small letters for us. It was so wonderful to see this process in the flesh. 6: The blazing intelligence of the instructor. His constant willingness to answer questions. The varied and intelligent perspectives of my fellow students. 8: The anecdotes from JM and the typecasting. 9: JM is a complete treasure. Informed, passionate, and tolerant of questions. Superb visuals. I liked that we stuck to the plan (more-or-less!) yet also indulged in many small detours, all of which were of great interest. 10: The personal experiences related. 11: Being able to ask JM questions. Favorite moment was his casting type for us.
5) Did the instructor(s) successfully help you to acquire the information and skills that the course was intended to convey?
1: Yes, plus experience that can't be printed. 2: Absolutely—I will now have more puzzles to unravel as I look intimately at books, and maybe decipher more clues as to how and where particular texts were printed. 3: Yes! What a goldmine of information and experience. 4: Absolutely. 6: Absolutely. 7: Absolutely; it deepened my understanding of the interactions of various letterforms through history, across nations, and in application. 8: I hope to improve upon my ability to identify type more with these resources and feel well-grounded in placing type within a historical context. 9: Yes. Expectations exceeded every day. 10-11: Yes.
6) Did you learn what the course description/advertisements indicated you would learn?
1-2: Yes. 3: Probably! Don't quite remember its wording. 4-8: Yes. 9: Yes. Before I applied for this course, I spent the better part of an hour reading all the evaluations from all the previous years—very helpful. 10: It showed me how much more there is to learn. 11: Yes.
7) Did you learn what you wanted to learn in the course? Y/N
1: Yes, and much more. 2: Yes. And more! 4: Yes. I learned more than I realized. 5: Yes. 6-8: Yes. 9: Yes. Rich presentation of the subject. I am very impressed with the instructor's understanding of visual arts, political and cultural history, geography, all of which came into the presentations. 10-11: Yes.
8) How do you intend to use or apply the knowledge or skills learned in this course?
1: In my book business. 2: Specifically, I hope to roughly time-date printed binders' waste materials I might uncover as I conserve rare materials. 3: My own lettering, for sure. Understanding the anatomy and life-cycle of type will help me in handling and explaining type. Much better able to explain historical progressions! 4: I intend to enhance my cataloging records with the different types. 5: For a chapter of my dissertation on non-Latin printing in the early modern period. 6: This course will assist continuing projects on the cultural and rhetorical dimensions of book production and reading and writing practices. 7: It will deepen my understanding of my library's collections and will enable me to share that knowledge through instruction and exhibitions. 8: In my artwork and teaching. 9: This will benefit my work as a graphic designer. Will also enrich my contacts with students when I teach book design. 10: I will find that out once I get back. 11: I will hopefully be able to write an article.
9) How could the course have been improved? If you have a suggestion for a new course (and—equally important—a person who could teach it), please contact the RBS Program Director.
1: Longer—two weeks. Ha! 2: Offer part two! 3: Would be GREAT to have a more practical component—either lettering or typesetting. Typecasting of course far more more unusual, so if a choice would be made, keep it instead. 4: How can you improve from a master? The course is wonderful. 5: I would suggest more classroom/seminar-style discussion and a reconsideration of the slides. With the slides being black, they often made the room very dark. 6: The introduction of a document camera and projector would allow the instructor to show pages of printed/MS texts easily, and supplement the computer projections. 7: All I'd like is more time—or an opportunity to take the second half of the course. 8: Perhaps more hands-on samples. The projections are quite useful, but it was challenging to see the reference materials in one short period and more "handling" would be helpful. 9: I am eager to take Part 2 and hope very much that JM will teach it, stopping at c.1975. 10: Please offer the second half soon—it would have made a good second week. 11: I think a quick refresher on terminology with visual examples or props would be helpful before diving in.
10) If your course left its classroom to visit Special Collections (SC) or to make other field trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?
1: Yes, to Alderman. Fantastic examples of type. 2: Yes—although we can always enjoy more time in Special Collections! 3: YES! Such a privilege to get so close to the documents, and extremely useful to see the details of physical form. 4: Yes, it was beneficial to get an up close and personal view of materials mentioned in class. 5: Yes, it was! I particularly enjoyed having the opportunity to see examples of different types of texts and books. 6: Yes. 7: Yes, this visit and JM's narration was remarkable. Thanks to George Riser for his work. 8: Yes—very well spent. 9: Yes, well spent. Groups were kept to six or less, and the hour and a half seemed just right. 10: It could have been longer. 11: Yes—it was nice that he broke the class in two and the remaining part could browse the library in the Studio.
11) 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: None. 2: Some of the housings for the text fragments could use a little "refreshing" (that fragment of the Mainz psalter could use a better Mylar housing with less double stick tape so close). 3: I think we did just fine—almost no hands-on use of material, though. 4: All precautions have been taken. 5: N/A. 6-7: None. 8: Things were handled well. 9: None—all went well. 11: Yes.
12) If you attended the optional evening events (e.g. RBS Lecture, Video Night, RBS Forum, Booksellers' Night) were they worth attending?
1: Yes, great topics. 3: Somewhat! I missed Video Night due to unforeseen circumstances, which I would have liked. The lectures were not hugely to any of my interests; the first more engaging than the second. So dependent on taste! 4: Video Night was truly enjoyable. 5: Yes, they were. I particularly enjoyed the movies, as well as the opportunity to meet more RBS students at the evening activities and coffee hours. 6: N/A. 9: I was very disappointed in both lectures. Video Night was very good, as was Booksellers' Night. 10: I was especially unhappy to see the school celebrate members of restricted societies. At some point, the school should stand behind female members of the rare book world. Please think about it. 11: Yes.
13) Did you get your (or your institutions) money's worth? Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year?
1: It is definitely worth my investment, I enjoy RBS very much. 2: Yes—$200/day for great instruction is comparable to other workshops/conferences I've attended. 3: I believe so. My one reservation is purely due to a lack of interest in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, so I did not value the tail end of the class as much as it probably should have been. My other comment—offered with all due respect—is that I found JM initially quite intimidating and unreceptive to questions and guesses. So (1) be prepared to be tough, and (2) he softened up as the week went on! 4: Yes, as usual. 5: Yes! 6-11: Yes.
14) Would you recommend this course to others?
1: Highly recommended. 2: Absolutely. 4: Yes. 5: I would recommend it to other early modern historians interested in learning more about printing. 6-7: Absolutely. 8: Yes—absolutely! 9: Enthusiastically! 10-11: Yes.
Number of respondents: 11
Institution gave me leave
I took vacation time
N/A: self-employed, retired or had the summers off
I am self-employed
Work has nothing to do with RBS course
Institution paid tuition
Institution paid tuition ___%
I paid tuition myself
Exchange or barter
N/A: Self-employed, retired or scholarship
Institution paid housing
Institution paid for ___% of housing
I paid for my own housing
N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home
Institution paid ___% of my travel
I paid my own travel
N/A: lived nearby
There were 2 rare book librarians, 1 rare book cataloger, 1 general librarian with no rare book duties, 1 conservator/binder/preservation librarian, 1 book designer, 1 antiquarian bookseller, 1 teacher/professor of English literature, 1 non-profit artist, 1 Ph.D. student of early modern history, and 1 BA student.
Where did you stay?
Brown College: 6 (55%)
The Lawn: 1 (9%)
Cavalier Inn: 1 (9%)
Other (at home or with an acquaintance): 3 (27%)