James M. Green

H-70: The History of the Book in America, c.1700-1830

25-29 July 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.)


1-2: Very useful. 3: The readings were very interesting and prepared me for the class. Most of the information was new to me and reinforced in lectures. 4: Extremely. For me, this was a very new territory. The readings (I opted for selections from the more recent multi-volume option) were uniformly excellent, and I learned a great deal from them. It was an essential background for the week of class. 5: Fit in very well with course content and discussion. 6: Very useful. 7: Yes. 8: They were great. I wish I would have gotten optional readings too. 9: Very useful. I appreciated the two options for the required readings (one, an other text, the other a more recent and detailed) and I particularly benefited from the recommended readings because they were "recommended," I enjoyed being able to search through and focus on what was useful to me. 10: Very good preparation. 12: Poor. Not relevant. All about technology and labor relations and printers. Not about book history. 13: Very. 14: Useful—I should have paid more attention to Gaskell.


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: The workbook will be most useful and allowed me to make shorter notes with reference to specific items. 2: Yes, I'll keep the workbook and use it for reference in my work, both as a curator and as a scholar. 3: Definitely useful, but will probably not refer to them in future. My notebook has this information. 4: Yes to both. 5: Essential in classroom discussion as examples of points made in lecture, helped clarify ideas in very concrete ways. 6: Very useful. I will refer to them in the future on occasion. 7: Yes, yes. 8: Course workbook was excellent. Lots of great examples. Much to discuss. And a great take-away. 9: Yes, the workbook was great. 10: Yes, bibliographic reference and research. 11: Yes, it's possible that I will refer to my coursebook at a later date. 12: They were excellent and supplemented the talk nicely. 13: Yes to both. 14: Yes!


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: Early printing history and the rise of the publishers as distinct from printers. 2: Of greatest interest to me were units on the importation of books from Britain, book collecting, evolving models of publishing and distribution, the use of literary authors in America, and the publication of British books in America. 3: Materials, bindings. The class was for the most part chronological. Many printing and binding examples were passed around. After a few days, one could get a very good idea of typical bindings, printing styles, &c. 4: My< interest was general, to address a gap in my knowledge. That said, I was intrigued by the limitations on printing. The interplay of economic constraints and production, the slow start, the often sudden and important changes. 5: Helps one understand context of manuscript material I may run across much better. Also to understand more of the context of the publication of each type of print in this period. 6: The course content was weighted slightly towards literary books which is not my emphasis, however the context was relevant. 7: Yes. I think we may have been oversaturated with book examples. 8: The earliest part of the history was of more interest to me. But it was all interesting and will be useful. 9: Discussions of audience, circulation, and the ties among specific people and places was most relevant to me. Additionally, the focus on the non-literary was wonderful. 10: Overall, its potency as a course in c18 American cultural history. Intellectual level—superior. 11: Yes. 12: The combining of book culture with general culture were most helpful. 13: Greatest interest: post-1776 publishing practice. Level: spot on. 14: The blend of history and dose of inspection of period books.


4)    What did you like best about the course?


1: The knowledge and stories of the instructor were amazing. 2: JG was a wonderful instructor! His knowledge of the subject matter was most impressive, as was his ability to address a wide and complex set of issues, ranging from social history to printing technology. I much enjoyed handling books and seeing them within the context of the course, especially the Common Sense exercise. 3: I enjoyed seeing examples of early American materials. Other students had interesting questions and comments. Knowledge of the instructor. Both. 4: The people and the books. 5: Wonderful mix of activities (hands-on) lectures, stories of the trade and outstanding individuals in history of print, hand-outs, overheads, and lots of examples from actual books and pamphlets, reference materials and examples from their own research including Michael Winship's contributions. Another plus! 6: Instructor's vast knowledge and kindness in answering questions. 7: The mix of disciplines represented by the students. 8: Hands-on work with materials as well as exercises in class all very useful. But the stories JG told were equally valuable. 9: I loved the seamless blend of publishing and printing history, as well as the chronological move through, essentially, American politics, culture, and industry. 10: The knowledge of JG and his generosity of it. 11: I found JG to be an extremely engaging instructor. 12: Example of the course leader. Anecdotal evidence. 13: The subject matter presentation was in such a manner to engage and retain one's attention ... nice mix of lecture, exercises, & field trips. 14: The amazing depth and breadth of JG's knowledge.


5)     Did the instructor(s) successfully help you to acquire the information and skills that the course was intended to convey?


1: Yes. 2: Yes! JG was fabulous in addressing the areas outlined in the description. 3: Yes. 5: Very much so. 6-7: Yes. 8: Yes. Very thorough and clear. 9: Yes, definitely. 10-11: Yes. 12: Yes. He answered all question perfectly well. 13: I believe so. 14: Yes—I have pages and pages of notes.


6)     Did you learn what the course description/advertisements indicated you would learn?


1-10: Yes. 11: Yes. Perhaps of some fine-tuning? 12-14: Yes.


7)    Did you learn what you wanted to learn in the course? Y/N


1: Yes. 2: Yes. And more! 3-5: Yes. 6: Yes. Especially the location of further scholarship on subjects I wish to pursue further. 7: Yes. 8: Yes. I learned a huge amount. There is so much more I wish to learn but this is not the fault of the class. It's a huge subject. 9: Yes. I would have benefited from some discussion of the other British colonies, like the Indies, and some discussion of the other European colonies. But, time is limited, obviously. 10: Yes. 11: Not so much. 12: Yes. 13: I learned there's much more to learn. 14: Yes.


8)     How do you intend to use or apply the knowledge or skills learned in this course?


1: To inform and direct my own research interests. 2: I will use the skills and knowledge from this course to enhance my institution's collections of early American books; instruct others in presentations/courses; enhance my scholarship/understanding of printing history. 3: Conservation/preservation decision making. 4: TBD. I will do my best. 5: Help me describe and understand collections I work with from this period. 6: Do additional reading on my own in areas particularly relevant to my work. 7: Particularly with visitors and students in terms of education workshops and exhibit development. 8: Will help me look at my own collections with new eyes. Will help me assist researchers at my institution. 9: I intend to enrich my own studies, which is not history of the book, with the bit of appreciation I now have for this field. 10: Re-evaluating c18 American books that I see as a bookseller, and likely shift of focus in buying/selling of them. 12: I do not know. Certainly in general ways. Rather than specific ways. 13: Weekly, if not daily, in the regular course of my antiquarian book business. 14: Terrific knowledge for anyone aspiring to a career in rare books librarianship in the US.


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: More books from this time period. 2: Perhaps rethink the "museum" model in SC, so that our viewing of items is more guided. Perhaps show books on the ELMO before sending them around, or find a way to signpost major transitions via the white board. 3: No suggestions. 5: There was such a rich diversity of materials that it was sometimes hard to remember the significance of each. 7: It went very well. 8: More of the same. A few more hands-on exercises would be great. Even some light homework at night might be appropriate. 10: The only suggestion I have—and this is my bias in bindings—I would have liked a more formal presentation of c18 binding—but that is a real short stroke in the wealth of material presented. 12: No idea. 14: Perhaps a bit less on c17 America and a bit more early republic, particularly the spread of print to the West.


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, although the restrictions of a SC setting does make studying the books more difficult. 2: Yes! It was great to be there. 3: Yes. 4: Definitely to SC, I found the press/typesetting-founding demos less essential since I am familiar with the processes but there are students in class with varied backgrounds and those are excellent resources. 5: Yes. 6: Laying out books in a museum format with the class moving from station to station worked better than passing a book in a basket. 7: Yes. Too many examples shown though. 8: These were good. Though the formalities (understandable) of SC was a bit of a barrier that we didn't have in class. Everyone treated the material with extreme care—it was a little disappointing not to feel trusted in these situations. 9: Yes. 10: Definite. 11: Yes. 12: Yes. Good to see examples and what we do enough. 13-14: Yes.


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: Books were handled very well. 3: Book wedges could have been at a steeper angle. 4: I think all was handled well enough. It might be worth re-iterating handling instructions for especially delicate items before they are given to students, just to be safe. 5: Absolute clarity about which items OK to handle &c. or not. Improved all during the week. 7: Don't send around so many. 8: As above, everyone was extremely careful with this materials. 12: None. 14: I believe things were thoughtfully handled in class.


12)    If you attended the optional evening events (e.g. RBS Lecture, Video Night, RBS Forum, Booksellers' Night) were they worth attending?


1: Definitely 2: Yes—the lectures were particularly good (TB was Monday, Leah Price was Wednesday). 4: Sure, I attended both lectures. 5: Yes. 6: I especially enjoyed TB's presentation. 7: N/A. 8: Lectures were good. Paper museum was fantastic! Booksellers' Night was less interesting to me. 9: The Leah Price lecture was enjoyable. 11: Yes. 12: Lecture, yes. Booksellers' Night yes. 13-14: 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: Yes. 2: This was a wonderful experience! 3-6: Yes. 7: Well worth the effort and expense. 8-9: Yes. 10: Yes, and more! 11: Yes, I believe so. Part of the experience is the networking, which was very useful. 12-14: Yes.


14)    Would you recommend this course to others?


1: Wholeheartedly! 2: I highly recommend this course to collectors, scholars, librarians, and dealers alike! 3: Yes, particularly for those with early American collections. 4: Yes. 5-7: Yes. 8: Highly. 9: Yes. If you want a British North American Survey, you will not be disappointed. There are some topics I would have, for my own interests, liked to explore, but no more could have been covered in a week. 10: Yes, as a new course it was marvelously conceived, organized and presented. So much more than about books, I found it to be the most unique explication of c18 American cultural history I could have imagined. 11-14: Yes.

Number of respondents: 14





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 travel




Institution paid ___% of my travel




I paid my own travel




N/A: lived nearby







There were 2 conservation/preservation librarians (14%), 1 RBS staff member (7%), 2 rare book librarians (14%), 1 archivist/manuscript librarian (7%), 1 special collections librarian (7%), 1 Ph.D. student in English literature (7%), 3 antiquarian booksellers (21%), 1 print collector (7%), 1 museum curator (1%), and 1 MLIS student (7%).

Where did you stay?

Brown College: 1

The Lawn: 4

Courtyard Marriott: 1

Hampton Inn & Suites: 1

Red Roof Inn: 2

Other: 5