Jan Storm Van Leeuwen

B-10: Introduction to the History of Bookbinding

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: Very useful, especially as I had no background in the subject beforehand. However, if you couldn't get to reading every word, you would still benefit from the class. 2: Very useful, but extremely difficult or impossible to locate. Are there other books or articles that could be substituted? 3: Very useful, though not as useful as seeing the real objects. 4: Very useful. 5: They were very useful. 6: Very. 7: They were very useful. 8: Highly, as an introduction. 9: Very useful. I find that these also become very valuable post-course readings.

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, very helpful. 2: Very appropriate and useful. 3: Very helpful as reference when I return home. 4: Yes, yes. 5: Indeed, there is much information to refer to and resources for future study. 6: Very appropriate and useful. Will definitely refer to them in the future. 7: Yes, I will certainly refer to the workbook in the future. I only wish some of the illustrations could have been in color. 8: Yes, although the PDFs of the slides would be helpful with notes, if there were a way to obtain the images to take to take with the notes. 9: Yes and 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: It's a very interesting subject, even in general historical terms, whether you work with these materials or not (I don't). The intellectual level was great—challenging, but not overwhelming. 2: It was all absolutely essential and will be of great benefit for my job when I return home. 3: Intellectual level was very appropriate. I found the survey useful, but for my purposes and my area of focus (England and American from c.1650-1830), I could have hoped for more. 4: All content was relevant and interesting. 5: Identification of covers, differences between bespoke and publisher's bindings as well as the differences between countries. 6: Intellectual level appropriate. How to date bindings or place bindings by style of decoration/individual tools probably most interesting and useful, but entire class was interesting. 7: The intellectual level of the course was very high—it was vigorous, yet even basic things were explained thoroughly and all questions were welcomed. 8: For professional purposes, identifying time periods and structures was the best use—for personal interest, correlating from an art historical purpose was great. 9: The lecture set context and the examples of books, many many books, solidified the point being made. The presentation presupposed enough understanding while challenging with new ideas.

4)    What did you like best about the course?

1: JSvL. 2: c19 bindings/industrial organization with processes. 3: The combination of information and personal anecdote, and of course the actual objects. 5: The examples, being able to look at and in some cases, touch the books. 6: JSvL! Fantastic instructor. 7: I was most interested in the first 3/5—4/5 of the class, on hand bookbinding. 8: JSvL and his immense knowledge, coupled with his encouragement to participate, ask questions, interact with classmates. Seeing the bindings hands-on was wonderful. 9: The instructor and his assistant; the many books, papers, &c. used as examples.

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

1-2: Yes. 3: Very much so. 4: Yes. 5: Absolutely, it was an honor and privilege to learn from the master in the field. 6: Yes, definitely! 7: Yes, absolutely. This was a very thorough, exceptional class. 8: Absolutely, and open to further correspondence. 9: Yes, very much so.

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

1: Yes. Even better than I thought it would be. Not as esoteric as I thought it might be. 2-8: Yes. 9: Yes. The course exceeded my expectations.

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

1: Yes, and more! 2-8: Yes. 9: Yes, again, the course exceeded my expectations.

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

1: General knowledge, understanding more history about books, possibly recognizing something rare or valuable if I came across it. 2: I will be much better at including binding descriptions in catalog records. 3: Absolutely, in my catalog descriptions. 4: Descriptions in catalog records. 5: I intend to include my new-found knowledge in my cataloging records. 6: Will help describe bindings when writing treatment/condition reports. As well as inform treatment decisions based on information learned about historical structures. 7: I will use what I learned in teaching history to book arts classes and as a reference for my own book arts work. 8: Professionally, cataloging. Personally, collecting. 9: I will be better able to identify materials that I am asked to appraise.

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: There is almost too much learn in one week—perhaps split it into two parts, so more time to handle materials? However, I'm glad I got it all in one week. 2: Everything was fine. 3: A more even survey rather than concentration on, for instance, after 1850. 5: Hard to say, already excellent! 6: N/A—great as is! 7: I would have preferred to have one or two of the special collections visit periods integrated with the lectures on days two and three—I think that would break things up well and give us a chance to synthesize periods before moving on. 8: Less slides, more handouts. 9: I do not see any need to improve what works so well.


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. 2: Absolutely essential. 3: Very well spent in Special Collections. 4: Yes. 5: Yes, tremendously well spent time and we were able to get an in-depth look at some very rare materials. 6: Yes, definitely. 7: Yes. 8: Yes, as we met there in the morning. 9: Yes, very much so.


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, I thought we were well-instructed and everyone was careful. 2: Fine. 3: Great care was always taken. 5: All possible precautions have already been taken. 6: N/A—materials handled carefully. 8: None, it went great. 9: All were handled appropriately.


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


1: Pretty much, some kind of esoteric, but it's nice to have things to do and learn new things. 2: TB's presentation seemed a trifle disorganized. The other presentation was great, but could have been better prepared to be relevant to this specific audience. 3: RBS lecture, yes. 5: Yes, Video Night was enjoyable. 6: Yes. 7: The Leah Price lecture was well worth hearing. Booksellers' Night was disappointing since many did not stay open late as advertised. 8: Some, yes. Although the Lecture Hall was warm.


13)    Did you get your (or your institution's) money's worth? Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year?


1: $=satisfaction! I advise anyone considering coming to do it. 2: Yes. 3: Tuition, yes. Dormitories, no. 5: I always feel as if I receive my money's worth. 6: Absolutely! 7: Yes. 8: Yes. 9: Yes, very much so.


14)    Would you recommend this course to others?


1: Yes. Definitely, almost anyone could benefit from this course. 2: One of the best. 3: Without reserve. 4: Yes. 5-6: Yes! 7: Absolutely. It was a wonderful experience. I highly recommend a course with JSvL. He is a real expert and a great teacher. 8: Absolutely. Thanks JSvL! 9: Most certainly.

Number of respondents: 9





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 one general librarian with no rare books duties (11%), two rare books catalogers (22%), one antiquarian bookseller (11%), two rare book librarians (22%), one conservator (11%), one professor of book arts (22%).

Where did you stay?

Brown College: 6 (67%)

Red Roof Inn: 1 (11%)

Other: 2 (22%)