Rare Book School

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About Rare Book School

Rare Book School (RBS) is an independent, non-profit and tax-exempt institute supporting the study of the history of books and printing and related subjects, governed by its own board of directors. Founded in 1983, it moved to its present home at the University of Virginia in 1992.

At various times during the year, RBS offers about 30 five-day, non-credit courses on topics concerning old and rare books, manuscripts, and special collections. The majority of courses take place in Charlottesville, but courses are also offered in New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.

The educational and professional prerequisites for RBS courses vary. Some courses are broadly directed toward antiquarian booksellers, book collectors, bookbinders, conservators, teachers, and professional and avocational students of the history of books and printing. Others are primarily intended for archivists and for research and rare book librarians and curators.

Most Rare Book School courses are limited to twelve or fewer students, who make a full-time commitment to any course they attend, from 8:30 or 9 am through 5 pm, Monday - Friday; in Baltimore, Washington, and Charlottesville, most students also attend an orientation on the Sunday evening before their first class on Monday. In addition to the formal daytime classes, there is an optional early evening public lecture (usually on Monday night), and (especially in Charlottesville) other bookish events throughout the week of the RBS session.

Admission to RBS courses is on a rolling basis. The first round of admit decisions for each course is made three months before the course begins. Admission decisions are emailed to successful applicants, and admissions packets (containing an admission letter, a travel guide, and [for Baltimore and Charlottesville] a local map) are put into the US post. Applications received thereafter are processed immediately.

RBS staff members and other persons with an RBS connection occasionally mount documents in a separate Miscellaneous page on this website, generally in connection with postings to the Book_Arts-L, ExLibris, and SHARP-L bulletin boards and the like.

If you have further questions, or were unable to download a copy of an application form, please write Rare Book School, PO Box 400103, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4103; fax 434-924-8824; ; or telephone 434-924-8851.

About the Lion

The RBS lion logo (derived from an early c19 English watermark, but with many Continental ancestors) made its first appearance on an RBS publication in 1984.

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