Martin Antonetti

H-30: The Printed Book in the West to 1800

4–8 June 2012

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. 2: The pre-course readings were useful, although really more useful once they had been contextualized in class. 3: Both books were well written. I was surprised that ABC for Book Collectors was both witty and opinionated. 4: Very useful to gain basic vocabulary and so one wasn't, as a newbie, completely lost. 5: The pre-course readings were not only helpful for the course but for future study. 6: They were interesting and relevant, but were not discussed. 7: The pre-course readings were useful. 8: The pre-course readings were very helpful—it was nice because the two books were classics in book and print history: books I can use and refer to. 9: The pre-course readings were very valuable. While I did not do any specific additional preparation, the pre-course readings kept the subject on my mind in the weeks prior to the class. 10: The pre-course readings were well chosen and useful. 11: Very valuable; provided the perfect preparation for taking the class. 12: I found parts of the pre-course reading useful, especially for reference during our class assignment. The course itself was so well laid out though I almost don't know if they are needed, or just a slightly larger workbook appendix. I had read three of the "Advance" readings listed already in courses but needed this class as a foundation.

2)    Were the course workbook and other materials distributed in class appropriate and useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)? 

1: Yes. 2: Definitely. Particularly having names and titles spelled out. Useful for continuing research on my own. 3: Yes, lists of PowerPoint slides saves needless note-taking. 4: I am very grateful for the workbook and the materials as I could not write fast enough for the vast amounts of information covered. 5: The workbook was very useful. Most helpful were the example imposition sheets handed out to us. 6: Workbook was handy, as note-taking aid. 7: Yes—very nice to have workbook. 8: Very useful—having the day carefully constructed makes for a better learning environment. 9: Martin Antonetti's (MA) course workbook was very valuable while in class and will be a great aid in the future for reference and future course study. 10: Yes, the workbook and other materials were really helpful and useful. 11: Yes. 12: YES! Very useful! I would say a little more spacing for notes and perhaps an addition of email-attached (or log-in info secured) slides of MA's PowerPoint so I don't have to Google or draw examples as he lectures (besides taking notes).

3) Have you taken one or more RBS courses before? If so, how did this course compare with your previous coursework?

2: Yes I have. This course was my favorite so far. MA is an engaging and interesting instructor and the topic is fascinating. 3: This was the best of the four courses I've taken! Very intellectually stimulating, excellent pacing alternating lecture and examination of books. 4: N/A. 5: Yes. The rigor is the same, a good level for beginners. 6: No. 7: Yes—bookbinding. Both were excellent—similar in style, with little "homework." MA's class had a session with hands-on books in Special Collections every day, which is great. 8: I have taken two courses before. This course was an extension or more in-depth on the previous course, "History of the Book 200–2000" (which was also fabulous). So the knowledge was the same, but more in-depth. 9: I have taken three RBS courses including this one. They have all been very good. I would say that MA's class and WN's MSS class were exceptional. 10: Yes. It met the usual high standard for RBS coursework. 11: I had taken one RBS class before. This class was equally rigorous, but much more enjoyable (previous course wasn't about books! (archives). 12: No, this is my first.

4)    What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes?

1: The general history of typeface and the biographies of those involved with it. 2: I particularly enjoyed the hands-on work with the press and binding, as well as discussion about how materials moved through the print shop, on to the binder, and into the hands of the reader. 3: Our special project to analyze a book using the information we learned in each section of class. 4: All the basic descriptions of crafts of the book were for me most useful. These were areas I knew nothing about. 5: It elucidated the general arc and aims of book studies as a field. 7: Overview of all aspects of bookmaking: papermaking, printing, binding. Excellent overview! 8: The social and cultural impact of print on history. I wish we could have done more on the impact of literacy. I do know MA wanted to, but we just ran out of time (because we did all sorts of other great stuff). 9: The way MA presented the material made all the material quite relevant and interlocked. I especially liked the presentation of what was going on to make the object as it was. 10: The evolution of print culture through this period of time. 11: The place of the development of the printed word in the progression of history. All the details were fascinating, from the lectures and hands-on demos to the "show and tell" sessions in Special Collections. 12: Seeing how a press works, folding gatherings, signature explanation, reinforce my little knowledge of illustration, and seeing examples of "perfect" and incorrect or "basic" books to apply our knowledge.

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

1-2: Yes and yes. 3: MA is a marvelous lecturer and true Renaissance man! 4: Yes to both. 5: Yes. It was a good course for a beginner, but also intellectually stimulating. 6: Yes. It was understandable but challenging. 7: Yes and yes—absolutely. 8: Intellectual level was right on target—we all come to the course with various backgrounds; the course was taught right on target. 9: MA's instruction was successful on so many levels, beyond my expectations. Not only in information and skills but in relaying the enthusiasm for continued exploration. 10: Yes to both. 11: Yes to both. Best instructor ever! Did an excellent job of conveying much info in an accessible way—provided a fascinating journey through book history! 12: Yes! MA was great! Intellectual level was good, with MA explaining any terms or things we asked, with no complaint about doing so.

6) What did you like best about the course?

1: I enjoyed MA's lectures. I liked the time we spent in Special Collections. 2: Wonderful, informative lectures and discussion. 3: MA! 4: I really enjoyed the exercise of book description to apply, under guidance, the material covered during the week. 5: Two aspects were exciting—Special Collections viewing, and discussions relating the books to their times. 7: The content was what I was looking for, and the teacher excellent. 8: The instructor and students—it was a great group! 9: This very successful class was great because MA is a great instructor and he brought out the best in each student to share what they knew or questioned. 10: It was all great. 11: Tough to say! I loved it all. Maybe I liked best learning about the evolution of the formation of letters from handwriting through the printing press. 12: HANDS ON! Also the instructor's knowledge, teaching style (comfortable and approachable), and the good foundation laid by the variety of topics covered.

7) How could the course have been improved?

1: Perhaps...perhaps I would have bagged the final class presentation in favor of more lecture time. 2: A little more time for the exercises and discussion/lecture. Is it anathema to say I would give up a session in Special Collections for more on literacy, authorship, &c.? 3: Needed just bit longer day to fit everything in. 4: Perhaps slightly less time in Special Collections looking and more time to analyze more materials in pairs. (But don't cut down too much! I love that time.) 8: Cannot really think of anything. It was great! 9: Only in a way that MA would find that he would like to make improvements. For me it was fine as it was presented. 10: It would be interesting to have some additional author and authorship during this time and how authors, printers, and publishers interacted. 11: Can't think of a way unless to make it a two-week course! 12: More days in the week so we could go longer! Also, maybe a demonstration of putting an image (woodcut or engraving) into the type, while setting it (not just verbal). PowerPoints posted or some images in the appendix of bindings (how it works) or a glossary of terms so MA doesn't have to explain (but he didn't mind).

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

1-11: Yes. 12: Yes, and more.

9)    Did you learn what you wanted to learn in the course?

1-4: Yes. 5: Yes. It provides a great base of knowledge. 6: Yes. 7: Yes. Excellent. 8-12: Yes.

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

2: I will put it to use working with students as well as in my own study. 4: I want to move into this type of librarianship and to teach with these materials. 5: It will serve me well as a solid foundation for further academic study in these areas. 7: Share with colleagues—do a presentation when I get back. It will help us as librarians to understand the history behind our collections—possibly help start some book arts studies at our university. 8: My intention is to develop a series of lectures on the history of the book for my world history courses. 9: This course will definitely help me with letter arts and book arts preservation and teaching. 10: Useful to use at work when looking at various printing types or fonts, the quality of the printing job. 11: To assist in my work and research as an employee of a special collection. 12: In my dissertation research, and teaching students at college.

11)  If you made any trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?

1: Yes, particularly Special Collections. 2: Yes (generally; see response to number seven). 3: Yes—went to Special Collections to view actual books. 4: Yes. 5: The trips to Special Collections were very fruitful and illuminated the lesson take-aways. 6: The trips to Special Collections were a highlight. Since I have some background in the book crafts, I personally found them less interesting. 7: Yes, very well spent: Special Collections and printing demo. 8: Spent a lot of wonderful and productive time in the Special Collections library. 10-11: N/A. 12: Yes, loved Special Collections!

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

1: The two lectures were very enjoyable and interesting. 2: Yes, and yes. 3: Two RBS lectures, excellent. Video Night—need some new videos! 4-5: Yes. 6: Lectures were good. 7: Yes—for this particular class the topics dovetailed and expanded on what we were learning. 8: Attended both Monday and Wednesday lectures and found them most informative. 9: The evening programs were very good, and became more important as the week progressed and our class material touched on them. 10: Yes, definitely. 11: Yes—excellent. 12: Yes, some were, but so tired it was hard to stay awake!

13)  We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching  collections and of materials owned by the 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?

2: None—I feel like I always learn from you! 6: They seemed appropriate. 8: All materials were handled well—no suggestions for improvement. 9: Collections were handled well and respectfully. 10: Everything was very professionally done. 12: MA was very careful, as were the students. No suggestions.

14)  Did you get your (or your institutions) money's worth? Would you recommend this course to others?

1-2: Yes, and yes. 3: Yes! Yes! 4: Yes. 5: Yes, I would highly recommend this course. 6: Yes, and yes. 7: Yes, it's expensive but worth it. 8: I would certainly recommend this course as long as MA is the instructor. He is very knowledgeable and presented the information in an easy to understand way, quite humorous, &c. Great instructor! 9: Yes, I got my money's worth, and indeed would recommend any RBS course. 10: Definitely. 11: Yes to both. 12: Yes! Already have, and others were waiting for my report and I will tell them I loved it!

15)  Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year? (If you have further RBS praise or concerns, or if you have suggestions for a new course, please contact Amanda Nelsen [] or Michael Suarez [].)

2: Do the reading and get a good night's sleep each night! 8: I would have no hesitation in recommending this course. 9: Take it. It is wonderful! 10: Do the readings, come and enjoy. 11: World-class instructors, best of all possible primary sources, hands-on opportunities like nowhere else. NOT to be missed!

Number of respondents: 12





Institution gave me leave


7 (58%)


I took vacation time


0 (0%)


N/A: self-employed, retired or had the summers off


3 (25%)


I am self-employed

Work has nothing to do with RBS course


2 (17%)




Institution paid tuition


4 (33%)


Institution paid tuition ___%


2 (17%)


I paid tuition myself


5 (42%)


Exchange or barter


0 (0%)


N/A: Self-employed, retired or scholarship

1 (8%)




Institution paid housing


1 (8%)


Institution paid for ___% of housing


3 (26%)


I paid for my own housing


6 (50%)


N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home


1 (8%)



1 (8%)





Institution paid travel


2 (17%)


Institution paid ___% of my travel


2 (17%)


I paid my own travel


6 (49%)


N/A: lived nearby


2 (17%)





There were three rare book librarians (25%), two librarians with no rare book duties (17%), one library assistant/clerk (8%), one full-time Ph.D. student (8%), one full-time B.A. student (8%), one assistant university professor (8%), one assistant college professor (8%), one teacher/professor (8%), one museum/cultural institution employee (8%).

How did you hear about this course?


RBS Website

3 (25%)

RBS Printed Schedule

1 (8%)

Work Colleague

3 (25%)


1 (8%)



Word of mouth

2 (17%)

RBS faculty or staff recommendation

2 (17%)




Where did you stay?

Brown College 2 (17%)

The Lawn

Cavalier Inn 2 (17%)

Budget Inn

Courtyard Marriott 3 (24%)


Hampton Inn & Suites 2 (17%)

Red Roof Inn 2 (17%)

Other 1 (8%)