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RBS News Feed: 2012

2012 Scholarship Awards Announced

[19 December 2012] Rare Book School is pleased to announce the winners of its 2012 Scholarship Committee awards. Congratulations to all!

Directors' Scholarship Fund:

Barbara Bieck
Brian McDonald
Sarah Bull
Christopher Ohge
Julie Christenson
Kate Phillips
Alison Clemens
Jessica Plummer
Sarah Dauterive
Jennifer Robertson
Erin Fletcher
Sal Robinson
Virginia Gilmartin
Molly Schwartz
Mary Haegert
Michelle Sellars
Erika Kihlman
Amy Sopcak-Joseph
Abby Lang
Alice Tsay
Mary-Margaret Mahoney

ASECS Scholarship: Zachary Hutchins

Atlas Systems Scholarship: David Fernandez

BSA-RBS Scholarship: Jennifer Newman

James Davis Scholarship: Alena McNamara

SHARP-RBS Scholarship:

Emily Monty 
Jessica Rogers
Jonathan Olson  Jonathan Thayer 

RBS Announces Its 2013 Course Schedule

[31 October 2012] RBS is excited to announce its course schedule for 2013, a double-anniversary—30 years in operation and 20 years at the University of Virginia! This year's schedule includes some major expansions, featuring the addition of several new courses and new host venues, including Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania. See the full schedule here.

Julia Miller to Give Clay Lecture and Seminar on 24 and 25 October

Poster designed by Michael Russem at Kat Ran Press

[11 October 2012] RBS is pleased to announce its upcoming Clay lecture and seminar, to be delivered by Julia Miller, book conservator and independent scholar, on Wednesday, 24 October and Thursday, 25 October. Both events are free and open to the public, although space in the seminar is limited.

Julia Miller
Book Conservator & Independent Scholar

Standing in the Shadow [of the Text]:
The Value of Studying Historical Bindings

Wednesday, 24 October 2012
5:30–6:30 p.m.
The Auditorium of the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture and the Albert and Shirley Small
Special Collections Library

The lecture will describe the importance of studying original bindings and how that study has progressed over time. The text contained in a book is of first importance; the binding is constructed to connect and protect it. United they present an idea in time and allow us to see, read, and handle our written history clothed in its original garment. Separated, the cover and text are each deprived of much of their vitality. The lecture will conclude with suggestions for multi-discipline involvement in projects to identify and describe historical bindings. The PowerPoint presentation will be supported by examples of historical bindings, some available for handling.

The lecture will be followed by a reception in 112 Alderman Library.


Mysteries Abound: Observing and Interpreting the Physical Elements of Historical Bindings
A seminar taught by Julia Miller
Thursday, 25 October 2012; 3:30–5:00 p.m.
The Byrd/Morris Seminar Rooms of the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American
History, Literature, and Culture and the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library

Hand-bound books come in all shapes and sizes and degrees of physical complexity. This seminar will introduce participants to a variety of physical elements found on historical bindings in our collections. Some of these elements are truly hidden, and some are visible but are difficult to describe. We will briefly look at examples of “extra” elements ranging from overcovers, artwork, old mends, and repurposed materials, and discuss the value of these often surprising additions. We will close by exploring how a thorough understanding of the physical book can be gained and transmitted to support research involving historical bindings. The lecture will be supported by examples of historical bindings, some available for participants to handle. 

To sign up for this seminar, please contact RBS Development Assistant Natasha Richter at nlr9t@virginia.edu by Friday, 19 October. Space is limited and acceptance is on a first-come, first-served basis.

New Mellon Fellowship Program at Rare Book School

[1 October 2012] Rare Book School has been awarded a grant in the amount of $896,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund a new fellowship program, the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in Critical Bibliography. The aim of the program is to reinvigorate bibliographical studies within the humanities by introducing doctoral candidates, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty to specialized skills, methods, and professional networks for conducting advanced research with material texts. Fellows will receive funding for RBS course attendance, as well as generous stipends, and support for research-related travel to special collections, over the course of three years. The deadline for application to the program is December 1, 2012. Interested scholars are encouraged to apply as soon as possible; see the RBS-Mellon Fellowship page for more details. View press release

RBS Faculty Member Tom Congalton Elected President of ILAB

Photo courtesy ilab.org

[25 September 2012] The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) has elected Tom Congalton as its new president in a unanimous vote. Congalton has taught at RBS since 2008, where he co-teaches The Printed Book since 1800: Description & Analysis with Katherine Reagan.

Jennifer Howard of The Chronicle of Higher Education Blogs about RBS and the Born-Digital

[24 September 2012] Part 4: "Rushdie's Digital Shadow, or How to Create Electronic Archives"

[23 August 2012] Part 3: "CSI: Rare Book School, or Computer Forensics in the Archives"

[22 August 2012] Part 2: "Digital Materiality, or Learning to Love our Machines"

[26 July 2012] Part 1: "But is it a book?"

Now Accepting Applications for RBS 2012 Scholarships

[17 September 2012] Please check the Rare Book School Scholarships page for the newly updated application form for the 2012 scholarship cycle. The application deadline for 2012 is October 15.

RBS Director Michael Suarez Helps Launch OSEO in Oxford

[7 September 2012] See this short video to learn more:

Rare Book School featured in The New York Times

[24 June 2012] Rare Book School is featured in today's New York Times—the lead article in the Arts section!

If you like Jennifer Schuessler's piece as much as we do, we think you'll love our eight-minute video:

RBS Announces 2012 Summer Lecture Series Schedule

[24 May 2012] The staff at Rare Book School are thrilled to announce the exciting lineup for this summer's lecture series! The schedule is packed with talks by specialists from a wide-array of book-related subjects—typography, history, conservation, and more.

The lectures are free and open to the public. All talks will take place on Monday and Wednesday evenings at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library (unless otherwise noted). Lectures will last 30–40 minutes with 10 minutes for Q&A, and will be followed by a reception in the RBS space on the first floor of Alderman Library. Information regarding lecture titles and topics will be announced as the summer progresses.

Date Lecturer Title Background
4 June Jeff Peachey "Reconstructing Diderot: Eighteenth Century French Bookbinding"

Conservator and Maker of Conservation Tools

6 June Sören Edgren "Papermaking and Woodblock Printing in Chinese Book History" East Asian Studies Department, Princeton University
11 June Ed Hirschland "A Funhouse Mirror—Reflecting on Books, Collecting and Chicago History" President, The Landhardt Corporation
13 June Anne-Marie Eze "A Most Fascinating and Dangerous Pursuit: Rare Books at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum" Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
2 July Johan Kugelberg "Documenting Counter-Culture: Problems and Solutions in the Preservation of Unpopular Historical Narratives" Author/Curator/Archivist
4 July** Matthew P. Brown "Bell's Liberties" Director, The Center for the Book at the University of Iowa
16 July Stuart Bennett "Trade Bookbinding in the British Isles, 1660-1800" Owner, Stuart Bennett Rare Books
18 July Sue Gosin "Rock, Paper, Scissors: The Revival of Hand Papermaking in the 20th & 21st Centuries" Co-founder of Dieu Donné Press & Paper
23 July Matthew Carter "Genuine Imitations" - 2012 Sol. M. and Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin Lecture Type Designer and 2010 MacArthur Fellow
25 July Ezra Greenspan "The Biographer and the Mysteries of the Archive: The Case of William Wells Brown" Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Chair in Humanities, Southern Methodist University

**The July 4th lecture will take place in Jefferson Hall on the West Range.

Now Accepting Applications for October 2012 Course

Photo courtesy aasid.parsons.edu

[16 May 2012] RBS is now accepting applications for Introduction to Illuminated Manuscripts (M-50), to be taught by Roger Wieck at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City. Wieck, the Morgan's Curator of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts, has taught the course since 2001. The course, which is aimed at newcomers to the field, offers a rare chance to work closely with the Morgan's world-class manuscripts collections.

Applications are available here.

Changes at Rare Book School!

[11 May 2012] We are delighted to share some exciting news: Rare Book School is renovating some 2,500 square feet of newly acquired space adjacent to our current space for our students and faculty members. By the beginning of our summer sessions, we'll have a new classroom, collections vault, reception space, and galley kitchen! To read more and view pictures of the continuing construction, visit our renovations page.

UVA Special Collections Appoints Two New Curators

[7 May 2012] Earlier this year, the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at UVA announced the appointment of two new curators: Molly Schwartzburg and David R. Whitesell.

From Library Director Nichole Bouché:

Molly Schwartzburg, presently Cline Curator of Literature at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin, and David R. Whitesell, Curator of Books at the American Antiquarian Society,  in Worcester, MA, will join the staff of the UVA Libraries in April, combining their diverse backgrounds and experience to provide leadership and direction for the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library's rare and special collections in American history, American literature, European literature,  and the history of the book, printing, and illustration, as well as our many specially focused collections, such as the Marion duPont Scott Sporting Collection,  the Albert H. Small Declaration of Independence Collection, and the Douglas H. Gordon Collection of French Books.

Molly Schwartzburg began her tenure at the Ransom Center in 2006, and has worked closely with the HRC’s leadership to build and promote the Center’s British and American literature collections. She also has been active in interpreting collections to the academic and research community, and to the general public, through her contributions to HRC exhibitions, public programs, and digital initiatives. Her current online exhibit, "The Greenwich Village Bookshop Door: A Portal to Bohemia, 1920-1925," was recently featured in the New York Times Book Review (link to article).

Prior to her appointment at the HRC, Molly was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Stanford University, where she also received her Ph. D. in English and American literature. She received her M.A. in English from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and her A. B. in English from Harvard University.  She is presently working towards an M.L.I.S. at UT Austin. Prior to her graduate studies, she worked briefly in publishing and in the book trade. Molly is an active member of Rare Book and Manuscript Section (RBMS) of the American Library Association/Association of College and Research Libraries, and currently chairs the Exhibition Awards Committee. She has also published articles and spoken on a variety of topics in literature and author studies.

Whitesell has taught at RBS in various capacities since 1998.

David R. Whitesell has been Curator of Books at the American Antiquarian Society since 2006, building the AAS’s premiere collections of pre-1877 American imprints.  In addition, he participates in research and instruction outreach activities, and also served as content coordinator for the AAS’s contributions to the Sabin Americana, 1500-1929 (Gale Digital Collections) project.  David is currently preparing the AAS’s bicentennial exhibition, for the fall of 2012.

Prior to his appointment at the AAS, David served as Rare Book Cataloger at The Houghton Library,  Harvard University, and before that worked in New York for Richard C. Ramer Old & Rare Books, and as a cataloguer in the Books & Manuscripts Department of Sotheby’s. David received his M.S. from the School of Library Service at Columbia University, and his A.B. in History from the University of Michigan. He has published articles and spoken on a variety of topics in bibliography, the book trade, and special collections librarianship, and is on the faculty of the Rare Book School (UVA).  He is an active member of RBMS, as well as of several leading bibliographical societies, including the Grolier Club and the Bibliographical Society of America.


RBS Faculty Member Richard Noble Identifies Paul Revere Engraving

[19 April 2012] Brown University Rare Books Cataloguer and longtime RBS faculty member Richard Noble was recently featured in both a National Public Radio story and a New York Times article concerning the John Hay Library's recent discovery of a rare Paul Revere engraving. The engraving, which portrays Jesus' baptism in an unusual manner, is one of only five known copies in existence.

Noble, who has taught at RBS since the late 1990s, will be teaching RBS course Advanced Descriptive Bibliography (G-50) this summer during the 16-20 July session.

Now Accepting Applications for the Tavistock Books Educational Scholarship

[12 March 2012] The Tavistock Books Educational Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship opportunity that is available to all antiquarian booksellers interested in taking Joel Silver's course, Reference Sources for Researching Rare Books (L-25), 23-27 July 2012. One Tavistock Scholarship will be awarded in 2012. Preference will be given to individuals in the early stages of their careers, and to those who would not otherwise be able to attend RBS without scholarship assistance.

To apply for the Tavistock scholarship, please submit a 2012 summer application to RBS no later than 16 April 2012. In a cover letter, discuss your reasons for applying for the scholarship to attend "Reference Sources for Researching Rare Books"; please include a brief description of your work in the antiquarian book trade, financial needs, and other relevant information. While not required, a recommendation letter from an ABAA member to accompany the application would be beneficial. Scholarship applicants will be notified of decisions by 30 April 2012.

Now Accepting Applications for the 2012 George Robert Kane Scholarship

[7 March 2012] The Northern California Chapter of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (NCC/ABAA) is now accepting applications for the 2012 George Robert Kane Scholarship, which will provide funding to attend courses offered by Rare Book School, the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, or California Rare Book School (Los Angeles). These scholarships honor the memory of long-time NCC/ABAA member George Robert Kane (6 October 1913--28 November 2009) and are designed to promote professionalism and education relevant to the book trade.

To apply, please fill out the application form (PDF) and send it to Chapter Secretary Chris Lowenstein at chris@bookhuntersholiday.com. Please contact Ms. Lowenstein with any questions or comments.

Applications are due by 5 pm on 11 May 2012.

UPenn Symposium in Honor of RBS Faculty Member Daniel Traister

[2 March 2012] In honor of Daniel Traister on the occasion of his retirement, the University of Pennsylvania Libraries will host a symposium, 30-31 March, examining the worlds of librarians and scholars and how these worlds intersect with and influence each other. Themes to be addressed by symposium speakers will include:

   * History of Collections and Collecting: Encyclopedism vs. Curiosity
   * Epistemology and Its Classifications in Libraries
   * History of Librarianship/Portraits of Librarians
   * The Role of the Librarian: Scholar and/or Professional
   * Changes and Continuities in the Digital Age: Textual Conversion, Reading Practices, and Knowledge

Crossing disciplines and time periods, these themes reflect some of the broad interests that Dan has brought to his own work at institutions including the New York Public Library and the University of Pennsylvania. Dan has shared his insights with colleagues and students at those institutions as well as at Rare Book School, where for many years he taught courses and influenced a new generation of librarians. In addition, he has published many articles and reviews on scholarly and library-related topics.

Keynote addresses will be delivered by Roger Chartier (Collège de France and University of Pennsylvania) and Michael F. Suarez, S.J. (University of Virginia and Director, Rare Book School). Other speakers include John Bidwell (Morgan Library), Rachel Buurma (Swarthmore College), Rosemary Cullen (Brown University), Lynne Farrington (University of Pennsylvania), James Green (Library Company of Philadelphia), Andrea Immel (Princeton University), Zachary Lesser (University of Pennsylvania), Jack Lynch (Rutgers University), Kathy Peiss (University of Pennsylvania), Alice Schreyer (University of Chicago), Jacob Soll (Rutgers University), and Peter Stallybrass (University of Pennsylvania).

Registration is free and available on the website. A tentative schedule has been posted.

RBS Faculty Member Timothy Barrett Featured in New York Times Article

[1 March 2012] University of Iowa research scientist, 2009 MacArthur Fellow, papermaking historian and longtime RBS faculty member Timothy Barrett was recently featured in a New York Times article, "Can a Papermaker Help to Save Civilization?" Published on 17 February, the article follows his annual washi Japanese-style papermaking process and features an excellent photographic slideshow. Barrett will be teaching The History of European & American Papermaking 11-15 June, alongside Morgan Library Books Curator John Bidwell. The two have taught the course together off-and-on sice 1987.



RBS Clay Lectures

[14 February 2012]

H. Tomás Gómez-Arostegui
Associate Professor of Law, Lewis & Clark Law School

Copyright at Common Law before 1710
and Its Modern Implications

Thursday, 1 March 2012
5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
The Auditorium of the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture and the Albert and Shirley Small
Special Collections Library

In this lecture, Prof. H. Tomás Gómez-Arostegui will discuss the origins of Anglo-American copyright law and will address, in particular, whether a copyright in published works existed under the common law of England before 1710, which was the year the first modern copyright statute was enacted. His lecture will examine new evidence from the National Archives of twenty unreported copyright-infringement suits that were filed in courts of equity before 1710.

The cases are significant for two reasons. First, legal historians have assumed that no such lawsuits were filed before 1710.Rather, the conventional view has been that suits enforcing a common-law copyright arose only after the statutory terms of the newly enacted copyright statute of 1710 began to expire in the 1730s. Second, the cases are especially important because the origin of copyright has been under question in recent years as scholars—including legal historians and book-trade historians—have begun to more critically examine the theoretical and historical bases of copyright law. At the heart of the debate is whether to treat copyright as a natural right or property right, on the one hand, or as a privilege that was created solely by statute. These differing viewpoints carry hefty baggage because they set the default basis of copyright law. The common-law view suggests that the original purpose of copyright was to protect authors and their assigns in their works. The statutory view suggests, however, that copyright was created principally for the benefit of the public and that the rights given to authors were merely incidental to that purpose. The latter view has been gaining traction in recent years as scholars have attempted to prove that common-law copyright was a myth.

Apart from delving into this legal question, Prof. Gómez's lecture will offer insights into the operation of the book trade in London in the years before the copyright statute of 1710. This lecture will thus be of value to those interested in copyright, the book trade, or legal history.

The lecture will be followed by a reception in 116 Alderman Library.


"Civil Legal Records of the English Courts before 1800:
Finding and Interpreting Documents Relating to the Book Trade"

A seminar taught by H. Tomás Gómez-Arostegui
Friday, 2 March 2012; 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
The Byrd/Morris Seminar Rooms of the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American
History, Literature, and Culture and the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library

Civil litigation records provide one of the richest sources of information still extant on the book trade in the 17th and 18th centuries. Already known by many bibliographers and book-trade historians as potential treasure troves, the records are often elusive, difficult to navigate, and sometimes seemingly impenetrable. During this seminar, Professor Gómez-Arostegui will explain the where and the what of the records generated by the principal courts of England, focusing particularly on the records of the Court of Chancery, where many cases involving the book trade were filed. His presentation will offer attendees a multi-media experience, as he will make extensive use of his database of over 2,000 high-resolution images of court records (of nearly every conceivable type) from 1560 to 1800 that he has collected over six years of regular visits to the National Archives in London.  

To sign up for this seminar, please contact RBS Program Director Amanda Nelsen at an2b@virginia.edu by February 27, 2012. Space is limited and acceptance is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note: Ms Miller's March lecture and seminar have been cancelled and will be rescheduled for fall 2012. 

(You can download the Clay Lectures poster as a PDF here.)

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