L-135. Reference Sources for Researching Printed Western Americana

Joel Silver

Course Length: 12 hours
Course Week: 24–25 June 2023
Format: in person, Indiana University in Bloomington, IN
Fee: $800

The American West has long been a popular field for book collectors, antiquarian booksellers, and institutional libraries, and bibliographers have produced a large number of reference works related to it. In this two-day course, we’ll examine more than 100 printed and electronic bibliographies, catalogues, and other reference sources, which focus on printed materials relating to, or printed in, the American West through the early twentieth century, as this geographical area has been variously defined by those in the world of rare books.

Western Americana has an especially rich and readable body of reference literature, and the course will cover works by some of its most interesting authors, including Henry R. Wagner, Ramon F. Adams, Thomas W. Streeter, and William S. Reese. In the class sessions, the instructor will focus on details related to the compilation of each of the selected sources and will provide information about its strengths and weaknesses, as well as strategies on how it can be used effectively. Students will receive listings containing bibliographical information on the sources discussed, along with reproductions of selected pages or entries from many of the sources.

The course is intended for special collections librarians, antiquarian booksellers, and collectors, at all levels who are interested in finding out more about the reference literature related to printed Western Americana, and who would like to learn more about those who have produced it.

Course History

Joel Silver teaches this course.

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Joel Silver

Joel Silver

Joel Silver is Director of the Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, where he has worked since 1983. He has published a number of articles on rare books and book collecting in AB Bookman’s Weekly and Fine Books & Collections Magazine. He has taught courses in many subjects related to rare books in the Department of Information and Library Science at Indiana University, where he serves as the Director of the Special Collections Specialization.

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