RBS News

  • Three RBS Films Now on YouTube

    We are very pleased to announce that three Rare Book School films are now available via the RBS YouTube channel:

    Facsimile format sheets and the workbook to accompany The Anatomy of a Book are still available through the RBS online store; copies of the DVDs will remain available until our current stock is depleted.

    Posted 11:18 by RBS
  • RBS Announces Summer 2019 Course Schedule

    The spring and summer 2019 Rare Book School course schedule is available! Along with 24 courses in Charlottesville, RBS will also offer courses at the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania; the Free Library of Philadelphia; the Lilly Library at Indiana University Bloomington; the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University; the Grolier Club; the Thomas J. Watson Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; and the Harvard-Yenching Library at Harvard University.

    New courses for 2019 include:

    Applications for spring and summer 2019 courses will be accepted beginning in early January.

    See the full schedule.

    Posted 1 month, 27 days ago by RBS
  • Register Now for RBS Seminar at MIT (12–14 December)

    Rare Book School is sponsoring a two-and-a-half-day seminar, “Digital Sustainability for Cultural Collections” at the MIT Libraries in Cambridge, MA on Wednesday–Friday, 12–14 December 2018. Nancy Y. McGovern (Director for Digital Preservation at MIT Libraries) and Kari R. Smith (Institute Archivist and Program Head for Digital Archives at the MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections) will lead the seminar sessions.

    This seminar has been designed to be of interest to curators and librarians of all kinds who are or may become responsible for the long-term management of digital content, but signup is open to anyone with an interest in the topics covered. The cost to attend is $500.

    As space is limited, signup for the seminar will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. The registration deadline will be 28 November, but early registration is strongly encouraged.

    See the event page for more details and to sign up.

    Posted 2 months ago by RBS
  • RBS Scholarship & Fellowship Applications Now Available

    We are now accepting applications for the 2018 Rare Book School scholarship and fellowship cycle.

    Applications are open for all RBS-awarded scholarships (for both first-time and returning RBS students), for the RBS-RBMS Diversity Fellowship Program, and for the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography. For general queries about scholarships or fellowships, see the FAQs page. Participation in the scholarship/fellowship program implies acceptance of the scholarship and fellowship Terms and Conditions.

    To begin the application process, please log into your myRBS account (or create a new myRBS account). On the Home screen, click the “Apply for a Scholarship or Fellowship” button on the left side of the page. If you have any trouble with myRBS, see the FAQs page or email rbs_scholarships@virginia.edu.

    The application deadline is Thursday, 1 November 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

    See the Scholarships page for descriptions of the various scholarships available, or the RBS-RBMS Diversity Fellowship Program page and the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography page for information about each fellowship.

    Posted 3 months, 20 days ago by RBS
  • Now Accepting Applications for Fall 2018 & Winter 2019 Courses

    Applications are now being accepted via myRBS for six Rare Book School courses offered this fall and winter at the Morgan Library & Museum, the Library of Congress, and the University of Virginia.

    In New York City (28 October–2 November):

    In Washington, DC (2–7 December):

    In Charlottesville, VA (6–11 January):

    Please log in to your myRBS account or create a new account to begin the application process. To be considered for the first round of admissions decisions for the October course, submit your application(s) by 4 September; to be considered in the first round of admissions decisions for the December and January courses, submit your application(s) by 15 October. Applications received after these dates will be considered on a rolling basis until each course has reached capacity. Our summer 2019 schedule will be available in October.

    See the Course Application page for more details.

    * Please note that enrollment for course G-40, Physical Bibliography for Book Conservators, is currently limited to participants in the RBS-Mellon Library and Archives Conservation Education (LACE) Consortium Program.

    Posted 4 months, 12 days ago by RBS
  • Announcing “Archives, Memory & Identity: A Public Symposium”

    During a time when “alternative facts” are regularly discussed and disputed in the mainstream media, archive-based evidence has become increasingly valued for its ability to document the histories and perspectives of diverse peoples, cultures, and movements. We invite you to join Rare Book School and UVA Libraries for “Archives, Memory & Identity,” a public, one-day symposium that will bring together archivists, librarians, curators, digital humanists, academics, artists, and activists working on a range of cross-disciplinary, culturally sensitive projects that challenge traditional models for creating and stewarding visual and textual artifacts.

    Featuring panel discussions on access, storytelling, and community outreach, the symposium will include innovators working on a variety of projects—from established archives, including The HistoryMakers (recording African American oral histories since 1999), the South Asian American Digital Archive, and the Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal—to new initiatives, such as the Digital Library of the Middle East and UVA’s Lhasa VR. The symposium will delve into artists’ books and film as forms of documenting social movements and social change with activist-artist María Verónica San Martín and filmmaker Brian Wimer (director of Charlottesville: Our Streets). Drawing on the work of archivists Aaisha Haykal and Johan Kugelberg, the symposium will also explore the significance of forging relationships with community members, to build living and lasting collections that represent significant countercultures.

    The symposium is free and open to the general public, but space is limited. We ask those who plan to attend the symposium to register online by 3 September.

    This event is jointly sponsored by Rare Book School, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and UVA Libraries. The symposium will be held in the Auditorium of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia.

    See the event webpage for schedule details and to sign up.

    Posted 4 months, 17 days ago by RBS
  • Register Now for RBS Seminar at Winterthur & University of Delaware (9–11 September)

    Rare Book School is sponsoring a two-day seminar, Exploring Ephemera, at the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library and the University of Delaware on Monday and Tuesday 10–11 September 2018, preceded by a group dinner on Sunday, 9 September.

    This seminar has been designed to be of interest to curators, collectors, and librarians of all kinds who care for, research, and teach with ephemera collections, but signup is open to anyone with an interest in the topics covered. The cost to attend the seminar is $500.

    As space is limited, signup for the seminar will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. We encourage “early bird” sign up before 1 August to improve your chances of getting a seat.

    See the event page for more details and to sign up.

    Posted 5 months, 14 days ago by RBS
  • RBS Mourns the Loss of William S. Reese

    We were very saddened to learn of the death this morning of William S. Reese, longtime proprietor of the William Reese Company and a great friend to Rare Book School.

    Bill co-taught two Rare Book School courses, both with George A. Miles: “Western Americana” in 1986 and 1987, and “American Historical Bibliography” in 1989, 1990, and 1993. He also delivered four Rare Book School evening lectures, including the 2000 Sol M. Malkin Lecture and the 600th RBS lecture, in 2016:

    Bill Reese visiting Joel Silver's "Reference Sources for Researching Printed Americana" course in 2016

    Bill Reese visiting Joel Silver’s “Reference Sources for Researching Printed Americana” course in 2016

    Rare Book School was one of the original beneficiaries of the Reese Fellowships in the Print Culture of the Americas, established in 1998. Over the intervening years, this fellowship has enriched our School each summer with new talent. Bill’s steadfast financial support of RBS and many other institutions will long be remembered with gratitude.

    “Bill was an important friend to many, quick to offer good counsel and marvelous stories,” said RBS Executive Director Michael Suarez. “With Bill in the room, laughter was always likely. He will be remembered not only for his intellectual brilliance, but also for his many kindnesses, and the radiance of his ever-generous personality.”

    His many friends here at RBS send our deepest condolences to Bill’s family, friends, and colleagues.

    Posted June 4, 2018 by RBS
  • RBS Announces 2018 Summer Lecture Schedule

    We are thrilled to announce the lineup for this summer’s lecture series at the University of Virginia. The lectures are free and open to the public. All talks will take place 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 suite on the first floor of Alderman Library (Alderman 118).

    Monday, 4 June: Bethany Nowviskie, Executive Director, Digital Library Federation (DLF) at CLIR; Research Associate Professor of Digital Humanities, University of Virginia: Reconstitute the World: Machine-reading Archives of Mass Extinction

    Monday, 11 June: Emile Schrijver, Professor of Jewish Book History; General Director & CEO Jewish Cultural Quarter and Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam: The Jewish Book Since the Invention of Printing – NEH-GBHI Lecture

    Tuesday, 10 July: Amy V. Ogden, Associate Professor of French, University of Virginia: A Manuscript for Living and Dying Well

    Monday, 23 July: Matthew H. Edney, Osher Professor in the History of Cartography, University of Southern Maine; Director, History of Cartography Project, University of Wisconsin–Madison: The Materiality of Maps

    Wednesday, 25 July: Julie Nelson Davis, Professor, History of Art, University of Pennsylvania: Presenting the Yoshiwara in Monochrome and Full Color: The Annual Events of the ‘Azure Towers,’ Illustrated – NEH-GBHI Lecture

    Monday, 30 July: Cathleen A. Baker, Conservation Librarian Emerita, University of Michigan: New Research into John Baskerville’s Virgil (1757): Its Wove Paper and Typographical VariantsThe 2018 Sol. M. and Mary Ann O’Brian Malkin Lecture

    Wednesday, 1 August: Brian Cassidy, Owner, Brian Cassidy Bookseller: TIGER TIGER: Notes Toward a Bibliography of Duplication

    We are also extremely pleased to be able to offer a public lecture at our Philadelphia satellite session:

    Tuesday, 12 June: Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services, University of Pennsylvania Libraries: Is This Your Book? What Digitization Does to Manuscripts and What We Can Do About It. This lecture will begin at 6 p.m. in the Class of 1978 Pavilion, 6th Floor, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, University of Pennsylvania.

    For information on past lectures, see www.rarebookschool.org/lectures. Past lectures are also available via iTunes or your preferred podcast delivery system (search for “Rare Book School”).

    Posted May 21, 2018 by RBS
  • Instructor Change for Course B-10

    Please note that course B-10, Introduction to the History of Bookbinding, offered 8–13 July at UVA, will be taught by Karen Limper-Herz, a new member of the RBS faculty. Karen is Lead Curator for Incunabula and Sixteenth Century Printed Books at the British Library. A student of Mirjam Foot and Jan Storm van Leeuwen, she has worked with and studied bookbindings from different countries and periods for nearly twenty years, and regularly publishes and speaks about bookbindings in the U.K. and abroad. She is the Honorary Secretary of the Bibliographical Society (U.K.) and regularly attends and speaks at the annual conferences organized by the Arbeitskreis für die Erfassung, Erschließung und Erhaltung historischer Bucheinbände (AEB) in Germany.

    Posted April 24, 2018 by RBS
  • RBS Announces 2018-20 RBS-Mellon SoFCB Junior Fellows & 2018–19 RBS-UVA Fellows

    We are pleased to announce the 2018–20 Junior Fellows in the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography, as well as the 2018–19 cohort of RBS-UVA Fellows. Many congratulations to all the Fellows; we much look forward to seeing you at RBS soon!

    The 2018–20 RBS-Mellon SoFCB Junior Fellows are:

    • Jennifer Chuong – Ph.D. candidate, Department of History of Art & Architecture, Harvard University
    • Sonia N. Das – Assistant Professor of Linguistic Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, New York University
    • Brenna Wynn Greer – Knafel Assistant Professor of Social Sciences, Department of History, Wellesley College
    • Georgia Henley – Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of English; Center for Spatial & Textual Analysis, Stanford University
    • Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa – Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Department of Religious Studies, Occidental College
    • Kailani Polzak – C3 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Art History, Department of Art History & Studio Art, Williams College
    • Ayesha Ramachandran – Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, Department of Comparative Literature, Yale University
    • Deborah Schlein – Ph.D. candidate, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University
    • Joshua Teplitsky – Assistant Professor of History, Department of History, Stony Brook University
    • Martin A. Tsang – Cuban Heritage Collection Librarian & Curator of Latin American Collections, University of Miami Libraries, University of Miami

    The 2018–19 RBS-UVA Fellows are:

    • Sophie Abramowitz – Ph.D. student, Department of English
    • Neal Curtis – Ph.D. student, Department of English
    • Erik Harrington – Ph.D. student, McIntire Department of Art
    • Andrew Hill – Ph.D. student, Department of French
    • Micaela Kowalski – Ph.D. student, Department of History
    • Loreto Romero Martínez-Eiroa – Ph.D. student, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese
    • Madeline Zehnder – Ph.D. student, Department of English

     

    Posted April 17, 2018 by RBS
  • RBS Receives Jefferson Trust Grant for “Presswork” Project

    Rare Book School, in partnership with UVA Special Collections, has received a grant from The Jefferson Trust, an initiative of the UVA Alumni Association, to fund “Presswork: A Program for Hands-on Historical Printing & Research.” This two-year, public-facing project draws on a spectrum of technologies and experiential learning techniques to foster student- and faculty-led printing and research at the University of Virginia. The program will publicize and augment UVA’s prominence as a leading research center for the history of printing, while training undergraduate and graduate students in the art of historical letterpress and intaglio printing techniques that they will then demonstrate to a variety of audiences, including UVA undergraduate and graduate courses, K–12 students, UVA alumni, and members of the Charlottesville community.

    Program components include:

    • the RBS-UVA Presswork Fellowship Program, through which UVA undergraduate and graduate students will be provided with funding to attend a five-day Rare Book School course; participate in hands-on training sessions with senior printers; help lead printing demonstrations as teaching assistants; and share short reports about their experiences for publication on the UVA Special Collections blog and/or other outlets
    • the production of a short documentary on UVA’s unique historical printing presses, highlighting the University’s status as the only institution in the world with both a facsimile eighteenth-century wooden common press and a facsimile eighteenth-century wooden rolling press that are used for hands-on educational and research purposes
    • a permanent exhibition on the history of printing technologies, to be installed in the South Gallery of the Harrison Institute: the exhibition will include hands-on samples, free teaching aids, and keepsakes created using both eighteenth-century technologies and 3-D printing techniques
    • a public roundtable conversation led by experts in the history of letterpress and intaglio printing, as well as free public open houses/printing demonstrations throughout the grant period

    Watch this space for further announcements about Presswork programming!

    Posted April 17, 2018 by RBS
  • Watch Michael Suarez’s TEDxCharlottesville Talk, “Glorious Bookishness”

    RBS Executive Director Michael F. Suarez, S.J., recently delivered a TEDxCharlottesville talk, “Glorious Bookishness: Learning Anew in the Material World.” Click the link to watch the video, or go directly to YouTube.

    Posted February 20, 2018 by RBS
  • RBS Scholarship Awards Announced

    Rare Book School is pleased to announce the recipients of its Scholarship Committee awards, as well as the winners of the Buice Scholarships for returning RBS students, the first cohort of NEH-GBHI Scholarships, and the RBS-RBMS Diversity Fellowship. Congratulations!

    Directors’ Scholarship Fund:


    Catherine Albers
    Marc Beaudin
    Christina Bleyer
    Lindsay Borman
    Kyle Brett
    Keelin Burrows
    Kathryn Crim
    Nahali Croft
    Autumn Diaz
    Grant Glass
    Danielle Gravon
    Ana María Guzmán Borrero

    Charlotte Hand
    Sierra Lomuto
    Irene Lule
    Sean O’Neil
    Elspeth Olson
    Sean Parrott-Wolfe
    Treshani Perera
    Carissa Pfeiffer
    David Reagles
    Perachya Sorscher
    Spencer Stuart
    Leila Walker


    ABAA Southeast Chapter Scholarship: Reilly Cundiff

    ASECS Scholarship: Eileen Horansky

    Atlas Systems Scholarship: Soojeong Herring

    Bibliographical Society of America Scholarship: Tara Lyons

    BSUVA Scholarships:


    Katarzyna Bator
    José Beltrán
    Carly Boxer
    Melissa Filbeck

    Kelly Helm
    Taylor Johnson
    Genevieve Parente
    Oishani Sengupta


    William T. Buice III Scholarships:

    Rachel Bartgis
    Anna Branscome
    Kevin Chovanec
    Agnieska Czeblakow
    Diane Dias De Fazio
    Wendy Fall
    Anna Grau
    Jacob Haubenreich

    Leah Humenuck
    Meghan Kern
    Kimberly Schwenk
    Maria Shmygol
    E Mariah Spencer
    Julie Swierczek
    Justin Tonra

    Caxton Club Scholarship: Matthew Blackwell

    James Davis Scholarship: Malcolm Noble

    NEH-GBHI Scholarships:


    Lara Aase
    Victor Betts
    Ephranette Brown
    Brieanna Chillious
    Lisa Cruces
    Zayda Delgado
    Hoan-Vu Do
    Veronica Franco
    Juan-Pablo Gonzalez
    Kendra Greendeer
    Monica Hahn

    Nancy Hampton
    Houra Kadivar
    Marisa Méndez-Brady
    Veronica Ivette Mercado Oliveras
    DeLisa Minor Harris
    Philippe Mongeau
    Kristin Moriah
    Karen Ng
    Allyson Ota
    Emma Whittington
    Lizeth Zepeda


    New SHARP Scholar Bursary: Jose Maria Andras Porras

    RBS-RBMS Diversity Fellowships: Rafael A. Linares Blasini & Chido Muchemwa

    Posted January 9, 2018 by RBS
  • Apply Now for Spring and Summer 2018 Courses

    Applications for spring and summer 2018 courses are now being accepted via our online application system, myRBS. Along with 25 courses in Charlottesville, RBS will also offer courses at the Lilly Library at Indiana University Bloomington; the Thomas J. Watson Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Amherst College; Yale University; the University of Pennsylvania; and the Free Library of Philadelphia.

    Please log in to your myRBS account or create a new account to begin the application process.

    Applications for Rare Book School courses are considered on a rolling basis until a course has reached enrollment capacity. To be considered for the first round of admissions decisions, submit your application(s) for spring and summer courses by 19 February.

    See the Course Application page for more details.

    Posted January 5, 2018 by RBS
  • Ruth-Ellen St. Onge Promoted to Associate Curator of Collections

    Rare Book School is pleased to announce the promotion of Ruth-Ellen St. Onge to the position of Associate Curator of Collections and Special Assistant to the Associate Director.

    Ruth-Ellen first joined the RBS staff in June of 2015. She was graduated from the University of Toronto with a Ph.D. in French and an MIS in information studies and library science; both her doctoral and master’s level studies were carried out in conjunction with Toronto’s collaborative program in Book History and Print Culture. During the past two-and-a-half years and in the role of RBS’s Assistant Curator of Collections, Ruth-Ellen has considerably developed the School’s teaching collections by working closely with RBS’s staff and international faculty. In 2016 and 2017, she spearheaded the development of the School’s new collections database, Silva, and led the search for RBS’s Florence Fearrington Rare Materials Cataloger—all part of a collections revitalization initiative that she undertook with RBS’s Associate Director and Curator of Collections, Barbara Heritage. “Ruth has been an invaluable member of our team from day one,” remarked Heritage. “The collections have thrived under her care, as have our collections staff members and colleagues. Her contributions to RBS have enriched the School’s community in so many ways. She’s a real bridge builder, and we are extremely fortunate to have her here at RBS and at UVA.” In her new role as Associate Curator, Ruth-Ellen is shaping and expanding RBS’s student-led exhibition program. In the spring of 2018, she will oversee and co-curate an exhibition on graphic novels and comic books with a team of four UVA students.

    A native of Canada and an active leader in the international bibliographical community, Ruth-Ellen serves as the President of the Bibliographical Society of Canada, as a member of the Program Committee of the Bibliographical Society of America, and as a member-at-large of the executive council of the Canadian Association for the Study of Book Culture.

    Posted December 7, 2017 by RBS
  • RBS Announces Spring and Summer 2018 Course Schedule

    The spring and summer 2018 Rare Book School course schedule is available! Along with 25 courses in Charlottesville, RBS will also offer courses at the Lilly Library at Indiana University Bloomington; the Thomas J. Watson Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Amherst College; Yale University; the University of Pennsylvania; and the Free Library of Philadelphia.

    New courses for 2018 include:

    Alice Carver-Kubik joins the RBS faculty as the instructor for course I-35, The Identification of Photography Print Processes. Also beginning in 2018, Ryan Greenwood will be assisting Mike Widener with course C-85, Law Books: History & Connoisseurship, and Lynne Farrington will be assisting Peter Stallybrass with course H-105, The Bible and Histories of Reading. Course M-85, Introduction to Islamic Manuscripts, taught by Marianna Shreve Simpson, returns to the schedule and will be taught in 2018 at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

    Applications for spring and summer 2018 courses will be accepted beginning in early January.

    See the full schedule.

    Posted November 2, 2017 by RBS
  • Register Now for RBS Seminar at MIT (11–12 December)

    Rare Book School is sponsoring a two-day seminar, “Digital Sustainability for Cultural Collections” at the MIT Libraries in Cambridge, MA on Monday and Tuesday, 11–12 December 2017. Nancy Y. McGovern (Director for Digital Preservation at MIT Libraries) and Kari R. Smith (Institute Archivist and Program Head for Digital Archives at the MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections) will lead the seminar sessions.

    This seminar has been designed to be of interest to curators and librarians of all kinds who are or may become responsible for the long-term management of digital content, but signup is open to anyone with an interest in the topics covered. The cost to attend is $500.

    As space is limited, signup will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. We encourage “early bird” signup before 8 November, to improve your chances of getting a seat.

    See the event page for more details and to sign up.

    Posted October 24, 2017 by RBS
  • RBS Scholarship & Fellowship Applications Now Available

    We are now accepting applications for the 2017 Rare Book School scholarship and fellowship cycle.

    Applications are open for all RBS-awarded scholarships (for both first-time and returning RBS students), for the RBS-RBMS Diversity Fellowship Program, and for the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical BibliographyAmong the many scholarship opportunities available, RBS is delighted to announce that we will award up to 24 NEH-GBHI Scholarships this year. For general queries about scholarships or fellowships, see the FAQs page. Participation in the scholarship/fellowship program implies acceptance of the scholarship and fellowship Terms and Conditions.

    To begin the application process, please log into your myRBS account (or create a new myRBS account). On the Home screen, click the “Apply for a Scholarship or Fellowship” button on the left side of the page. If you have any trouble with myRBS, see the FAQs page or email rbs_scholarships@virginia.edu.

    The application deadline is Wednesday, 1 November 2017 at 5 p.m. EDT.

    See the Scholarships page for descriptions of the various scholarships available, or the RBS-RBMS Diversity Fellowship Program page and the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography page for information about each fellowship.

    Posted September 1, 2017 by RBS
  • RBS Mourns the Loss of David Ferris

    ferris_july_1989This weekend we received the sad news that former Rare Book School staff and faculty member David Ferris died at his home in Cambridge, MA on 18 August. David was involved with Rare Book School beginning in 1986, serving as joint assistant director in 1990 and 1991 and as Associate Director from 1993 through 1996. He co-taught “Introduction to Descriptive Bibliography” with Terry Belanger during seven RBS summers. David served as Curator of Rare Books and Early Manuscripts at the Harvard Law School Library from 1991 until 2011.

    Our sincere condolences to David’s family and colleagues.

    We can think of no greater tribute to David than to reprise here Terry Belanger’s Dedication of the 1993 Rare Book School Yearbook:

    I first met David Ferris in the fall of 1984, when he came down from Boston (where he had been working in a non-professional position in the Harvard Law Library) to talk to me about the master’s program in rare books I was then directing at the Columbia University School of Library Service. He enrolled in the program in the fall of 1985, completed his coursework the following spring, and shortly thereafter joined the staff of Rare Book School—on which he has served ever since. (He also returned to the Harvard Law Library, where he is now Curator of Rare Books.) In RBS 1990 and 1991 he and Carol Reid Briggs became joint Assistant Directors of RBS. There was no RBS 1992 (thank goodness); in 1993, with the Book Arts Press’s move from Columbia University to the University of Virginia, David Ferris became RBS’s sole Associate Director.

    ferris_collating_1991At UVA we confronted new spaces—classroom, library, social, dormitory, hotel—in a new environment—transportation, suppliers, restaurants, field trips. Except for Ferris and for James Davis, the entire 1993 RBS staff was new; none of its other members had ever even attended RBS before, let alone helped run one. We managed, in part because one does manage, and in part because of extraordinary cooperation from the University of Virginia Libraries. But mostly we managed because David Ferris was Associate Director of RBS; if RBS 1993 was a logistical success (read on), it was so because of him.

    During the occasional eyes of the RBS 1993 hurricane, he sometimes murmured, “I am a saint. I am a @#$%()@! saint.” Every RBS needs one (especially any RBS run by me). His day typically ran from 11 to 11 on Sundays, and from 7 a.m. until between 11 p.m. and midnight, Mondays through Fridays. Saturday is the RBS staff’s day off; on Saturdays, he generally worked only a half day (i.e. eight hours).

    What does the Associate Director do? He gets to the Book Arts Press an hour before breakfast begins, and makes sure that no fuses have blown again this morning (memo: rewire the Pressroom before RBS 1994). He assembles today’s shopping list (“16 clipboards and 20 large window fans, please”). He checks with faculty members about their course needs (it’s 134 pages and you want it spiral bound? would morning break be soon enough?”) and discusses the day’s duties with the RBS operations managers (“the field trip today is to Baltimore, three-and-a-half hours north of us; you can’t miss it”). He undertakes various ambassadorial missions to Alderman Library (“can we borrow a globe? some chairs? the staff lounge? the third floor? the third floor and the first floor?”). He says hello to the commissars (“well, yes, it was going to be 16 for dinner after the lecture tonight, but it’s got larger … well, 28, I think, so far …”). He schmoozes with students. He touches base with me (“Let me make sure I’ve got this right: you want us to take the schooldesk chairs out of 301 and put them into the Studio and take the tables out of the Studio and put them into the BAP classroom and take the wooden chairs out of the BAP classroom and put them somewhere else and take the stuffed chairs out of 201 and put them into 301 and …”). In the interstices, he works on the format and collation of 24 sets of books for the RBS Week 4 Descriptive Bibliography course, which he will be co-teaching (“do you have any more octavos in 8’s and 4’s? we’re short five examples”). He takes naps, but not very many of them.

    And, if I am lucky, he returns to RBS next year.

    Additional photographs of David Ferris at RBS, both from the summer of 1993. Click for larger version.

    ferris_reception_1993  ferris_tb_pulling_1993

    Posted August 30, 2017 by RBS