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!