Category Archives: Book Arts

2/2 @ 6PM “Blooks”: The Arts of Books that Aren’t

A panel discussion with Mindell Dubansky (Metropolitan Museum of Art), Lynn Festa (Rutgers University), and Bruce and Lynn Heckman (collectors).  Part of the Book History Colloquium at Columbia.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

6:00 PM8:30 PM

April 16th @ 6:00 PM – Book History Colloquium: “The Geography of History: Plotting Columbus in Map and Narrative”

 

Geography of History

 Lindsay Van Tine, Ph.D. Candidate in English, Columbia University

Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 6:00 PM

Butler Library, Room 523

In the nineteenth century, an era in which geography was held to be the “eye of history,” books ranging from Bibles to exploration narratives included prominent fold-out maps. Yet modern scholarly editing and digitization practices have made these crucial paratexts invisible to most readers, and even book historians have tended to overlook them as the province of cartographic history. Taking the fold-out maps appended to Washington Irving’s A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828) as a case study, this talk will explore their material and formal features to shed new light on the geopolitics of Irving’s bestselling work. The maps reconstruct Columbus’ transatlantic routes on the basis of fifteenth-century documents recovered from Spain’s imperial archives and plot these routes on the most up-to-date, scientifically-surveyed hydrographic charts, thus materializing the legacy of “discovery” by collapsing past and present into a single geographic frame. Maps like these have much to show us about the material links between book and map printing, the relation of narrative history to geography, and the spatial imaginaries of the nineteenth-century Atlantic World.

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Lindsay Van Tine is a Ph.D. Candidate in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University specializing in American literatures to 1865, with a particular focus on entangled Atlantic World colonialisms, New World historiography, Anglo-American proprietary authorship, and archival accumulation in the United States. She is currently completing a dissertation entitled “Translated Conquests: Archive, History, and Territory in Hemispheric American Literatures, 1823-1854,” which bridges hemispheric studies and book history to explore the process by which the United States claimed New World history and territory through the material archive of Spanish empire. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Library Company of Philadelphia, and the Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture at the University of Virginia.

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The Book History Colloquium at Columbia University, open to any discipline, aims to provide a broad outlet for the scholarly discussion of book history, print culture, the book arts, and bibliographical research, and (ideally) the promotion of research and publication in these fields. Our presenters include Columbia faculty members and advanced graduate students, and scholars of national prominence from a range of institutions.

Questions? Email Karla Nielsen.

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All sessions take place 6pm in 523 Butler Library, Columbia Morningside Campus, unless otherwise noted.

3/23 @ 6:30 PM – Book History Colloquium: “Books & Barrels: Readers and Reading in Colonial America”

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Anthony Grafton, Henry Putnam University Professor of History, Princeton University

NOTE: This event will take place at The New York Society Library: 53 East 79th Street (at Madison Ave.); RSVP information below.

The settlers of New England and the Mid-Atlantic states brought many practices with them from New England. One of them was reading: a particular kind of reading, intensive, engaged, and carried out with pen in hand. Lawyers, fur traders and alchemists worked their way through difficult and demanding books, many of them in Latin, and recorded what they thought of them on blank pages and in margins. This lecture will examine some of these readers—notably the members of the Winthrop family, many of whose books are held at the New York Society Library, and James Logan of Philadelphia—and their books.

Anthony Grafton is the Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton University. Professor Grafton’s special interests lie in the cultural history of Renaissance Europe, the history of books and readers, the history of scholarship and education in the West from Antiquity to the 19th century, and the history of science from Antiquity to the Renaissance.  Professor Grafton is the author of ten books and the coauthor, editor, coeditor, or translator of nine others. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1989), the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (1993), the Balzan Prize for History of Humanities (2002), and the Mellon Foundation’s Distinguished Achievement Award (2003), and is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the British Academy. Professor Grafton’s current project is a large-scale study of the science of chronology in 16th- and 17th-century Europe: how scholars attempted to assign dates to past events, reconstruct ancient calendars, and reconcile the Bible with competing accounts of the past.

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To RSVP please contact the NYSL events office either at events@nysoclib.org or (212) 288-6900 x230 and indicate that you want to attend the Columbia BHC Grafton event.

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Co-sponsored with The New York Society Library

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Book History Colloquium: Catalogue as Map in the Library of Ferdinand Columbus

1404767983971Thurs., November 13th at 6:00 PM in 523 Butler Library

Seth Kimmel, Assistant Professor, Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, Columbia University

Ferdinand Columbus (Christopher’s second son) was an avid bibliophile who amassed one of the largest libraries of the sixteenth century. The series of catalogues that he devised to navigate his collection have long captivated historians of the book. Yet Ferdinand was an accomplished cartographer as well as a librarian. Along with a team of experts based in his hometown of Seville, Ferdinand helped to compile peninsular topographical data and to keep the Crown’s world map up-to-date, even as he worked tirelessly to build his book and print collection. Drawing on Ferdinand’s catalogues as well as a series of testaments composed around the time of his death, this presentation examines the intertwined relationship between bibliography and cartography in the early modern period.

Seth Kimmel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures at Columbia University. His research focuses on Early Modern Iberia, theories of secularism and religion, the history of reading, and cultural exchange and conflict among Iberian Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Kimmel’s current book project is an intellectual history of New Christian assimilation. The book argues that canon law, Oriental Studies, and history writing were all transformed by hotly contested debates over eradicating Islam and Judaism from the Iberian Peninsula and converting non-Christians elsewhere in the Spanish empire.

The Book History Colloquium at Columbia University, open to any discipline, aims to provide a broad outlet for the scholarly discussion of book history, print culture, the book arts, and bibliographical research, and (ideally) the promotion of research and publication in these fields. Our presenters include Columbia faculty members and advanced graduate students, and scholars of national prominence from a range of institutions.

Questions? Email Karla Nielsen.

All sessions take place 6:00 PM in 523 Butler Library, Columbia Morningside Campus, unless otherwise noted.

Book History Colloquium: “Traces in the Stacks: 19th-Century Book Use and the Future of Library Collections”

Tues., October 28th @ 6:00 PM

Andrew Stauffer, Associate Professor of English and Director of NINES, University of Virginia

The Book Traces Project engages the question of the future of the print record in the wake of wide-scale digitization. College and university libraries increasingly reconfigure access to nineteenth-century texts through public-domain versions via repositories such as Google Books on the assumption that copies of any given nineteenth-century edition are identical. The Book Traces Project argues otherwise, focusing attention on the customizations made by original owners in personal copies of books to be found in the open stacks of university libraries, and showing that these books constitute a massive, distributed archive of the history of reading. Marginalia, inscriptions, photos, original manuscripts, letters, drawings, and many other unique pieces of historical data can be found in individual copies, many of them associated with the history of the institution that collected the books.

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On October 8th, the Columbia University Libraries sponsored a Book Traces-related “treasure hunt” in the Butler Stacks. This talk will review the findings from that day, discussing compelling examples that were discovered by Columbia students and faculty.

Andrew Stauffer is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Virginia, and Director of NINES (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-century Electronic Scholarship). He specializes in 19th-century British literature and the Digital Humanities. Stauffer launched the Book Traces project in 2014, following two years of sending students into the general stacks of the University of Virginia libraries to discover unique copies of nineteenth-century editions of Romantic and Victorian poetry. He has published articles on various Romantic and Victorian writers, including Byron, Dickens, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. His book Anger, Revolution, and Romanticism was published by Cambridge University Press in 2005, and he is currently working on a book entitled, “Postcard from the Volcano: The Troubled Archive of Nineteenth-Century Literature.”

The Book History Colloquium at Columbia University, open to any discipline, aims to provide a broad outlet for the scholarly discussion of book history, print culture, the book arts, and bibliographical research, and (ideally) the promotion of research and publication in these fields. Our presenters include Columbia faculty members and advanced graduate students, and scholars of national prominence from a range of institutions.

Questions? Email Karla Nielsen.

All sessions take place 6pm in 523 Butler Library, Columbia Morningside Campus, unless otherwise noted.

Rare Book & Manuscript Library Acquires Granary Books Archive


Columbia University Libraries/Information Services’ Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) is pleased to announce the acquisition of the archive of Granary Books, one of the country’s most significant artist book publishers operating today.

Founded in 1981 as a distributor, Granary Books began publishing under the direction of Steve Clay in 1985. Granary Books’ mission is to produce, promote, document, and theorize new works exploring the intersection of word, image, and page.

“It is a privilege and an honor to have the Granary Books Archive acquired by Columbia University and to be part of a growing number of independent small presses whose papers are held in its Rare Book and Manuscript Library,” said Clay.

The archive includes thirty-year’s worth of production files for limited edition books by renowned artists, graphic designers, printers, and poets, including Nods, a collaboration with John Cage, Barbara Fahrner, and Philip Gallo, and titles by Charles Bernstein, Cecilia Vicuna, Jen Bervin, Johanna Drucker, Emily McVarish, Anne Waldman, and Jerome Rothenberg.  Other notable artists include John Ashbery, Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, Francesco Clemente, Robert Creeley, John Yau, Leslie Scalapino, Kiki Smith, George Schneeman, Buzz Spector, and Ron Padgett.

Granary Books has also published trade editions of exhibit catalogs, out of print and first edition poetry, and books about books, particularly artist books – notably Johanna Drucker’s The Century of Artists’ Books.  The archive includes Steve Clay’s extensive correspondence with writers and printers, and other artist book press proprietors, as well as electronic records, including almost two decades of email.  Additionally, the archive includes primary source materials from several important New York School and LANGUAGE poets not otherwise well represented in the RBML collections.

The Granary Books archive complements the BOMB Magazine records and Kulchur Foundation records in the RBML, which include materials by many of the same artists and writers that Granary Books has published.  This collection connects many of the collecting strengths of the RBML: artists’ books, publishers’ archives, and the archives of significant twentieth-century book designers.

“For years, Granary Books has been assiduously mapping the rocky terrain of contemporary American poetry,” said Michael Golston, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University. “Columbia has scored a major coup in acquiring the archive – generations of scholars will work on these materials, shaping and reshaping the history of the art and of the discipline.”

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services (CUL/IS) is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 12 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers, including affiliates. CUL/IS employs more than 450 professional and support staff. The Libraries’ website is the gateway to its services & resources: http://library.columbia.edu/.

The Reader’s Eye: Between Annotation and Illustration

William H. Sherman, Professor of English, University of York

November 14, 2013 (Thursday)

Butler Library, Room, 523, at 5:00 p.m. (please note the earlier time)

Recent scholarship in the lively field of marginalia has treated readers’ marks almost exclusively as a verbal phenomenon – as words, that is, next to other words. But in doing so we have lost sight of sight itself, and the ways in which readers used images as well as words to make their books beautiful, meaningful, and useful.  Between medieval illumination and modern illustration, there are many traces of reading as a visual mode, signs that we have been slow to see and study and for which we are poorly served by both methodology and terminology. This illustrated lecture will consider the range of images produced by readers between 1450 and 1750, and will suggest that reading was closely bound up with seeing – and even drawing – across the Medieval/Renaissance divide.

William Sherman’s recent publications include Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England (University of Pennsylvania, 2007) and a special issue of The Huntington Library Quarterly on Prison Writings in Early Modern England. He has edited Shakespeare’s Tempest for Norton and Jonson’s Alchemist for Cambridge and is now completing the Arden Early Modern Drama edition of Marlowe’s Jew of Malta. He is writing a study of visual marginalia called The Reader’s Eye and editing a collection of essays – with Juliet Fleming and Adam Smyth – on Renaissance Collage.

Co-sponsored with the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, Columbia University

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The Book History Colloquium at Columbia University, open to any discipline, aims to provide a broad outlet for the scholarly discussion of book history, print culture, the book arts, and bibliographical research, and (ideally) the promotion of research and publication in these fields. Our presenters include Columbia faculty members and advanced graduate students, and scholars of national prominence from a range of institutions.

Questions? Email Karla Nielsen.

Book History Colloquium: “The Birth of Italics”

Randall McLeod

Randall McLeod, Emeritus Professor of English, University of Toronto

November 4, 2013 (Monday)

Butler Library, Room, 523, at 6:00 p.m.

The 1501 Venetian Vergil was the first book printed entirely in italics. On the verso of the title page, the printer, Aldo Manuzio, celebrated the type-cutter, Francesco da Bologna. (The two fell out a year later, however, over ownership of the new typeface.) Curiously, production began before all the sorts had been created: all the letters were in place, but not all the ligatures. The trickling on stream of some fifteen of the latter points led to a bizarre schedule of composition and printing. A material reading of the text will resurrect this schedule in surprising detail.

Randall McLeod has published about editing Shakespearean sonnets, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and John Donne. He is the inventor of the McLeod Portable Collator, a stereoscopic device for comparing texts as images, and sometimes publishes as ‘Random Cloud.’

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The Book History Colloquium at Columbia University, open to any discipline, aims to provide a broad outlet for the scholarly discussion of book history, print culture, the book arts, and bibliographical research, and (ideally) the promotion of research and publication in these fields. Our presenters include Columbia faculty members and advanced graduate students, and scholars of national prominence from a range of institutions.

Questions? Email Karla Nielsen.