Category Archives: Printing History and Book Arts

Book History Colloquium | Who made this book? Bookwork in the Global Supply Chain

18 April 2019 | 6pm | Room 523 Butler Library

Most any author can tell you who published their book, but how many know where it was printed? Or by whom?

This talk explores the nature of contemporary bookmaking amid the realities of a global supply chain, an increasingly casualized labor market, and digital workflows that effortlessly move digital files around the world. Continue reading

Book History Colloquium: Old Books as Digital Objects

13 February 2019 | 6pm | Room 522 Butler Library

early english manuscript

Photo courtesy sarahwerner.net

We are used to reading texts with our eyes—reading the words and images for their content (in fact, this is so obvious it’s odd to describe it). But we also read texts with our fingers—the feel of the materials, the act of navigating through a codex or scroll, and the feel of the weight shifting or paper folding as we move through the content all contribute to our understanding of the work we’re reading.

The guest speaker for this event is Dr. Sarah Werner, independent scholar, editor of the blog Wynken de Worde books, early modern culture, post-modern readers and the author of the forthcoming Studying Early Printed Books 1450-1800: A Practical Guide.

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RBML is hiring a Curator of Literature

bookstore shelves with levitating book

This is not how RBML handles books. Photo by Jaredd Craig on Unsplash

We’re pleased to announce an opening here in Columbia University Libraries’ Rare Book & Manuscript Library for a new Curator of Literature.

The ideal candidate is an accomplished and creative professional with an MLIS or PhD in English, American Literature or related fields.

Primarily, the Curator develops, manages and actively promotes the use of RBML literature collections through programmatic outreach, awareness, public programs and instructional activities.

The Curator is responsible for developing holdings in literature in all formats (e.g., print and archives) through purchase and donation.

Key to the Curator position are archival and/or librarianship skills related to stewarding literature collections that are in place, prioritizing their organization, description, conservation, digitization, and security.

Though very broad in scope, RBML’s Literature collections concentrate around the history of publishing, “obscene” or erotic literature, poetry between the World Wars, the European realist novel, the Beats, African-American literature of the twentieth century, and contemporary poetry, as well as eighteenth-century belles lettres, the novel, fine press and artist books, and twentieth-century small press production.

Columbia University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and strongly encourages individuals of all backgrounds and cultures to consider this position.

Please see the full advertisement for more details, qualifications and how to apply. PDF: Curator of Literature Ad

New exhibition | Persian Bookbinding

flowered wallpaper background

Following the introduction of lacquer-painting in the 15th century, bookbindings became a rejuvenated site for creative expression in Iran.

‘In the School of Wisdom’ presents over thirty examples, representing the diversity of the art as it developed from the late Safavid to Qajar eras and contextualizing it within a changing landscape of libraries and book culture.

hand drawn playing cards

Collections News | Albert Field Playing Cards go online

The Columbia University Libraries has digitized cards from nearly two hundred decks of the Albert Field Collection of Playing Cards.

The cards date from the 16th century through to 1801, and were mostly European – French, German, English, and Italian, though we slipped in one deck from a very new United States.

play cards of various suites and iconic figures

JT Humphreys, No revoke playing cards, Albert Field Collection of Playing Cards, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University

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Now accepting applications for The Pine Tree Scholars program

book pages turningThe Pine Tree Scholars program introduces Columbia and Barnard graduate and undergraduate students to the crafts associated with fine book production, such as typography, letterpress printing, bookbinding, and papermaking, as well as to the rare and art book trades. This program is open to students in all departments and programs.

An informational session for the 2018-2019 program will be held in the Barnard Archives and Special Collections Reading Room (Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning, Room 423) from 2-3pm on Friday, September 21. 

What is this place? A short intro to RBML

That is the question we hear a lot at the beginning of the new academic year as students explore Butler Library and end up here, in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, aka “The Pink Palace.”

pink castle design and acronym rbml

Is there difference between a “castle” and a “palace?”

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) is Columbia’s principal repository for primary source collections.  The range of collections in the RBML spans more than 4,000 years and includes rare printed works, cylinder seals, cuneiform tablets, papyri, and Coptic ostraca; medieval and renaissance manuscripts; posters; art; comics & cartoons, and oral histories.

Forming the core of the collections: 500,000 printed books, 14 miles of manuscripts, personal papers, archives and records, and 10,000 (and counting) oral histories.

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Friday is your chance to see “Enchanted Vision, an exhibition drawing on the Arthur Rackham Collection held here at the RBML.illustration of a sprite

Rackham, a British illustrator illustrated 50 major works beginning with Rip Van Winkle in 1905, Alice in Wonderland, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Winnie the Pooh, and other English and American classics.

The collection contains 26 letters by Rackham and nine Christmas cards either specially designed by him or incorporating designs made for his books. There are also letters to Rackham’s biographer, Derek Hudson, from Winifred Wheeler, daughter of Walter Freeman, a friend who started Rackham on his commercial career. The manuscript notebooks, galley proofs, and a printed copy of Hudson’s Arthur Rackham: His Life and Work are included.

In addition, the Columbia University Library has a collection of 413 Rackham drawings, watercolors, and oil paintings, 30 sketch books, and about 400 printed books and ephemera.

 

Event | Shannon Mattern on the meaning of book storage furniture in our reading lives

Thursday, 22 February 2018, 6pm Room 523 in Butler Library

On Thursday, February 22, the RBML and Karla Nielsen, Curator of Literature and Lecturer in English and Comparative Literature, hosts Shannon Mattern, Associate Professor of Media Studies at The New School.

Professor Mattern will present on the long history of the bookshelf, “Cabinet Logics: An Intellectual History of Book Furniture.” Prof. Mattern will survey the furniture we design and build to make, store, support, organize, and preserve our bibliographic objects, focusing on how these structures inform the way human bodies relate to those media, and embody certain assumptions about what and how we know things through these objects.

Inside the under construction reading room in the new Wiener Library @ Russell Square in Camden Town, London, UK

Photo credit: Peter Alfred Hess | Flickr: peterhess

Professor Mattern’s talk will be followed by a Q & A. The event is free and open to the public but registration is recommended. 

Event | Roger Chartier on textual mobility

Wednesday, 7 February 2018, 6pm, Room 523 in Butler Library

Moliere's Le Festin de pierre (known as Don Juan)

Le Festin de pierre (known as Don Juan)

On Wednesday, February 7, the RBML and Karla Nielsen, Curator of Literature and Lecturer in English and Comparative Literature, hosts Roger Chartier, Professor in the Collège de France and Annenberg Visiting Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania.

Professor Chartier will use Molière’s play, Le Festin de pierre (known as Don Juan), to model a type of book historical inquiry that focuses on textual mobility.

The talk follows the play from its first attribution to Molière, looping in its first performance and first appearances in print, moves on to early translations, adaptations, and editions of the work, and concludes with the reception of the work by early readers and viewers.

Professor Chartier’s talk will be followed by a Q & A. The event is free and open to the public but registration is recommended.