Book Historians Meet in Mainz
On July 3-8 in Mainz, Germany, more than 280 academics, librarians and students of book history participated in the International Gutenberg Conference, which joined the eighth annual meeting of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) with the first symposium of the associates of the Socrates Program of the European Union.
The host was the Gutenberg Institute for the History of the Book, which coordinated the conference with the citywide and yearlong 600th birthday of Johannes Gutenberg, the Western inventor of movable type and the printing press and the "man of the millennium." Conference sessions were held throughout the city of Mainz, which was honoring Gutenberg through historical exhibitions at the newly renovated Gutenberg Museum, the City Archives, the State Museum, the Cathedral and Diocesan Museum and the Museum of Natural History. Participants took time out from a full program (more than 130 papers presented in 46 panel sessions, plus three plenary sessions and three pre-conference sessions) for guided tours around the city and, on July 6, an all-day excursion to Eltville and the Abbey of Eberbach.
The Library of Congress was represented by Mary L. Elder of the Rare Book Team, Special Materials Cataloging Division, and John Y. Cole, director of the Center for the Book, who, on July 3, with Ian Willison of the University of London, chaired an informal update of history of book projects around the world. Mr. Cole also is a member of the Local Arrangements Committee for SHARP 2001, which will be held in Richmond and Williamsburg, Va., on July 19-22 under the sponsorship of the Library of Virginia, the Virginia Center for the Book and the American Studies Program and the Swem Library of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.
Book History Handbook Published
A Handbook for the Study of Book History in the United States, by Ronald J. Zboray and Mary Saracino Zboray, has been published by the Library of Congress. Sponsored by the Center for the Book, the 155-page paperbound volume is an introduction for researchers to the literature and subject of book history.
In the first part of the book, the authors explain why the field of the history of the book is important and discuss its major concerns. Most of the book describes how to locate and use source material. It concludes with observations about the future of book history, an appendix describing important periodicals for book historians and a 52-page list of suggested readings.
Ronald J. Zboray is associate professor of history at Georgia State University, and Mary Saracino Zboray is a research associate at the same institution. Together they have published extensively about antebellum cultural history, including recent articles in many scholarly journals and essays in two collections, on Boston business history and on transcendentalism, published by the Massachusetts Historical Society. In 1998-99, the Zborays were Honorary Visiting Fellows at the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, while completing a book on the experience of reading in antebellum New England. The Handbook is the Center for the Book's second resource publication about book history. The first, The History of Books: A Guide to Selected Resources in the Library of Congress (1987), by Alice D. Schreyer, is out of print but available in many libraries.
A Handbook for the Study of Book History in the United States is available for $15 from Oak Knoll Press, 310 Delaware St., New Castle, DE 19720; telephone (302) 328-7232; toll-free (800) 996-2556; fax (302) 328-7274. It can be ordered online at www.oakknoll.com.
Two Book Club Newsletters Honor Library of Congress
The June 2000 issue of Caxtonian (above left), the journal of the Caxton Club of Chicago, highlights the Library of Congress and its Bicentennial through articles by Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole ("The Library of Congress at 200 Looks to the Future"); University of Chicago Library curator of special collections Alice D. Schreyer ("Anniversary Tribute to the Library of Congress"); and a personal account of a visit to the Library's Main Reading Room (accompanied by a full-page photograph) by Caxtonian editor Robert Cotner.
The summer 2000 issue of the Book Club of California's Quarterly News-Letter (above right) contains a favorable, lengthy review of a Library of Congress-sponsored book, The Book in America, by Richard W. Clement, published in 1996 by Fulcrum Publishers. The volume includes a foreword by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and an afterword by Mr. Cole. The reviewer, Richard H. Dillon, concludes with a tribute to the Center for the Book, noting that it was the center, which was created in 1977, that put the "new and welcome" interdisciplinary field of the history of the book "on the road."
Book History on Cyber LC
Book and cultural historians are featured in two Center for the Book-sponsored events now available on Cyber LC (www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook/cyber-cfb.html). On July 25 historians Joseph Ellis and Annette Gordon Reed, two of the contributors to Thomas Jefferson: Genius of Liberty (Viking Studio, 2000) discussed Jefferson in a "Books & Beyond" author presentation. Historian Gerard W. Gawalt of the Library's Manuscript Division moderated the program. The second event is the Bicentennial symposium "Poetry and the American People: Reading, Voice and Publication in the 19th and 20th Centuries" that took place on April 4. Participants in the all-day program, which was co-sponsored with several Library offices, included historians David D. Hall, Harvard University Divinity School; Barbara Sicherman, Trinity College; Joan Shelley Rubin, University of Rochester; and Kenneth Cmiel of the University of Iowa.
Library Historians to Convene on Oct. 23-26
Library historians from around the world will participate in the Library of Congress Bicentennial symposium "National Libraries of the World: Interpreting the Past, Shaping the Future," which will be held at the Library of Congress on Oct. 23-26.
The meeting has been designated "Library History Seminar X," continuing a series of seminars that takes place every five years under the sponsorship of the American Library Association's Library History Round Table and the journal, Libraries & Culture.