Idaho Book History and Book Arts
Since its creation in 1994, the Idaho Center for the Book has focused on book arts and the history of books, printing and authorship in Idaho.
Its literary map of Idaho, "Idaho by the Book," is in the shape of a "tetrategraflexagon," a specially molded design in which users flex the map to view three different pages. This imaginative map is included in the new Library of Congress book Language of the Land (see below).
Another project, according to Idaho Center for the Book Director Tom Trusky, is to make self-taught Idaho artist and book maker James Castle and his books "household names and belongings," at least in Idaho. Toward this end, the Idaho center is publishing six Castle facsimile books and a book about Castle and is also producing a film about him. The Idaho Center for the Book and the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) are sponsoring an exhibition, "Reputedly Illiterate: James Castle & the Book" in the AIGA gallery in New York City. It opens on March 29 and continues until May 12, when it becomes available for rental as a traveling exhibition. For information about the Idaho Center for the Book, visit its Web site at www.lili.org/icb/ or write Idaho Center for the Book, Boise State University, 1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725. Its newsletter is published twice a year.
Library History Projects Planned for Bicentennial
The Center for the Book is assisting in several projects about the history of the Library of Congress that have been inspired by its forthcoming bicentennial. In the spring, Yale University Press, in association with the Library, will publish an illustrated history entitled America's Library: The Story of the Library of Congress, 1800-2000. The author is James Conaway, whose previous books include The Smithsonian: 150 Years of Adventure, Discovery and Wonder (1995).
Josephus Nelson of the Library's Manuscript Division received a $10,000 James H. Billington award from a gift fund established by Madison Council members Abe and Julienne Krasnoff. The award will support a Library of Congress oral history project in which selected staff members, most of them recently retired, are being interviewed about their experiences at the Library.
Lynne Hammette of the Facility Design and Construction Office is working on a project to preserve and display Library of Congress artifacts and early furniture. Many of the items, including a restored oil portrait of Ainsworth Rand Spofford, Librarian of Congress 1864-1897, will be displayed in the Librarian's ceremonial office in the Jefferson Building. With help from library historian Jane Aikin, Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole is organizing and editing an Encyclopedia of the Library of Congress, a one-volume reference work that will outline the history of many of the Library's collections, services and administrative units. It will be published in 2001.
George Washington's Legacy
At the Library on Nov. 19 and 20, the Center for the Book will cosponsor, with the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, the Third Annual George Washington Symposium. The meeting culminates a year of special exhibitions, publications and conferences organized to mark the 200th anniversary of Washington's death. In addition to presentations from historians that analyze Washington's lasting effect on American life and culture, symposium speakers will focus on new ways of educating people about the nation's first president. Library of Congress curators will introduce participants to the Library's Washington and Washington-related collections, including books, manuscripts, maps and surveys. There will be a special presentation about the Library's digitization of Washington's papers and maps, a program about "Washington on Film" and a tour of the exhibition "John Bull and Uncle Sam: Four Centuries of British-American Relations," which opens Nov. 18. For further information, contact the office of the director, Mount Vernon, telephone (703) 799-8652.
Book Historians Meet in Madison
On July 15-18 in Madison, Wis., more than 200 academics, librarians and students of book history participated in the 1999 conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP). The meeting was hosted by the University of Wisconsin's Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America. Sessions were held at the University of Wisconsin's School of Library and Information Studies and at the nearby State Historical Society of Wisconsin. The program consisted of 50 panel sessions and round tables, and featured 88 papers and presentations on subjects ranging from 16th century theories of intellectual property to the modern lesbian and gay publishing industry.
The featured speakers at plenary sessions were Nicolas Kanellos, founder and director of Arte Publico Press, a leading U.S. Hispanic literary publisher, and Janice A. Radway, a professor at Duke University, whose most recent book is A Feeling for Books: The Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste and Middle Class Desire (University of North Carolina Press, 1997). John Y. Cole represented the Library of Congress at the Madison meeting. On July 15, with Ian Willison of the University of London, he chaired an informal roundup of history of the book projects around the world. On July 18 he chaired a panel session on "World War II Reading: The Victory Book Campaign, Radio Networks and Pulp Magazines."
The eighth annual SHARP conference will be in Mainz, Germany, July 3-8, 2000, under the auspices of the Gutenberg Institute for the History of the Book at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. For information about SHARP, visit its Web site at www.sharpweb.org/ or contact membership secretary Barbara Brannon, Wesleyan College, 4760 Forsyth Road, Macon, GA 31210-4462, telephone (912) 757-5134, fax: (912) 757-5104.
Two recent Library of Congress publications are based on Center for the Book projects that were funded in part through private sector contributions to the center. Thomas Jefferson and the Education of a Citizen, edited by James Gilreath, contains papers presented at a conference held at the Library of Congress on May 13-15, 1993. The Library's James Madison Council helped support the meeting. Language of the Land: The Library of Congress Book of Literary Maps, by Martha Hopkins and Michael Buscher, culminates an education and reading promotion project funded by a 1992 grant of $503,000 to the Center for the Book from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund.
As editors of the book Print Culture in a Diverse America (University of Illinois Press, 1998), James Danky of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, and Wayne A. Wiegand of the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have won the 1999 Carey McWilliams Award for an outstanding scholarly or literary work on an aspect of the "U.S. experience of cultural diversity." Print Culture in a Diverse America contains essays originally presented at a 1995 conference sponsored by the Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America at the University of Wisconsin. The Center for the Book provided partial support for the conference. The book is dedicated to John Cole.
Copies of Capital Libraries and Librarians: A Brief History of the District of Columbia Library Association, 1894-1994 (Library of Congress, 1994), an illustrated 76-page book, are available free from the Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, DC 20540-4920, telephone (202) 707-5221, fax: (202) 707-0269, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A lecture by Mr. Wiegand sponsored at the Library of Congress by the Center for the Book and the American Studies Association on Oct. 31, 1997, was published in the January 1999 issue of The Library Quarterly. The title is "Tunnel Vision and Blind Spots: What the Past Tells Us About the Present; Reflections on the Twentieth Century History of American Librarianship."