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June 17, 2002

Center For The Book Cosponsors Publication Of Major Textbook for The Study Of American Book History

Perspectives on American Book History: Artifacts and Commentary, a 461-page collection of primary source materials and original essays accompanied by a CD-ROM, has been published by the University of Massachusetts Press in association with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the American Antiquarian Society. The editors are Scott E. Casper, University of Nevada, Reno; Joanne D. Chaison, American Antiquarian Society; and Jeffrey D. Groves, Harvey Mudd College.

"Encouraging the study of the history of books and print culture is a principal aim of the Center for the Book," said John Y. Cole, the center's director. "It's especially gratifying to support the publication of the first text designed for the growing number of courses in American print culture that are being taught in colleges and universities across our country. On Oct. 21, the center will host a program about the study of book history and print culture that will feature the volume's three editors and several of its contributors."

Perspectives on American Book History includes an introductory essay by Robert A. Gross, professor of history and American studies at the College of William and Mary and chair of the program in the history of the book at the American Antiquarian Society; fourteen chapters composed of primary artifacts and original essays by scholars in the field; and an annotated bibliography of research sources. The CD-ROM includes nearly 200 digital images, captioned and keyed to different chapters.

The chapters trace topics in American print culture from Puritan New England to the future of newspapers in a digital age.; The artifacts and documents, most of which have never before appeared in an anthology, include excerpts from readers' diaries, accounts of the printing and publishing trades, materials from the alternative press, commentaries on authorship and reading, and visual images. The essays place these primary source materials in their historical, literary, and political contexts and model the ways that students might approach them.

The essays and their authors include: "Texts for the Times: An Introduction to Book History," by Robert A. Gross; "Literacy and Reading in Puritan New England," by Jill Lepore; "Publishing the American Revolution," by Russell L. Martin; "Northern and Southern Worlds of Print," by Alice Fahs; "Print Cultures in the American West," by Jen A. Huntley-Smith; "The Industrialization and Nationalization of American Periodical Publishing," by Charles Johanningsmeier; "Print and the Creation of Middlebrow Culture," by Trysh Travis; "Newspapers Since 1945" by Glenn Wallach; and "The Once and Future Book," by the three volume editors.

Perspectives on American Book History: Artifacts and Commentary, is a volume in the University of Massachusetts Press series, Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book.; The paperbound edition (ISBN 1-55849-317-4) is available for $24.95 from the University of Massachusetts Press (; the library cloth edition (ISBN 1-55849-316-6) is available for $70.

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress was established by Congress in 1977 to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books, reading, literacy, and libraries.; For information about the center's program and publications and the activities of its affiliates across the nation, see its Web site :

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PR 02-085
06/17/ne 17, 2002
ISSN 0731-3527

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