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Past Annual Meetings

2021 Annual Meeting

The 2021 Annual Meeting of the Bibliographical Society of America was held on Friday, January 25, 2021. Due to the coronavirus pandemic the meeting was held entirely only, having been preceded by a week of virtual events also held online. View the full schedule of 2021 Bibliography Week events here.

The Meeting open opened with the keynote lecture, “Liberation Bibliography” by Dr. Derrick R. Spires at 3:30 pm EST.

Sponsored by Christie’s

What use does bibliographical study serve in a moment of national reckoning (once again again) with systemic racism and open white supremacy? What does it mean to do bibliography in a time when digitization and open-access have made more texts available—if not accessible—to more people than ever before? Dorothy B. Porter provides one directive in the introduction to her A Working Bibliography on the Negro in the United States (1969): “Unless order is brought to this literary outpouring, the flood will overwhelm those who are most in need of this literature. Selective, authoritative bibliographies are essential in improving access to negro literature.”  Writing some forty years later, Barbara Fister echoes Porter’s insistence on access and a focus on reaching those who need literature the most: “Liberation bibliography rests on the idea that the role of libraries is not just to provide access to information but to provide access that is liberating.” Both Porter and Fister offer instances of what this talk discusses in terms of Liberation Bibliography. Drawing on liberation theology, Black Studies, Black feminist criticism, and feminist bibliography, this talk offers liberation bibliography as a conscious and intentional practice of identifying and repairing the harms of systemic racism, anti-blackness, sexism, heteronormativity, and other oppressive forces in and through bibliographical study, broadly conceived. Projects from David Walker’s Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World (1829) to the Colored Conventions Project (2021) model liberation bibliography as a practice of freedom: it is not destination, but rather an ethics and methodology. It marks the necessity of thinking bibliography through the needs of minoritized and oppressed communities and centers the ongoing work—both traditional and non-traditional—emanating from these communities. Liberation bibliography makes visible those knowledge systems and sites of knowledge production, activism, and possibility that institutions have historically rendered invisible or irrelevant. Finally, liberation bibliography changes and challenges how we do this work, with scholars and projects focusing simultaneously on the ethics of studying “the book” at the same time as they engage in an ongoing reconsideration of citational practices, archives, power, and our relation to them.

The Annual meeting concluded 5pm with a brief business meeting as required by our by laws including the election of the Council Class of 2024.

Folio Sponsors of the Annual Meeting:
The Antiquarian Booksellers Association of AmericaThe Brick Row Book Shop •  Thomas A Goldwasser Rare BooksMusinsky Rare Books, Inc.

Quarto Sponsors of the Annual Meeting:
Austin Abbey Rare BooksDe Simone Company, BooksellerBruce McKittrick Rare BooksKate Mitas, BooksellerRichard C. Ramer, Old & Rare BooksCharles B. Wood Antiquarian Bookseller

2021 New Scholars Program

Sponsored by Les Enluminures

In the virtual setting, attendees will choose to join one of our three New Scholars for a presentation of their 15-minute paper, followed by a focused Q&A with that Scholar in an individual breakout room. After the individual presentations, all attendees and Scholars will reconvene for a general Q&A and a discussion of what it’s like to be an emerging scholar working on bibliography in the present moment.

The 2021 New Scholars are:

  • Mathieu D. S. Bouchard, Pantzer New Scholar
    A Revised Account of the 1714 Works of Mr. William Shakespear
  • Dr. Sophia Brown, Malkin New Scholar
    Paratexts and Prize Culture: A Case Study of Contemporary Arab Writing in the Anglophone Market
  • Ryan Low, BSA New Scholar
    Community of the Written Word: The Spread of Notarial Registers in Medieval Provence

Please see the full schedule of events for abstracts of the 2021 New Scholars’ talks.

2020 Annual Meeting

The 2020 Annual Meeting of the Bibliographical Society was held on Friday, January 24, 2020, at Convene, 237 Park Avenue, New York City. Click here for details, panel abstracts, and registration (strongly encouraged).  Please note that there is no building entrance on Park Avenue. Enter at 466 Lexington Avenue, or review transportation and entry options here.

Keynote Panel: “Bibliography and Technologies”

Panelists: Michael Witmore, Folger Shakespeare Library; Lisa Fagin Davis, The Medieval Academy of America; Earle Havens, Johns Hopkins University; Haven Hawley, University of Florida

2020 New Scholars Program

Dr. Alison Fraser (BSA New Scholar)

University at Buffalo, the State University of New York

Homemade Books in Twentieth-Century Poetics: A Feminist Bibliography, is an unpublished selection from my book project. This talk surveys the intersection of poetics, new media, and gender, and asks in what ways media technology impacts poetics, and in what ways poets respond to new developments in media technology. The answers to these questions enlarge the scope of book history to include twentieth–century ephemeral print productions and provide an alternative narrative to the development of (post)modernist poetics. I argue for a feminist redetermination of what we consider to be valuable to the study of bibliography, widening its scope to include ephemeral, homemade books like scrapbooks, clippings files, photograph albums, and Xerography (photocopying), in which print technology and poetic interpretation intersect. More acutely than any other type of writing, homemade books call into question what we traditionally understand to be the labor of making and insist on refocusing our attention to process when we consider the product (or book). ”

Dr. Elisa Tersigni (Pantzer New Scholar)

Folger Shakespeare Library

Two Sides of the Same Book: The Creation and Use of Early Modern English Receipt Books uses bibliographical analysis to infer the physical construction of manuscript receipt books and look for evidence of use (ex. by identifying stains, using both direct and UV light, and by conducting protein analysis of samples from stains to determine their material composition and biological origin). Receipt books have been largely overlooked by scholars, for several reasons. Food studies is a relatively new field that has only just bloomed in the past few decades; within that field, attention has been given to receipt books only in the past decade or so. This is in part because receipt books were owned and written by (often anonymous) women, and women’s writing (especially from little-known women) historically has been overlooked. Furthermore, as compilations of recipes and narratives from a variety of sources, rather than ‘original’ texts, receipt books have been considered a less desirable and more problematic genre of study. But their complexity is also what makes them incredibly rich artefacts and textual sources: these books are abundant with information about the history of globalization and the food trade, networks of people and information, and the relationship between manuscript and print. As the precursor to the modern recipe book, early modern receipt books also tell us about the professionalization of cooking and pharmacy and the evolution of recipe genre. Receipt books’ complexity requires multiple expertises, and so I combine bibliographic analysis, algorithmic analysis, and close reading to unpack the layers of authorship inherent in these artefacts: the palimpsest-like layers of writing on the paper; the binding and re-binding of gatherings in various orders; the collection of recipes from multiple oral, manuscript, and print sources; and the stains indicating use, damage, and movement over time. My mixed-method approach includes traditional bibliographical methods—watermark analysis and collation—and newer bibliographical methods—biocodiology and multi-spectral imaging.”

Matthew Wills (Malkin New Scholar)

University of California, San Diego

The Paper Crisis and the Scramble for Stability in Mao-Era Publishing introduces the context of paper production in Mao’s China, followed by an in-depth examination of how staff at Beijing People’s Publishing House responded to the paper crisis. Wills will discuss the life cycles of individual titles and the evidence of precarity contained in surviving archival evidence.  Between 1973 and 1976, while paper production ostensibly increased, demand for paper skyrocketed. State planners chose to prioritize newspaper publication and the printing of the writings of Mao Zedong, leaving publishers undersupplied. At the same time, publishers faced increasing pressure from politicians to print a greater number of books to support the state‘s ideological campaigns. With publishers forced to print more with less, they axed non–essential titles and cut corners wherever possible. Likewise, paper mills experimented with stretching pulp supplies to the limit, leading to lower quality paper stock and complaints from readers. Month by month, China‘s biggest publishers faced uncertainty regarding paper shipments from factories, upsetting publishing plans, derailing large print runs and causing significant inter–bureaucratic stress. Inevitably, with books in shorter supply, rural residents located away from distribution centers suffered the most, giving state communication efforts in an increasingly urban, niche luster. Books and archives represent a twisting tale of success and failure that forces historians and bibliographers to no longer take for granted the ability of authoritarian states to produce propaganda in the twentieth century and communicate with their subjects.”

Generously sponsored by: The Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America; Bonhams; The Brick Row Book Shop; Charles Wood Bookseller;CABS-Minnesota; Christie’s; De Simone Company; Donald A. Heald Rare Books; Honey & Wax Booksellers; Jonathan Hill Bookseller; Kenneth Karmiole Bookseller, Inc.; Nina Musinsky Rare Books; Penn State University Press; Richard C. Ramer, Old & Rare Books; RIVERRUN Books & Manuscripts; William Reese Company

2019 Annual Meeting

The 2019 Annual Meeting of the Bibliographical Society will be held on Friday, January 25, 2019, at the Cosmopolitan Club, 122 East 66th Street, New York City. Please click the button below for more details about the panel presentations and to RSVP. Attendance is free and open to the public.

Keynote Panel: “Collections, Faculty, Librarians, Disciplines: Teaching Bibliography”

Panelists: E.C. Schroeder (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University); Sonja Drimmer, (University of Massachusetts Amherst); Alex Hidalgo (Texas Christian University); Michael F. Suarez, S.J. (Rare Book School at the University of Virginia)

2019 New Scholars Program

Lucas Dietrich

Adjunct Professor of Humanities at Lesley University

“A Sensational Job: Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton, J.B. Lippincott Co., and Commission Printing”
This presentation examines María Amparo Ruiz de Burton’s 1872 book Who Would Have Thought It?, the earliest known novel by a Mexican American author in English, which was published by J.B. Lippincott & Co., one of the largest U.S. book distributors of the mid-nineteenth century. Referring to J.B. Lippincott & Co. business records and correspondence, donated to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 2002 and yet largely unexplored by scholars, I reconstruct the production, sale, and distribution of this early work of Mexican American fiction. I show that Ruiz de Burton paid J.B. Lippincott & Co. to produce and distribute her book for a commission, as job printers, even while the book itself was published anonymously and designed to look like any other sensational novel within the Lippincott catalog. Based on this evidence, I argue that Ruiz de Burton used Lippincott’s job printing department to establish a Mexican American literary voice that was distributed throughout the nation covertly, in the form of an anonymous sensation novel. More broadly, I consider the potential for bibliographical scholarship to recover such histories, tracking how marginal figures such as Ruiz de Burton have taken part in book production.”

Megan Piorko

Doctoral Candidate in History, Georgia State University

“Seventeenth-Century Chymical Collections: A Study of Unique Copies of ‘Fasciculus Chemicus’ ”
The subject of this paper is seventeenth-century alchemist and physician Arthur Dee’s book, Fasciculus Chemicus. This Latin text, printed in Paris by Nicholas de la Vigne in 1631, is a small duodemico book featuring excerpts from canonical alchemical tracts which Dee curated in a particular order to create new alchemical knowledge. This paper looks at four specific copies of this text as a case-study to show the importance of material investigation of hand-press books for textual scholarship. Ghost editions of this text are redescribed as variant states of a single first edition through comparative bibliographical description and historical contextualization. Then, the paper asks what types of strategies could and did printers employ to modify the prefatory material within a single hand-press book for differing intended audiences? What were the driving social and economic factors behind these decisions? Who were the intended audiences? How were such modifications executed within the constraints of printing, collation, and binding practices? This type of analysis returns agency to early modern printers, publishers, booksellers, and authors to alter texts during publication for separate audiences and markets. This paper emphasizes the critical nature of bibliographical description and the necessity of examining the materiality of texts to understand the nuances and variations in copies from a single edition during the hand-press period.”

Lindsay Van Tine

Visiting Scholar at the Americas Center at the University of Virginia

“Bibliography, Bookdealing, and the Biliotheca Americana”
This talk will explore the relationship between bibliography and bookdealing in the Bibliotheca Americana tradition. The Bibliotheca Americana, or bibliography of books “relating to America,” is commonly held to begin with Antonio de León Pinelo’s Epítome (1629) and to culminate in Joseph Sabin’s monumental 29-volume Bibliotheca Americana: A Dictionary of Books Relating to America (1867-1936). This talk will focus on the nineteenth-century consolidation of the form by Obadiah Rich, Henri Ternaux-Compans, Henry Stevens, John Russell Bartlett, Henry Harrisse, and Sabin, most of whom were actively involved in the book trade. While previous work on the Bibliotheca Americana has largely assumed a trajectory away from instrumental trade catalogues and towards an increasingly scientific and analytical bibliographical standard, this talk will challenge that dichotomy through an exploration of the career of Henry Stevens. Stevens is often considered a bookdealer par excellence, but at the beginning of his career he was poised to undertake the most ambitious American bibliography of the nineteenth century: a comprehensive Bibliographia Americana sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and endorsed by Harvard, the British Museum, and the Library of Congress. The project was never completed, but portions of it appeared in more ephemeral form in his various catalogues. Focusing on Stevens’ unfinished Bibliographia and the fragments that remain to us in his published output, this talk will sketch out an alternate history of the Bibliotheca Americana tradition that offers a new understanding of the relationship between bibliography and bookdealing. Ultimately, it gestures towards a model for the history of bibliography that is grounded in the materiality of bibliographical production.”

2018 Annual Meeting

The 2018 Annual Meeting of the Bibliographical Society was held on Friday, January 26, 2018, at the Cosmopolitan Club, 122 East 66th Street, New York City. The meeting began at 4:00 p.m. and concluded with a panel presentation:

Keynote Panel: “Bibliography in the Expanded Field: New Directions, Future Trends”

Panelists: Hwisang Cho (Xavier University); David L. Gants (Florida State University); Heather O’Donnell (Honey & Wax Booksellers); Erin Schreiner (Independent Bibliographer)

2018 New Scholars Program

Rhae Lynn Barnes (Malkin New Scholar)

Princeton University

“Darkology: The Hidden History of Amateur Blackface Minstrelsy”

Andrew Keener (Pantzer New Scholar)

Northwestern University

“Printed Plays and Polyglot Books: The Multilingual Textures of Early Modern English Drama”

Tess Goodman

University of Edinburgh

“Copyright and Christmas: Victorian Publishing Strategies for the Poems of Walter Scott”

2017 Annual Meeting

The 2017 Annual Meeting of the Bibliographical Society was held on Friday, January 27, 2017, at the Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street, New York City. The meeting began at 4:00 p.m. and concluded with:

Keynote Lecture: “A Bibliographical Approach to Information: Afterthoughts on Too Much to Know” by Ann Blair, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor at Harvard University

2017 New Scholars Program

Michaël Roy (Malkin New Scholar)

Université Paris Nanterre

The Vanishing Slave: Publishing the Narative of Charles Ballfrom Slavery in the United States (1836) to Fifty Years in Chains (1858)”

Marissa Nicosia (Pantzer New Scholar)

Penn State Abbington

Printing as Revival: Making Playbooks in the 1650’s

Meghan Peiser

University of Missouri

Reading the Review Periodical in the Eighteenth Century

2016 Annual Meeting

The 2016 Annual Meeting of the Bibliographical Society was held on Friday, January 29, 2016, at The Cosmopolitan Club, 122 East 66th Street, New York City. The meeting began at 4:00 p.m. and concluded with:

Keynote Lecture: “Hard Cases: Confronting Bibliographical Difficulty in Eighteenth-Century Texts” by Michael Suarez, S.J., Director, Rare Book School

2016 New Scholars Program

Chris J. Young (Pantzer New Scholar)

University of Toronto

The Collation Game: Identifying the Bibliographic Variances Between The Last of Us and The Last of Us: Remastered”

Hannah Marcus

Stanford University

License to Read: Licit Reading of Prohibited Books in Early Modern Italy

Laura Forsberg

Harvard University

Multum in Parvo: The Nineteenth-Century Miniature Book

2015 Annual Meeting

The 2015 annual meeting of the Bibliographical Society took place on Friday, 23 January, 2015, at the Cosmopolitan Club, 122 East 66th Street, New York City. The meeting began at 4:00 P.M. and concluded with:

Keynote Lecture: “The Medium is the Message: Printing the Classics, from Hand Press to the Computer Age” by Craig Kallendorf, Professor of Modern and Classical Languages at Texas A & M University and the author of Vergil and the Myth of Venice: Books and Readers in the Italian Renaissance

2015 New Scholars Program

Aaron T. Pratt (Pantzer New Scholar)

Yale University

“Cheap Print, Playbooks, and the Advent of English Literature”

Jeffrey Makala (Malkin New Scholar)

University of South Carolina

“Print on Demand: Stereotyping and Electrotyping in Nineteenth-Century America”

Huub van der Linden

University College Roosevelt, The Netherlands

“Printing Music in Early Eighteenth-Century Italy: Workshop Practices in the Silvani Firm in Bologna”

The Annual Meeting was generously sponsored by: the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America, Bonhams, Brick Row Book Shop, James Cummins Bookseller, Franklin Gilliam Rare Books, Donald A. Heald Rare Books, Priscilla Juvelis, Inc., Kenneth Karmiole Bookseller, Bruce McKittrick Rare Books, Musinsky Rare Books, B. & L. Rootenberg Rare Books, Tavistock Rare Books, William Reese Company, Michael R. Thompson Booksellers,, John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller, and Charles B. Wood III, Inc.

2014 Annual Meeting

The 2014 annual meeting of the Bibliographical Society was held on Friday, 24 January, 2014, at the Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street, New York City. The meeting began at 4:00 P.M. and concluded with:

Keynote Lecture: “Operating Systems of the Mind: The Bibliographical Description and Analysis of Born-Digital Texts” by Matthew Kirschenbaum, Associate Professor of English, University of Maryland Associate Director, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities

2014 New Scholars Program

Claire M. Bourne (Pantzer New Scholar)

Virginia Commonwealth University

“Dramatic Pilcrows: Symbolic Type and the Making of English Literary Drama”

John J. Garcia (Malkin New Scholar)

University of California, Berkeley, Malkin New Scholar

“Nationalism and the Book Trade: Printed Lives in the Early United States”

L. Elizabeth Upper

Darwin College, University of Cambridge

“The Earliest Artifacts of Color Printmaking: Red Frisket Sheets, ca. 1490-1630”

The Annual Meeting was generously sponsored by: the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America, Lorne Bair Rare Books, Bartleby’s Books, Bonhams, Brick Row Book Shop, James Cummins Bookseller, Joseph J. Felcone, Inc., Franklin Gilliam Rare Books, Thomas A. Goldwasser Rare Books, Priscilla Juvelis, Inc., Kenneth Karmiole Bookseller, Bruce McKittrick Rare Books, Musinsky Rare Books, Oak Knoll Books, Richard C. Ramer, Old & Rare Books, William Reese Company, Rulon-Miller Books, St. Louis Mercantile Library Association, Garrett Scott, Bookseller,, and John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller.

2013 Annual Meeting

The 2013 annual meeting of the Bibliographical Society was held on Friday, 25 January, 2013, at the Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street, New York City. The meeting began at 4:00 P.M. and concluded with:

Keynote Lecture: “The Uses of Print in the History of Science” by Adrian Johns, Allan Grant Maclear Professor, Department of History Chair, Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science University of Chicago

2013 New Scholars Program

Simran Thadani (Pantzer New Scholar)

University of Pennsylvania

“For the Better Atteyning to Faire Writing: The First Printed Dispute Between English Penmen, London, 1591”

Nicole Gray (Malkin New Scholar)

University of Texas at Austin, Malkin New Scholar

“Walt Whitman’s Marginalia: Digitizing an Archive of Reading”

Dr. John T. McQuillen

The Morgan Library and Museum

“Fifteenth-Century Book Networks: Scribes, Illuminators, Binders, and the Introduction of Print”

The Annual Meeting was generously sponsored by: Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, Inc.; the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America; Atlas Systems; Bonhams; Bromer Booksellers; James Cummins Bookseller; Franklin Gilliam Rare Books; Thomas A. Goldwasser Rare Books; Donald A. Heald Rare Books; Kenneth Karmiole, Bookseller, Inc; Kelmscott Bookshop; Mac Donnell Rare Books; Bruce McKittrick Rare Books; Musinsky Rare Books, Inc; Palinurus Antiquarian Books; Richard C. Ramer Old & Rare Books; William Reese Company; Rulon-Miller Books; St. Louis Mercantile Library Association;; and Charles B. Wood III, Inc.

2012 Annual Meeting

The 2012 annual meeting of the Bibliographical Society was held on Friday, 27 January, 2012, at the Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street, New York City. The meeting began at 4:00 P.M. and concluded with:

Keynote Lecture: “Lights! Camera! Books! American Cinematic Use of Books in Scenery and Plot, 1900–1970” by John Neal Hoover, Director, St. Louis Mercantile Library Association & President of BSA

2012 New Scholars Program

Steven Carl Smith

Dept. of History, University of Missouri

“Elements of Useful Knowledge: New York & the National Book Trade in the Early Republic”

Barbara Heritage

Dept. of English, University of Virginia

“Authors vs. Bookmakers: Jane Eyre in the Marketplace”

Juliette Atkinson

Dept. of English, University College London

“A Literary ‘Steam-Engine’: The Circulation of Dumas in Victorian England”

The BSA Annual Meeting reception was sponsored through the generosity of: Atlas Systems; Bonhams; Brick Row Book Shop; Christie’s; Columbia Books, James Cummins Bookseller, Inc; Anthony Garnett Fine Books; Green Gate Farm Antiquarian Books; Bruce Mckittrick Rare Books; Oak Knoll Books; the Old Print Shop; the Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd; Sotheby’s; Susan Teller Gallery; Charles B. Wood III, Inc. Antiquarian Booksellers; and the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association.