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Past Events & Recordings

Recorded Events Available on YouTube

Click here to peruse the playlist of recorded webinars on the BSA’s YouTube Channel.

The Society is working to be sure that accurate captions in English and Spanish are uploaded for YouTube videos within 2 to 3 weeks of posting online. Thank you for your patience as we work through the kinks in implementing this new program!

The Society also records in-person events when possible. Our YouTube Channel also hosts videos of past New Scholars’ papers and Annual Meeting lectures.

Events of Years Past


July 1-August 12: 500 Years of Mexican Books / 500 Años de Libros Mexicanos

July 1 - August 12, 2021. Online.

Anuncio en español aquí.

On the occasion of the anniversary of the so-called “conquest” of Mexico, this series of presentations addresses the relationship between bibliography, the history of the New Hispanic book, and the production of Indigenous-language books in Mexico. The series includes two roundtable discussions and five lectures by Marina Garone Gravier on the print production of New World languages, publishing criteria of Indigenous languages in New Spain, the uses of books in the teaching of Indigenous languages at the Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico, the collaboration of Indigenous calligraphers, typographers in the elaboration of books in New Spain, and the participation of printers as agents of the colonial edition in native languages.

Recorded presentations (in Spanish) were released all summer on the UNAM Chicago YouTube Channel with captions in English.

Organized by Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Chicago Campus, in collaboration with the Bibliographical Society of America.

Co-hosted and co-sponsored by the Center for Renaissance Studies and the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry Library.

June 22, 2021 (2pm EDT) – BSA New Scholars Program, Q&A Session

June 22, 2021. Online.

The Bibliographical Society of America was pleased to invite prospective applicants to its New Scholars Program where they joined us for an information session on the program itself and the application process. We also invited academic faculty, librarians, booksellers and others interested in encouraging their students or mentees to apply to the program to attend.

Prospective applicants were invited to attend to ask New Scholars Selection Committee Chair Barbara Heritage and Vice Chair Cynthia Gibson questions about the program.

For more details on the New Scholars program including eligibility and application information, please visit the New Scholars page on our website and watch the 2020 information session recording on YouTube.

Textual Editing & The Future of Scholarly Editions: A Conference on the Bicentennial of James Fennimore Cooper’s The Spy

May 25-26, 2021, Online.

Textual Editing & The Future of Scholarly Editions: A Conference on the Bicentennial of James Fennimore Cooper’s The Spya virtual conference hosted by the American Antiquarian Society that will bring together a range of scholars in conversation about new directions in textual editing and scholarly editions.

May 25, Panel 1 – “The Past, Present, and Future of the Scholarly Edition”

Cochairs and Keynotes: Derrick Spires (Associate Professor of Literatures in English and affiliate faculty in American Studies, Cornell University) and Amy Earhart (Associate Professor of English and affiliated faculty of Africana Studies, Texas A&M University)


  • Joycelyn Moody (Sue E. Denman Distinguished Chair in American Literature, University of Texas at San Antonio)
  • Douglas Jones (Associate Professor of English and Assistant Dean of Humanities, Rutgers University)
  • Kirsten Silva-Gruesz (Professor of Literature, University of California Santa Cruz)

May 25, Panel 2 – “Textual Editing and the Future of Digital Editions”

Chair and Keynote: Matt Cohen (Professor of English, Co-Director of the Walt Whitman Archive, and Affiliate Faculty in Native American Studies, University of Nebraska Lincoln)


  • Robert Warrior (Hall Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture, University of Kansas)
  • Jimmy Sweet (Assistant Professor of American Studies, Rutgers University)
  • Christine DeLucia (Assistant Professor of History, Williams College)

May 26, Panel 3 – “Textual Editing Beyond the Print Edition of the Canonical Writer”

Chair and Keynote: John Bryant (Professor Emeritus of English, Hofstra University)


  • Joseph Rezek (Associate Professor of English, Boston University)
  • John Garcia (Assistant Professor of English, Florida State University)
  • John McKivigan (Mary O’Brien Gibson Professor of History, Africana Studies, Indiana University)

May 26, Panel 4 – “Textual Editing in the Classroom and Beyond”

Chair and Keynote: Elizabeth Maddock Dillon (Professor of English and Co-Director of the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks, Northeastern University)


  • Sarah Robbins (PhD Candidate in History, Yale University)
  • James Ascher (PhD Candidate in English, University of Virginia)
  • Sonia Di Loreto (Assistant Professor of American Literature, University of Torino–Italy)
  • Meredith Neuman (Associate Professor of English, Clark University)

Early Modern Typography/Race/Gender Roundtable

May 19, 2021, Online.

Early Modern Typography/Race/Gender Roundtable that includes B.K. Adams, Erika Boeckeler, Claire M. L. Bourne, Jill Gage, and Miles P. Grier.

This roundtable will discuss how early modern typography—broadly construed as the design and disposition of type on the page and within the bounds of the book—was anything but a neutral container for the publication of early modern writing. Indeed, the very idea of black ink on white paper was frequently used to produce and mediate discourses of race and gender in plays, poems, and other literary and non-literary texts printed in the period. Panelists will discuss from various angles the metaphorics and literal uses of type, ink, paper, and the mechanics of printing to demonstrate how textual design functioned as a site for negotiating and securing a discourse of whiteness that—in effect and in reality—marginalized non-conforming bodies and identities. We will also discuss whether early modern typography might challenge this discourse.

The Thunderbird Press: A Roundtable Discussion

May 14, 2021, Online.

The Thunderbird Press: A Roundtable Discussion with Marie-Hélène Jeannotte, Emanuelle Dufour, Christine Sioui Wawanoloath, and Édith-Anne Pageot.

This event will propose an introduction to Indigenous Print in Canada by studying an interesting but very little known Indigenous printing initiative led between 1974 and 1976 in Québec, at the Collège Manitou: Thunderbird Press. Collège Manitou was a college-level educational institution in La Macaza (Québec, Canada) where Indigenous Students were trained according to the principles of First Nations traditional education. Among other courses, Indigenous students were trained in printing.

“Dante 1481: the Comedia, illustrated by Botticelli”

May 4, 2021, Online.

“Dante 1481: the Comedia, illustrated by Botticelli” hosted by University College London Special Collection & co-sponsored by the BSA & the Italian Cultural Institute of London.

2021 marks the 540th anniversary of the edition’s publication and the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death. To celebrate, this event will display copies from Italy, the U.S.A. and the U.K. and tell the books’ stories from their current keepers. We’ll be using online technology developed during the lockdown to give the audience visual access to copies that couldn’t otherwise be brought together physically at one time.

RSA Virtual Meeting

April 13, 20-21 2021

Four BSA sponsored sessions will be held at RSA’s 2021 virtual conference, organized by BSA-RSA Liaison Aaron T. Pratt. Details on the RSA website

In defense of “cognitive territories:” translation and typography as tools for self determination in Santa Fe de la Laguna, Michoacán (Mexico)

February 12, 2021. Online.

As Mixe linguist and activist Yasnaya Aguilar Gil states, “A language is not just a linguistic system but also a cognitive territory where indigenous languages have been historically in conflict with the…state…As such, [we can’t] think of fighting for the vitality of our languages without fighting for the autonomy of our lands” (“La lengua no es cultura,” 2020). With autonomy and self-determination as its underlying principles, linguist and translator Sol Arechiga Mantilla founded hormiguero publishing which works with non-hegemonic languages, particularly indigenous languages in Mexico, as well as the tools of translation and typography that facilitate their publication and study. Drawing upon her experience facilitating Spanish-Purepecha translation workshops in Santa Fe de la Laguna, Michoacan, Arechiga Mantilla discusses how the development of specialized typography for indigenous languages is essential for preserving not only the languages themselves, but also the epistemologies and world visions that they embody and that are intimately tied to both their ancestral lands and present day territories.

En defensa de territorios cognitivos: traducción y tipografía en Santa Fe de la Laguna, Michoacán (México)
Como señala la lingüista y activista mixe Yásnaya Elena Aguilar Gil, “una lengua no es sólo un sistema lingüístico concreto, es también un territorio cognitivo del que se nos despoja en el caso de las lenguas indígenas que han sido históricamente combatidas por el Estado mexicano… ya no puedo pensar la lucha por la vitalidad de las lenguas sin la lucha por los procesos autonómicos y por nuestros territorios” (“La lengua no es cultura”, 2020). Con la autonomía y la autodeterminación como principios rectores, Sol Aréchiga Mantilla, lingüista, traductora y editora, fundó hormiguero, proyecto que trabaja con lenguas no hegemónicas, en particular, las lenguas indígenas de México, y que emplea las herramientas de la traducción y la tipografía para facilitar su publicación y disfrute. A partir de su experiencia facilitando talleres de traducción español-pu’réhpecha en Santa Fe de la Laguna, Michoacán, Aréchiga Mantilla, hablará sobre la traducción colaborativa horizontal, la necesidad de desarrollar tipografías adecuadas para las lenguas indígenas a fin de contribuir a su fortalecimiento, y las implicaciones que esta aproximación puede tener con las epistemologías y visiones de mundo ancladas a territorios específicos.

Bibliographical Legacies: Reproduction & the Mesoamerican Book

January 28, 2021. Online.

The Mesoamerican book inhabits multiple bibliographical spaces that defy simple descriptions and straightforward categorization.  Media made from the twelfth to the seventeenth centuries where Indigenous poets, priests, historians, intellectuals, translators, and artists stored and transmitted knowledge in pictorial and alphabetic formats, Mesoamerican books lived on in new editions tied to narratives of empire and state formation that decontextualized their original use to fulfill political or religious agendas. Participants will analyze a range of reproductions that include: the silencing of Mesoamerican scribal traditions and the invention of colonial ignorance in Alexander von Humboldt’s thirty-two volume, Le voyage aux régions equinoxiales du Nouveau Continent, fait en 1799–1804; Mexican print technologies that repurposed Mesoamerican books in works such as Vicente Riva Palacio’s Mexico a través de los siglos (1882); the postcolonial life of the Pintura del gobernador, alcaldes y regidores de México that outlined abuses by Spanish authorities; and the Florentine Codex Initiative, an interactive digital platform that examines a sixteenth-century Mexican manuscript produced collaboratively by Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagún and a team of Nahua authors and artists.

NB: MemberPlanet’s software does not support accents and diacritical marks in text. To view the text with accents and diacritical marks please see the BSA website. We urge you to write to MemberPlanet to help us advocate to make this important update to their software.

Moderator: Alex Hidalgo, Associate Professor of History and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Texas Christian University


  • Jorge Canizares-Esguerra, Alice Drysdale Sheffield Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin
  • Dominique Polanco, Research Associate, Department of Religion and Culture, Virginia Tech
  • Kim N. Richter, Senior Research Specialist, Getty Research Institute
  • Corinna Zeltsman, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Georgia Southern University

Publishing in PBSA: Ask the Editors

January 27, 2021. Online.

Please join Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America editor David Gants and book reviews editor Meaghan J. Brown for a special online Q&A session on January 27. This is your chance to ask questions about the process of submitting work for consideration for publication in PBSA and about becoming a PBSA book reviewer. While the discussion will be guided by the questions you ask, the editors can answer queries such as:

  • What kinds of articles are you looking for right now?
  • What is a bibliographical note?
  • What is the peer review process like? How long does it take?
  • Does everyone who submits an article receive a response from an editor?
  • Do I need to have image permissions before I submit my article?
  • What types of books can I review?
  • How do you match a book with the right reviewer?
  • I want my book to be reviewed in PBSA – what should I do?

In addition, Gants and Brown will be available to provide valuable insight into submitting to journals in book history more broadly. This special online session will be recorded for future viewing. Registration is required and free of charge.


Anarchist Poetry, Revolutionary Propaganda, and a Prison Library: Examining the Textual Legacy of Mexico’s Magonismo and Its Resonances Today

December 11, 2020. Online.

Through an examination of renowned Mexican anarchist Enrique Flores Magon’s library, Diego Flores Magon traces the impact of Mexican anarchist thought Magonismo, its influences on revolutionary movements in Mexico and the US during the early 1900s, and its resonances today. Starting with the radical “prison library” that Enrique’s brother Ricardo circulated during his incarceration in Leavenworth Penitentiary (Kansas) to the numerous informally published pamphlets of Ricardo’s writing that were sold by solidarity organizers for his legal fund, to anarchist poetry inspired by Magonismo, Diego analyzes how Mexican anarchist thought crossed geographic and temporal borders and reflects on the impact of the Flores Magon revolutionary textual legacy. Through his revitalization of La Casa del Hijo de El Ahuizote, the original Flores Magon printing space in Mexico City’s historic city center, Diego discusses current printing efforts imbued by the spirit of Magonismo and the process of creating facsimile editions of rare anarchist newspapers and poetry found in the Flores Magon library.

Poesía anarquista, propaganda revolucionaria y una biblioteca de la cárcel: examinando el legado textual de Magonismo y sus resonancias hoy en día
A partir de algunos ejemplares de la biblioteca del renombrado anarquista Enrique Flores Magón, Diego Flores Magón rastrea la influencia del movimiento denominado “magonismo”, por medio de su producción editorial, en los movimientos revolucionarios de México y Estados Unidos a principios del siglo veinte, hasta sus resonancias contemporáneas. Pondrá a consideración de los asistentes algunos ejemplares de la literatura radical que los hermanos Ricardo y Enrique Flores Magón circulaban entre sus compañeros presidiarios en Leavenworth (Kansas, EU); se presentarán los primeros librillos hechos para distribuir los textos de Ricardo,  que sus simpatizantes anarquistas vendían, primero, para financiar su proceso legal y, finalmente, se pondrá sobre la mesa un caso excepcional de poesía anarquista inspirada por este mismo movimiento. Diego reflexionará sobre la manera en que el pensamiento anarquista mexicano cruzó fronteras geográficas y temporales. Los libros son la materia del legado textual revolucionario de los hermanos Flores Magón. Con la revitalización de La Casa de El Hijo del Ahuizote, el lugar original de la imprenta de los hermanos Flores Magón, Diego hablará sobre sus proyectos editoriales actuales, que canalizan el espíritu de “magonismo” y los procesos para crear ediciones facsímiles de periódicos anarquistas y poesía que se encuentra en la biblioteca Flores Magón.

Diego’s presentation will be given in Spanish with simultaneous interpretation into English by Antena Los Angeles.

Early European Materials in Modern American Archives: The Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society

December 9, 2020. Online.

Since its founding in 1791, the Massachusetts Historical Society has collected and communicated materials for the study of American history. Well-known today among its collections are the presidential papers of John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Thomas Jefferson; the Wampanoag vocabularies Native speakers taught to John Cotton Jr. and his son Josiah; and items related to the Civil War-era Massachusetts 54th Regiment. The presence of pre-modern European manuscripts at the MHS might therefore seem a little odd. What does a book of hours have to do with Boston’s early republic? Yet, since as early as 1796, when “several ancient manuscripts” entered the collections, the Society has held a slowly but steadily growing assemblage of medieval and Renaissance materials ranging from twelfth-century charters to a seemingly endless collection of indentures.

Using the example of the MHS collections, Agnieszka Rec will offer a medievalist’s perspective on the opportunities afforded by the presence of early European manuscripts in American historical collections. After an introduction to the MHS’s earliest materials, we will follow two threads: colonial paleography and nineteenth-century antiquarian interests.

Building Better Book Feminisms

December 3, 2020. Online.

Recent years have seen a surge of interest in feminist bibliography, sparked primarily by work by Kate Ozment and Sarah Werner, drawing on a 1998 piece by Leslie Howsam in SHARP News. In this roundtable, the question of how to expand the field of feminist book studies takes precedence. What does feminist theory and methodology offer to all walks of material text studies? With participants coming from the fields of book history, bibliography, libraries and archives, the conversation will open with position statements about what better book feminisms might entail and expand into a discussion between participants and viewers about what makes this an attractive practice and the directions it needs to move in.

Co-sponsored by Cornell University Libraries.

Roundtable Participants:
Tamar Evangelestia-Dougherty, Associate University Librarian, Cornell University
Leslie Howsam, Distinguished University Professor Emerita (History) at University of Windsor & Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Digital Humanities at Ryerson University
Brenda Marston, Curator, Human Sexuality Collection, Cornell University Library
Kate Ozment, Assistant Professor, English, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Sarah Werner, independent scholar, Washington, DC

Book/Print Artists/Scholars of Color Collective: Irene Chan, Devin Fitzgerald, Colette Fu, and Radha Pandey

November 20, 2020. Online.

Book artist Tia Blassingame founded The Book/Print Artists/Scholars of Color Collective to build community and collaborations with BIPOC book/print practitioners and scholars. The Collective represents a growing community of more than twenty book artists, scholars, librarians, papermakers, letterpress printers, printmakers, and curators. All are passionate about book history, print culture, and the endless potential of artists’ books as vehicles of social change and cultural conveyors that uplift our communities, and tell our stories, histories.

This is the second in a series of three events generously funded by David Solo featuring presentations and discussions by Collective members. In this session, four members of the collective will share their artwork and scholarship. Presenters and their topics are:

Irene Chan will share images and talk about her artist books with performance on topics of the immigrant experience, forgotten histories, and personal storytelling. Chan is a multidisciplinary artist who works conceptually in print media, papermaking, installation, storytelling performance, and book arts. She is an Associate Professor of Visual Arts (Founder and Head of Print Media) and Affiliate Faculty of Asian Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, U.S.A. Her books and works on paper have been exhibited internationally and held in 80 public collections including the Walker Art Center, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Tate Modern, Victoria & Albert Museum, and British Library in London. Chan established Ch’An (ch’ ahn) Press through which she has self-published prints and 35 artist books to date. She is the recipient of grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Arts Council, Maryland State Arts Council, Washington D.C. Commission of the Arts and Humanities, of fellowships to 23 artist residencies, and has exhibited and performed in 55 venues in the last ten years.

Devin Fitzgerald‘s talk will introduce the three major traditions of woodblock printing in 21st century China. Devin is the Curator of Rare Books and the History of Printing at UCLA Library Special Collections. A specialist in Western and East Asian book history and a bibliographer, Devin researches the global circulation of East Asian books. Devin was a 2015 Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Critical Bibliography and received additional training at both the University of Virginia and California Rare Book Schools. He obtained his PhD in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University.

Colette Fu will introduce her ongoing series of pop up books that she’s been working on since 2008 about the ethnic minority groups of China. Fu received her MFA in Fine Art Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2003, and soon after began devising complex compositions that incorporate photography and pop-up paper engineering. She has designed for award-winning stop motion animation commercials and free-lanced for clients including Greenpeace, Vogue China, Canon Asia, and the Delaware Disaster Research Center. Fu’s numerous awards include the 2018 Meggendorfer Prize for best paper engineered artist book, a 2008 Fulbright Research Fellowship to China, and grants from the Independence Foundation, Leeway Foundation, En Foco, and the Puffin Foundation. Her photo-based pop-up books are included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Library of Congress, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and many private and rare archive collections. She has attended many fully-funded artist residencies including those at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Swatch Art Peace Hotel, Yaddo, Macdowell Colony, Sacatar, Vermont Studio Center, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and the Alden B. Dow Center for Creativity. Her solo show “Wanderer/Wonderer: The Pop-ups of Colette Fu” was presented at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in 2016/17. In 2017, Fu created the world’s largest pop-up book at the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center measuring 14×21 feet. Visitors were invited to enter the book. A passionate educator, Fu also teaches artmaking as a way to give voice to communities through pop-up paper engineered projects. She teaches pop-up courses and community workshops to marginalized populations at art centers, universities and institutions internationally.

Radha Pandey will present a short sampling of her work, ending with her latest project on Mughal floral botanicals and the colonialization of plants by the British and how that changed the aesthetics of the book and our relationship with nature. Pandey is a papermaker and letterpress printer. She earned her MFA in Book Arts from the University of Iowa Center for the Book where she was a recipient of the Iowa Arts Fellowship. She practices European, Eastern and Indo-Islamic Papermaking techniques and teaches book arts classes in India, Europe and the US. Her book Anatomia Botanica won the MICA Book Award in 2014, and received an Honorable Mention at the 15th Carl Hertzog Award for Excellence in Book Design. In 2018, her book Deep Time won the Joshua Heller Memorial Award. Her artists books are held in over 40 public collections internationally, including the Library of Congress and Yale University. Currently, Radha is working on an artist book inspired by Mughal floral portraiture from the 17th century, for which all the paper will be hand made in the traditional Indo-Islamic style.

The Book in Movement: Experimentation & Craft in Autonomous Publishing Networks in Latin America

November 11, 2020. Online.

Over the past two decades, Latin America has seen an explosion of experiments with autonomy, as people across the continent express their refusal to be absorbed by the logic and order of neoliberalism. The autonomous movements of the twenty-first century are marked by an unprecedented degree of interconnection, through their use of digital tools and their insistence on the importance of producing knowledge about their practices through strategies of self-representation and grassroots theorization. The Book in Movement (University of Pittsburgh Press 2019) explores the reinvention of a specific form of media: the print book. Magalí Rabasa travels through the political and literary underground of cities in Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile to explore the ways that autonomous politics are enacted in the production and circulation of books.

Candid Conversations: Booksellers & Librarians

November 5, 2020. Online.

This webinar – the first in a prospective series scheduled in conjunction with major book fairs – explores the necessarily close but complicated working relationship between special collections librarians and booksellers. Aiming to make the intersection of the two fields more transparent, and geared primarily to early career professionals in both librarianship and the trade, the BSA invites anonymous questions to be posed to a librarian and a bookseller as the basis of an informal and candid conversation between them, based on their own experiences.

In this session, taking place the week before the virtual Boston book fair, BSA members Charlotte Priddle, Director of Special Collections at NYU, and Heather O’Donnell, founder of Honey & Wax Booksellers, will respond to questions received in advance from audience members. The webinar will conclude with an opportunity for live questions (posed anonymously or not via Zoom webinar’s Q&A feature) and will be moderated by BSA Executive Director Erin McGuirl.

Book/Print Artists/Scholars of Color Collective: Tia Blassingame, Ashley Hairston Doughty, Kinohi Nishikawa, and Curtis Small

October 23, 2020. Online.

Book artist Tia Blassingame founded The Book/Print Artists/Scholars of Color Collective to build community and collaborations with BIPOC book/print practitioners and scholars. The Collective represents a growing community of more than twenty book artists, scholars, librarians, papermakers, letterpress printers, printmakers, and curators. All are passionate about book history, print culture, and the endless potential of artists’ books as vehicles of social change and cultural conveyors that uplift our communities, and tell our stories, histories.

This is the first in a series of three events generously funded by David Solo featuring presentations and discussions by Collective members. In this session, four members of the collective will share their artwork and scholarship. Presenters and their topics are:

Tia Blassingame will discuss representing Blackness in artists’ books. A book artist and printmaker exploring the intersection of race, history, and perception, Blassingame often incorporates archival research and her own poetry in her artist’s book projects for nuanced discussions of racism in the United States. Her artist’s books are held in library and museum collections including Library of Congress, Stanford University, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, and State Library of Queensland. Blassingame is an Assistant Professor of Art at Scripps College and serves as the Director of Scripps College Press.

Ashley Hairston Dougherty: Her talk will be an examination of personal identity through book arts and visual narratives. Doughty is a visual storyteller, explaining personal experiences through verbal and visual language. Much of her practice deals with socio-economic, racial, and gender-based issues, particularly those relating to cultural misconceptions and the development of personal identity. Although trained as a graphic designer, Doughty’s artwork often crosses multiple media, including typography, illustration, writing, fiber and materials, and book arts. She shares and encourages such art-making as an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and through her design studio, Design Kettle. Doughty’s work is included in the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection in Chicago and has received awards from the Caxton Club, the College Book Arts Association, and Arion Press.

Kinohi Nishikawa will offer a brief discussion of the folds, seams, and edges of contemporary Black book arts, with a particular focus on work by Tia Blassingame and Yolanda Wisher. His talk will attend to the object’s turning points as an important aspect of thinking critically about race in the present moment. Nishikawa is Associate Professor of English and African American Studies at Princeton University. His book Street Players: Black Pulp Fiction and the Making of a Literary Underground was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2018. He is currently at work on Black Paratext, a study of how book design has shaped modern African American literature.

Curtis Small will discuss “Reading danger” in Black women’s artists’ books, with a focus on work by Clarissa Sligh and Tia Blassingame. Small is a Librarian and Coordinator of Public Services for the Special Collections department at the University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press. In this position, he coordinates the reference, instruction and exhibition programs, and also serves as a curator for the rare book collections. In 2017, Curtis curated the exhibition Issues and Debates in African American Literature at UD Library. In 2019, he was a co-organizer of the Black Bibliographia conference, also at the University of Delaware. As a proud team member of the Colored Conventions Project, Curtis works on permissions and outreach. He has also done scholarly research on the print history of the Colored Conventions Movement and the importance of Haiti within the movement. Curtis also works to increase racial diversity among professionals in the fields of archives and Special Collections. He holds a PhD in French from New York University and an MLIS degree from the School of Library and Information Science at Simmons University.

The Screenplay as Material Text

October 1, 2020. Online.

Screenplays are bibliographical frankensteins. They are book-objects used to circulate the “same” text to multiple people in more than one printed copy. They are also manuscript-like, produced and circulated in multiple drafts over time, and most are never commercially published. Libraries tend to acquire them not for their value as stand-alone objects, but as part of personal or corporate archives. And last but not least, they were overwhelmingly produced by women tapping away on typewriters in Hollywood studio typing pools. Scripts challenge some of our most basic assumptions about printerly labor.

In this webinar, Kevin Johnson and Erin Schreiner will introduce screenplays as collectible, hybrid textual objects with research value for those interested not only in film studies, but also in the production and circulation of non-letterpress text in the 20th century. Kevin and Erin will also review several materially distinctive features of scripts including their format, binding, provenance, and the various office duplication machines used to print them.

Black Bibliography: Dorothy Porter’s “Early American Negro Writings” at 75

August 20, 2020. Online.

Since present practice does not provide for catalogue entries under the color or race of author, nor as a general rule does a library classification bring them together on the shelf, existing bibliographical apparatus was of very little use …” Dorothy Porter, “Early American Negro Writings” (click for free access via University of Chicago Press) (1945)

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Dorothy Porter’s (1905-1995) “Early American Negro Writings: A Bibliographical Study,” published in The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America. Porter’s 1945 essay is a touchstone of Black bibliography; her insistence that African American writing merited a place in the Papers was – and remains – a critique of bibliographical studies more broadly. Through this essay and later work, such as Early Negro Writing (1971), Porter helped define a field of Black authorship that expanded the idea of how, where, and for what purposes Black writers used print in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Challenging a prevailing view of Black subjects as unlettered and absent from early literary history, she revealed a large and rich field of “Negro literature” located in hymn books, orations, almanacs, petitions, newspapers, satires, sermons, and organizational proceedings—as well as in poetry and narrative. For decades, Porter’s expansive and collective understanding of Black textuality has guided bibliographers, cataloguers, literary scholars, and historians.

Recent work from Laura Helton, Zita Nunes, and Autumn Womack has given us a new appreciation for Porter’s innovative cataloguing practices and use of resources as curator of Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Her cataloguing system, for instance, centered the African diaspora and created a way of seeing blackness where it was not marked within dominant knowledge structures. As recent social justice movements have brought renewed attention to institutional collecting practices, this webinar convenes an interdisciplinary group of scholars and librarians to reflect on Porter, her unfinished mission to make Black print accessible, and the blueprint she provided to rethink bibliography, archives, and libraries today.

H(EX) LIBRIS: Tracing Occult Identities

July 31, 2020. Online.

The determination of occult textual identities has evolved beyond editing and interpreting of key texts, but rather tracing commonalities, typology, and cultural relevance to contemporary bibliographic sources. Particularly, it populates aspects of magical commerce, proprietary accumulation, and recognition of posthumous spaces.

It has also revealed the marginalization and failure of scholarship to recognize specific voices in occult book history. In this brief webinar, Kim Schwenk traces the nature of occult identities formed through marginalia, provenance, and art and design in print, with an effort to advocate for diverse narratives. Kim will be using examples of inscriptions, bookplates, and design features, intrinsic to occult practices and identities. For catalogers, bibliographers, and bibliophiles, the conversation will outline the need for advanced bibliographic description and cultural context for ‘hidden’ creators and relationships within occult materials to empower collection development and collaborative scholarship.

Kim Schwenk (MLIS) is a rare book cataloger at UC San Diego, Special Collections & Archives Library and an antiquarian bookseller with Lux Mentis, Booksellers. She has a specialization in American and European witchcraft history, history of early printed occult texts, and bibliographic studies of magical curses using plants and objects. She also is active in occult sciences and the occult book community both as a researcher and a practitioner. As of 2019, she is researching “occult ex libris,” otherwise known as “hex libris” or occult bookplates.


Toward Inclusive Bibliography, Los Angeles

October 12, 2019. Los Angeles.

With over 220 languages spoken, and vibrant populations from around the world, Los Angeles County is one of the most diverse regions of the United States. Despite this diversity, there has been little crossover between the region’s distinctive collections of rare bibliographical materials and the communities that surround them. This panel is intended to begin a new dialogue between bibliography as a field for enriching our appreciation of rare materials and Library Special collections.

The panel will begin with a keynote address by Marina Garone Gravier, Professor at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas, Professor Gravier will describe how a capacious bibliographic approach to the study of the Latin American imprint enriches our histories of the book and illustrates the significance of diverse library collections. This talk will be given in Spanish and simultaneously translated into English.

Following the lecture, a panel dedicated to describing community collections will feature two talks. The first, by Richard Soto, founder of the Chicano Research Center in Stockton California, will describe the center and the importance of making Chicano writings accessible to the community at large. He will be joined by Lizeth Ramirez, Librarian/Archivist for Los Angeles Communities and Cultures | Bibliotecaria/Archivista para Comunidades y Culturas de Los Ángeles, who will describe ongoing projects to document Los Angeles.

Question and answer periods will be moderated by event organizer and BSA member Devin Fitzgerald, Curator of Rare Books and the History of Printing, UCLA Special Collections.

Feminist Bibliography Workshop

October 11, 2019. Washington, DC.

The study of how books were made and how we interpret the signs of their making has been shaped predominantly by men. And while scholars and librarians are increasingly interested in women in the book trades, we still need to consider what a feminist praxis of studying the making of books could be. This three-hour workshop will draw on the Folger’s collections in order to collectively consider how feminist theory can shape the questions we ask of material texts and the pedagogies we use to introduce them. The workshop will not be teaching or reviewing the basics of bibliography; a prior familiarity with the subject or a comfort with not understanding physical bibliography will be needed.

An Introduction to Islamic Manuscripts

October 11, 2019. Houston, TX.

The arts of the book in the Islamic world encompass nearly 1,400 years of rich and varied production, from the earliest Qur’anic codices of the seventh century to the albums of calligraphy, painting, and drawing assembled by connoisseurs in the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. This workshop will introduce religious manuscripts, literary manuscripts, and albums from the Islamic world through examples selected from the outstanding permanent and long-term loan collections at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Participants will learn to associate certain styles, materials, and formats with each genre, and will also gain insight about the collection and display of Islamic manuscripts in museums.

BSA members are encouraged to attend, but membership in the Society is not required. If you are interested in joining a growing, inter-disciplinary and inter-professional community of bibliographers and book historians, please find information about membership here.

This workshop will be led by Margaret Squires, curatorial assistant for Art of the Islamic Worlds at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Margaret holds a BA in Arabic language and literature and an MA in Islamic art and architecture. She has studied manuscripts from across Islamic lands and recently installed a new display focused on the arts of the book in the MFAH’s permanent galleries for art of the Islamic worlds. In addition to her art historical background, Margaret is also a trained Arabic calligrapher.

The Material Evidence in Incunabula (MEI) Database and American Collections

June 18, 2019. Baltimore.

Material evidence in Incunabula (MEI) is an international database, freely accessible, specifically designed to record and search the material evidence of 15th-century printed books: ownership, decoration, binding, manuscript annotations, stamps, prices, etc. The collaborative enterprise of over 400 European and American libraries, it contains over 40,000 high quality records and the identification of over 18,000 former owners.

MEI is hosted and maintained by the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL). MEI introduced an innovative approach to the recording of provenance: the application of geographical (GeoNames) and temporal indicators applied to every element of provenance, to track the movement of books over space and time during their 500 years of life. Now we are in the position to visualise the movement of thousands books, and to understand patterns and trends in the use and survival of early printed books. By integrating provenance data we are also reconstructing dispersed libraries and of course support the high-quality copy-specific cataloguing of every library with this kind of material.

A powerpoint will be distributed in advance; participants will be registered for editing the database in advance. This workshop will be held at the George Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University, where participants will work with incunabula from the Peabody collections. Participants are responsible for getting themselves to the workshop, located about one mile from the conference hotel. Brought to you by the Bibliographical Society of America (BSA) and the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL).

Lead by Christina Dondi (University of Oxford)

Toward Inclusive Bibliography

June 3, 2019. London (Maggs Bros., Ltd.)

Click here to register.

Bibliography implies community. It focuses on understanding the creation and circulation of texts as physical objects; and implicitly recognizes that behind each surviving object, no matter how small, there are communities at work: booksellers and collectors, volunteers saving a local organizers’ flyers in their closets, the curatorial staff at a museum. Yet at the same time, bibliographical teaching and scholarship have historically focused on a narrow range of materials and creators, even while broadening in chronological range and subject matter. Having centered a canon defined by Western European values, the discipline has built a body of knowledge in which large gaps remain to be filled, especially regarding groups kept outside of centers of political and institutional power on the basis of their race, ability, class-background, gender identity or sexual orientation, or any combination of these factors.

This panel aims to highlight the work of people filling those gaps, with the explicit intention of demonstrating how bibliographical scholarship and practices can be channeled toward a more realistic understanding of historic and contemporary relationships between people and texts. Our conversation looks to expand bibliographies and the communities they connect by broadening our view of who does bibliography, and how.

Panelists Eyob Derillo (British Library), Hudda Khaireh (Thick/er Black Lines artist collective/OOMK) and Brooke Palmieri (Camp Books),  offer perspectives from traditional sites of bibliographical practice – the bookshop, the library, and the academy – as well as from marginalized or minority groups working as “bibliographers” on their own and for themselves. This panel aims to fill gaps not only to by enumerating and analyzing more material, but also by including and recognizing new voices and perspectives in the conversation. Fuchsia Voremberg (Maggs) will moderate.

Please click here for more information about the panelists, including biographical statements and abstracts of their presentations.

The Roads Taken, Or, The Obstacle Course

April 25-26, 2019. Princeton, NJ.

The Research Group on Manuscript Evidence’s 2019 Anniversary Symposium takes inspiration from its session organized by Barbara A. Shailor, showcasing case-studies at Yale University, on “The Peregrinations of Manuscripts:  Origin, Provenance, or Both”.  Our program and curated displays demonstrate myriad challenges and opportunities for assessing the origins, travels, and arrivals of manuscripts, documents, and rare books. The focus centers upon selected medieval and early modern materials, both Western and non-Western. We include reports of discoveries, work-in-progress, cumulative research, and collaborative projects.

Attention to the essence of “Location, Location, Location” — involving stages in the history, present homes, and resource potential of the materials — may also consider choices made by scholars, teachers, curators, collectors, and bibliophiles in shaping their paths towards chosen fields of concentration, methods of approach, and regional and international collaborations.

Considering “The Roads Taken” (obstacles included) by original materials in their patterns of production, use, collection, scholarship, and recognition, our event is designed to examine the nature of the evidence for locating the origins, travels, and homes of textual materials in diverse forms.

Full program information here.

Ethical Outreach with Culturally-Sensitive Content: Practices, Provocation, and Power

June 19, 2019. Baltimore.

Session at the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section Conference
Preparing timely and meaningful exhibits and outreach events is a crucial part of special collections and archives librarianship. Accomplishing this task in contemporary society often means engaging the public with materials that reflect histories of violence, racism, and oppression. Attendees of this seminar will learn from outreach specialists, collection curators, and faculty partners, who will share effective and responsible approaches to special collections outreach with these materials. Building upon previous conversations on this theme as it relates to other professional functions, this seminar turns the focus to the particular challenges related to outreach practices including exhibits, social media, and community events that purposefully engage the public with these materials and themes. Presenters will engage with questions such as: How do we present these materials ethically and conscientiously in the special collections outreach environment, and remain attentive to the risks of replicating these histories when presenting materials that document violent, racist, or oppressive acts? How do we call attention, in exhibits and outreach, to the materials that are missing both from the historical record and from our collections? How can we work to center voices representing oppressed communities both in the collections we highlight, and in the expertise we engage in all stages of the outreach process? How do we prepare special collections librarians and archivists in the profession to accomplish this work?


  • Myranda Fuentes, Institutional History Research Specialist, Dartmouth College
  • Ruth Anne Jones, Michigan State University
  • Grace Adeneye (moderator), University of Delaware
  • Dr. Courtney R. Baker, Associate Professor, American Studies & Chair, Black Studies, Occidental College
  • Allen Chen, Occidental College ’18
  • Elizabeth Tibebu, Occidental College ’19

Roundtable: Absence in the Archives: New Methods for Representing Exclusion

March 23, 2019. Denver, CO.

Session at American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Annual Meeting

Chair: Lisa Maruca, Wayne State University

  • Margaret Ezell, Texas A&M University: “The Printer’s Mark: Finding Anne Maxwell”
  • Eleanor F. Shevlin, West Chester University: “Absence in the Face of Presence: Printer Mary Harrison”
  • Emily Friedman, Auburn University: “The Accidentally Anonymous”
  • Whitney Arnold, UCLA: “Uncovering Invisible Texts: Topic Modeling the Monthly Review
  • Lena Emelyn Zlock, Stanford University: “Beyond Rousseau and Montesquieu: Digitally Locating Individuals in Voltaire’s Library”
  • Bethany E. Qualls, UC Davis: “Secret Histories, Secret Signals, and Subalterity in the Hatian Revolution”

Bookbindings in their Cultural Context

March 18, 2019. Toronto.

Sessions at the Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting

Organizers: Caroline Duroselle-Melish, Folger Shakespeare Library & Nina Musinsky, Nina Musinsky Rare Books
Chair: Nina Musinsky, Nina Musinsky Rare Books
Respondent: Nina Musinsky, Nina Musinsky Rare Books

Coptic Manuscripts Workshop

May 17, 2019, Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Egyptian Christian tradition has a long legacy of vibrant book production and circulation. The workshop will reflect on this legacy and the rich book culture of Egypt. Focusing on objects from the fourth century to the eighteenth century, we will study biblical, literary, and documentary texts on pottery fragments, papyrus and parchment leaves, and illuminated paper codices.

This workshop will be led by Andrea Myers Achi, Assistant Curator in the Department of Medieval Art at the Met and The Cloisters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. Dr. Achi specializes in late antique and Byzantine art, manuscript studies, and late Roman ceramics. Her doctoral dissertation at the NYU Institute of Fine Arts  investigated monastic books and book production from the medieval Monastery of St. Michael in Egypt.  In addition to her art historical research, she have been involved with numerous excavations in Egypt and Italy.

Registration is open only to BSA Members and is now closed as the event is fully registered.