Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bibliography Week in NYC

For the first time, I've actually managed to make it down to New York for (part of) Bibliography Week ("Bib Week") an annual lineup of great bibliophilic meetings and events.

My train was late getting in on Wednesday so I missed that afternoon's festivities, unfortunately (but I heard very good things about them). On Thursday morning I had a good, very fruitful meeting with catalogers at the New-York Historical Society about some forthcoming Libraries of Early America projects, and then visited the Bib Week booksellers' showcase (or "mini-fair"), sponsored by the ABAA and featuring a good selection of dealers and titles.

Friday afternoon was the annual meeting of the Bibliographical Society of America, held at the Grolier Club. Prior to the business meeting three featured new scholars talked about their work: Steven Carl Smith on the New York book trade in the early national period, Juliette Atkinson on the circulation of Dumas' work in England, and Barbara Heritage on "Authors vs. bookmakers: Jane Eyre in the marketplace." All three talks were excellent, and served well to highlight how much good book history work is being done these days. Later, outgoing BSA president John Neal Hoover delivered a lecture on his research into the use of books in American cinema from 1900-1970, showing some representative clips of how books are used in both scene and plot (a database of scenes he's built will be available on BibSite later this year, he reported).

This afternoon the American Printing History Assocation holds its annual meeting, and in the evening a memorial gathering will be held to honor the life and work of Sue Allen, longtime RBS faculty member and expert on 19th-century American publishers' cloth bindings.

Bringing together bibliophiles and other great biblio-humans (it's sort of like a Rare Book School "old home week"), Bib Week is an excellent opportunity to catch up with old friends, make new connections, and certainly to learn more about the field and take in some of the many things New York has to offer. The Grolier Club's current exhibit "Printing for Kingdom, Empire, & Republic: Treasures from the Archives of the Imprimerie Nationale," is well worth a visit, just by way of a single example (but hurry, it's only up through 4 February!).

And now, off to the day's events (and a visit to Argosy Book Store). Watch the Grolier Club's website later this year for announcements about Bib Week 2013, and, if you can, do come.

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