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[BKARTS] RBS Freshest Advices April 2004


The following message has been sent to the Book_arts-L, ExLibris, and SHARP-L bulletin boards.

Rare Book School : FRESHEST ADVICES : April 2004

Later this month, RBS will submit a $250,000 grant proposal to the National
Endowment for the Humanities' Office of Challenge Grants. If the proposal
is successful, the school will launch a campaign to increase the RBS
endowment to $1 million. A major part of the grant proposal is a narrative
section in which we describe the significance and intellectual quality of
our activities and programs, and explain why these activities are
important, and to whom. To buttress this section of the proposal, we would
welcome statements from individual RBS alums, explaining how they, their
careers, their institutions, and (if possible) the humanities in general
have profited from attendance at RBS courses. The statements should be in
the form of an open letter addressed to me as director of the school, and
they need to reach me, via the US post, fax, or email, by Monday, 26 April.

The new course description for the RBS Seminar on Book Illustration
Processes is posted on the RBS Web site:
The seminar came about because of (1) many requests over the years from the
alums of the basic RBS illustration process course; (2) our desire to
highlight the school's rapidly growing collection of examples of printing
surfaces, files of individual prints, and illustration packets (the basic
course uses about 110 of the 425 illustration packets currently in the
collection); and (3) the circumstance that the course instructor -- having
taught "Book Illustration Process to 1890" a total of 26 times since 1983
-- is beginning to have some idea of how to teach it.

In the June sessions, The Printed Book in the West to 1800 (Antonetti) and
Collecting the History of Anglo-American Law (Cohen/Warrington) are on
waiting list; there is currently one space in Book Illustration Processes
to 1890. The other June courses are still open. In the summer sessions, the
greatest pressure is on Introduction to the History of Bookbinding (Storm
van Leeuwen), Introduction to Special Collections Librarianship (Schreyer),
and Japanese Illustrated Books 1615-1868 (Tinios), all of which have
received more applications than there is room. The other courses are still
    Half-tuition scholarships are available for Japanese Printmaking,
1615-1868 (Kita), offered 14-18 June; and full-tuition scholarships are
available for Introduction to Latin Paleography and Introduction to
Codicology (Derolez), offered 26-30 July and 2-6 August. For details, see
the Fellowships page on the RBS Web site:

RBS has recently acquired two sets of electrotype plates, about 100 plates
in each set. Neatly packed in small but heavy wooden boxes (two boxes per
set, four boxes in all), they were used to print books of poetry by Lola
Ridge: The Ghetto and other poems (1918); and Sun-up and other poems
(1920), both published in NY by Huebsch. The slotted boxes containing the
plates were constructed to house just such material, and the plates are
evidently in the order in which they came off the forms. Where there is a
blank page in the printed books, the sequence of plates is interrupted by a
type page-sized card with the word "BLANK" printed on it and the
appropriate page number written on it in MS. The Ghetto box contains three
separately-wrapped plates with a letter enclosed from Huebsch (the
publisher) to Carmody (the NYC printer) stating that three corrected plates
(to be used for later printings) were on their way from Vail-Ballou (the
Binghamton NY platemaker), and informing Carmody that the three plates
should be stored with the other plates for this book -- as indeed they
were, though neither The ghetto nor Sun-up seem to have gone into a second
printing, and the plates (though conscientiously stored for future use)
were apparently used only one time each before eventually being sent to the
    This sort of material must have been ubiquitous in the American book
printing trades a century ago, but these are the first complete sets of
plates that I have ever seen, and Michael Winship reports that they are
uncommon. We would be glad to know of similar sets.

Terry Belanger : University Professor : University of Virginia : Rare Book
School : 114 Alderman Library : Charlottesville, VA  22903 : Telephone
434-924-8851   fax 434-924-8824   email belanger@xxxxxxxxxxxx : URL

Terry Belanger : University Professor : University of Virginia : Rare Book
School : 114 Alderman Library : Charlottesville, VA  22903 : Telephone
434/924-8851   fax 434/924-8824   email belanger@xxxxxxxxxxxx : URL

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