Library History Roundtable Newsletter


New Series, Volume 3, Number 1
Fall 1996 LHRT Newsletter ISSN 0737-4984.
Copyright (c) 1997 by the American Library Association
may be reproduced for the noncommercial purpose
of scientific or education advancement.

Library History on the Web

As the Internet continues to grow in importance as a means of communication, please take a moment to visit the LHRT web-site at:

  • It is maintained by Joy Kingsolver, who is at the Asher Library/Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago. Her e-mail address is:

    Please send Joy any web-sites you would like added to the LHRT page.

Other web-sites that will be of interest to LHRT members include:

Listed below are three interesting examples of Centers for the Book that have web sites:

SHARP also maintains a list-serve at:

Finally, the University of North Carolina School of Information and Library Science has a web-page identifying master's theses since 1976 through 1994. It has a useful index, too.

The editors would be pleased to learn of more sites appropriate for members of LHRT. Send us those URLs!

As long as we are talking about websites and list-servs, please note that the British Library History Group has established a list-serv of its own. You can join the list by sending a note to:

Leave the subject line blank

Your message should be: join

Questions about the list-serve should be sent to:

Dr John C. Crawford
Library Research Center
Glasgow Caledonian University Library
Glasgow G4 OBA

News and Announcements

SHARP Announces New Prize for Best Publication in Book History

SHARP recently created an annual SHARP Book History Prize. This prize of $1000 will be awarded each year to the best book-length monograph on the history of the book, broadly defined as the history of the creation, dissemination, and uses of script or print.

The first competition will be for books published in 1996. Reference works and collections by more than one author are not eligible. All entries must be in English; translations into English published in 1996 are eligible.

For more information, contact: Elisabeth S. Leedham-Green (chair), University Library, West Road Cambridge CB3 9DR, Britain; Robert L. Patten, English Department, Rice University, PO Box 1892, Houston, TX 77251-1892, USA; and Beth Luey, History Department, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-2501, USA. The submission deadline is 1 March 1997. The first prize will be announced at the July 1997 SHARP conference at Cambridge University.

The Council on Library Resources, Beta Phi Mu, the Library History Round Table, and the Library Research Round Table sponsored the first National Library Research Seminar on November 1-2, 1996 at Florida State University. Among the papers given included three on library history topics:

Louise S. Robbins, Transforming the Present with the Past: A Theoretical and Methodological Essay on the Responsibilities of Historical Research

Anne Lundin, The Triumvirate of Edmund Evans: Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott, and Kate Greenaway

Rebecca Watson-Boone, How LIS Research Literature Describes Librarians: A Synthesis of Selected 1985-1995 Journal Articles

History of the Book at Oxford University, 1996-1997

Professor I.W.F. Maclean of the European Humanities Research Centre at Oxford U. is compiling a newsletter on History of the Book teaching. Once underway the newsletter will carry details of the Oxford-based History of the Book lectures. The newsletter will also provide information of individuals at Oxford involved in or interested in book history.

A web-site has been created which offers comprehensive listing of the History of the Book events at Oxford. The web-site can be found at:

For more information on the History of the Book newsletter contact Professor Maclean at:

European Humanities Research Centre
37A St. Giles


Library History Group

The Library History Group will also be holding a conference entitled Libraries and Modernity on June 27-29, 1997 in Manchester. For more information on this conference contact: Dr. Alistair Black, School of Information Management, Leeds Metropolitan University, The Grange, Beckett Park, Leeds LS6 3QS.

Bibliographical Society of Canada

The Bibliographical Society of Canada will convene a foundation conference to plan a History of the book in Canada. It will meet at the National Library of Canada in Ottawa from 23-25 May 1997. The Society decided at its 50th anniversary meeting in 1996 to support a program of scholarly research aimed at producing a national Canadian history of the book, to be published in French and English. Contact the Bibliographical Society of Canada, PO Box 575, Postal Station P, Toronto, Ont. M5S 2T1, Canada, fax 416-971-1399,

Call for Papers

SHARP will be hold its annual conference at the University of Cambridge from July 4-7, 1997 and is seeking contributions to its new journal, Book History, published by Penn State; first issue is slated to appear in August 1998. Although published in English, the editors welcome articles dealing with any national literature.

Articles dealing with any part of the American hemisphere or the Middle East should be submitted to Professor Ezra Greenspan, Dept. of English, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, e-mail:

Articles dealing with other parts of the world should be sent to Jonathan Rose, Dept. of History, Drew University, Madison, NJ 07940, e-mail: Send one hard copy and a WordPerfect diskette for each article.

"William Gilmore Simms and the Development of American Letters" will be the theme of a conference meeting 10-13 April 1997 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, sponsored by the Center for the Study of the American South. Proposals are invited on such topics as the growth of American publishing, changes in cultural literacy, education, and readers and reading in the second quarter of the nineteenth century, including Simm's roles in such developments and his careers as author, editor, and champion of American and Southern letters. Send paper and session proposals, with curriculum vita, by 17 January 1997 to Stephen Berry, Center for the Study of the American South, 03A Manning Hall, University of North Carolina, Campus Box 3355, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. For further information call 919-962-5665, fax 919-962-4433 or e-mail

The Journal of the Early Book Society is a new annual that plans to publish its first issue in Fall 1997. The editors are seeking essays of 20-25 pages (including endnotes) on any aspect of medieval manuscripts or early printed books produced between 1300 and 1550. They also solicit letters of interest from potential reviewers. Contact Martha Driver, Early Book Society, Box 732, Murray Hill Station, New York, NY 10156-0602.

The American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) and SHARP will be hosting a joint panel at the ASECS conference in Nashville, TN from April 9-12, 1997. The panel will be entitled "Reconstructing the Eighteenth Century: The Impact of Book History on Cultural Criticism."

For information on this session contact:

Eleanor F. Shevlin
2006 Columbia Road, NW, Apt. 42
Washington, D.C. 20009

The International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures will be holding a conference at Goteborg University, Sweden. A special section on The History of the Irish Book dealing with the creation, circulation, and reception of Irish books in Irish and in English during all periods will be included.

For further information contact:

Dr. Chris Corr
Coleraine Centre for Irish Literature and Bibliography
University of Ulster
Cromore Rd.,
Derry, Coleraine, N. Ireland
BT52 1SA

The University of Massachusetts Press will begin publishing a new series entitled "Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book." This broad-based series will cover all aspects of the history of the printed word.

Please send inquiries, proposals, and manuscripts to:

Paul M. Wright, Editor Boston Office
University of Massachusetts Press
University of Massachusetts
Boston, MA 02125-3393

Reports of Representatives, National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History

Reported by Steven Sowards

The NCC addressed the following issues in recent months in its capacity as a monitor of Washington affairs of interest to librarians, historians, and other researchers:

1) Tracking FY97 appropriations for the Library of Congress, the American Folklife Center, the National Archives, and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, NCC works in favor of adequate funding support. As of September 1996, funding was in place for the first two agencies listed, but Congress had not finished its discussion of the latter two agencies.

2) Copyright matters, including changing "fair use" guidelines and in particular, issues relating to copyright in the digital and electronic environment.

3) Freedom of Information Act issues, including the special regulations controlling access to classified CIA materials, and legislation to implement "Electronic FOIA" requests for records in electronic formats.

The NCC now offers access to its WWW home page,through the H-Net project at Michigan State University. The URL is:

The site contains the full text of NCC's "Washington Updates" series since the beginning of 1995, with news reports on current legislation and related matters appearing several times each month, and "Policy Briefs" concisely explaining significant issues, including funding controversies like the NEH budget, evolving copyright standards, and decisions affecting the declassification of historic federal documents.

Jewish Library History

Conferences and Archival Resources

Andrew Wertheimer, Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies

This June, LHRT members, Joy Kingsolver and Andrew Wertheimer made presentations on Jewish library history at the 1996 convention of the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) in Toronto.

Kingsolver's presentation Fanny Goldstein and the Origins of Jewish Book Week, Wertheimer's Jewish-American Library History: A Review of the Sources, as well as Edward Breur's presentation The Politics of Scholarly Citation: Texts and Culture in Modern Jewish History are available on cassette from Audio Archives of Canada (100 West Beaver Creek Road, Unit 18, Richmond Hill, Ontario L4B 1H4 / Cassette: 960618-120). Authors are developing their articles for publication.

Next year's AJL Convention will be in Cleveland on 22 - 25 June and will feature another session on Jewish Library History, co-sponsored by the LHRT. The session will be chaired by Zachary Baker of the YIVO Library, and will include presentations by Wertheimer and Kingsolver, both of the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, and David Shavit, Northern Illinois University.

Last summer with grants from the AJL and the American Jewish Archives (AJA), Kingsolver and Wertheimer spent two weeks at the AJA processing the AJL collection in Cincinnati. With the help of Kathy Spray, a finding guide was prepared, and is available at the archives.