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Meetings and Speakers Schedule


The 2011 Caxton Club / Newberry Library Symposium on the Book:

Other People's Books: Collecting Association Copies

Saturday, March 19, 2011, 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton Street, Chicago

In March, Chicago's Caxton Club will publish a volume of essays about association copies, books that contain writing or other marks that connect them with famous or interesting people. Often such associations turn an ordinary copy into a valuable collector's item. The symposium will explore the notion of “association,” in terms of intellectual and research value. The history and practice of collecting and preserving association copies raises compelling issues: the meaning of our printed and manuscript heritage; the value of particular copies of books in an increasingly digital world; whether libraries should continue to collect association copies; and where such books should stand in a hierarchy of collecting priorities. Please join us to hear some expert opinions.

9:00- 11:30 a.m.
Session I: Some Professional Perspectives
Moderator, Alice Schreyer, The University of Chicago Library

David Pearson, Director of Libraries, Archives and Guildhall Art Gallery, London
Other People's Books? Not Just Association Copies!
Recent work in the field of book history focuses on ways in which the traces left by former owners - inscriptions, annotations, bindings, collections - help us understand the social impact of books. This talk will stress the importance of looking at such evidence even more broadly, well beyond the traditional perception of what makes an association copy. Modern collectors may like to reflect on this, and on what truly makes books unique and valuable as cultural heritage.

Tom Congalton, Proprietor, Between The Covers Rare Books, Gloucester City, NJ
Complicated Lives: Association Copies as Artifactual Evidence
Last year, Tom's bookshop issued a lively catalog devoted to association copies. Who better, then, to give us the bookseller's perspective on what makes the market and how booksellers respond to scholarly interests? He will explain how association copies can expand our knowledge of authors and their associates. We may expect a further look at the alchemical processes whereby booksellers and collectors attempt to transform ink into gold.

Heather Jackson, Professor of English, University of Toronto
Investing in Marginalia
Drawing on examples of books annotated by unknown readers but including references to star authors of marginalia like John Adams, Samuel  Taylor Coleridge, and John Keats, as well as to Benjamin Franklin, Francis Hargrave, and William Beckford, Professor Jackson will make a case for preserving and collecting annotated books, even those without the cachet of association value.

11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Session II: Some Collectors Respond
Moderator: Mary S. Williams, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

This roundtable will include our first-session speakers, but it will start with remarks by three eminent Caxton Club collectors. Celia Hilliard concentrates her collecting on Chicagoana. R. Eden Martin collects a broad range of American, English and Russian literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A particular interest is the World War I poets. C. Steven Tomashefsky describes himself as a recovering collector of private press books, in his 14th year of sobriety; he now seeks out books on ornithology, food and restaurants, and English usage.

The Symposium on the Book is free and open to the public.

Other People's Books: Collecting Association Copies is being organized in conjunction with the publication of Other People's Books: Association Copies and the Stories They Tell. With fifty-one essays by private and institutional collectors and an introduction by G. Thomas Tanselle, this new publication of the Caxton Club will present the range of association copies through examples from private and institutional collections. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the symposium.


Past events:

2009 Caxton Club/Newberry Library Symposium on the Book:
Pillage, Punishment, and Provenance: Books as Victims of Crime

2008 Caxton Club/Newberry Library Symposium on the Book:
Rare Books and The Common Good: American Perspectives

2007 Caxton Club/Newberry Library Symposium on the Book:
Remodeling the Tower of Babel: The Translator's Role in a Shrinking World