The Caxton Club brings together archivists, authors, binders, book artists, collectors, conservators, booksellers, designers, editors, librarians, publishers, scholars, and others. Members from these diverse backgrounds form a community that shares a love of printed, handwritten, and digital books and related textual objects, such as pamphlets, broadsides, and ephemera. The club provides a forum to learn about the arts, history, and technologies of these materials, as well as a space to share the joys of appreciating and collecting them.


Upcoming Caxton events

    • 03/12/2021
    • 12:30 PM (CST)
    • 3/12/2021 | 12:30 PM CT/1:30 PM ET via Zoom. Advance registration required via website.
    • 420

    March Daytime Program


     Carl Smith


    October 1871. Drought. Barn. Fire. Chaos. Destruction. That’s the story that has been told and told again about this signal event that is remembered with one of those stars on Chicago’s flag. But noted historian Carl Smith is going to share a much more specific tale, one crafted especially for Caxtonians. He’ll answer the question, “What did the fire and its aftermath mean for books, authors, publishers, and libraries?” Smith, an emeritus professor from Northwestern University is well known to Caxtonians; he has two essays in the Club’s most recent publication,

    Chicago 101. Join us for this remarkable story about The Great Fire’s impact on all things printed!

    • 03/17/2021
    • 6:30 PM (CDT)
    • 3/17/2021 | 6:30 PM CT/7:30 PM ET via Zoom. Advance registration required via website.

    March Evening Program


     Silvia Beltrametti


    The graphic satire of Georgian London has been much explored in recent scholarship. Almost entirely neglected, however, is its provincial counterpart. This talk addresses the implications of the absence of copyright law in nineteenth-century Ireland, by discussing examples of caricatures produced by Dublin publisher William McCleary. Until now commentators have been quick to argue that the absence of a vigilant copyright regime enabled rampant piracy, and that most engravers and publishers in Georgian Dublin, including McCleary, were doing little more than pirating the work of famous London satirists such as James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson and George Cruickshank. This was both for internal consumption in Ireland and for export back to Britain to undercut the mainland market. Despite the fact that many such prints owe their compositions to pre-existing models, McCleary produced work that was is in several ways distinctive, and that he used his position on the periphery to dynamic and innovative effect. His work reflects the paradox at the core of much Irish art which Toby Barnard characterizes as “distinctive and derivative” whereby metropolitan models were given an Irish twist, or flavor.

    • 03/24/2021
    • 6:30 PM (CDT)
    • 3/24/2021 | 6:30 PM CT/7:30 PM ET via Zoom. Advance registration required via website.

    March Evening Program

    Kinohi Nishikawa

    Over the past 15 years, the Black Arts movement has undergone a much-needed critical reassessment in literary and cultural history. Once typed as a propaganda arm of the Black Power movement, Black Arts today is recognized as a diverse coalition of collectives that broke from mainstream institutions in order to reframe cultural production around Black people themselves. Yet even this revised understanding of the movement has lacked a bibliography that can shed light on how Black Arts collectives went about building alternative institutions. In presenting new bibliographic findings, this paper suggests book design played a vital, if still overlooked, role in manifesting the movement’s commitment to black readers. For poets and publishers alike, design held the key to situating literature on a continuum of arts-making and to tracking the ephemerality and dynamism of a movement that was constantly in flux.

    Kinohi is Associate Professor of English and African American studies at Princeton where his work focuses on twentieth century African American literature.

Daytime Programs

Evening Programs

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