Yes, each year the Caxtonian has an anniversary. While the 27th anniversary this year is not a traditional milestone, it does represent a remarkable journey and gives us reason to call members’ attention to the club’s goal to make all past issues available online.
The Caxtonian has varied in appearance, length, and goals. It has traversed the path from club newsletter to a more scholarly journal tailored to the diverse interests of our club. It has been steered by three volunteer editors, Robert Cotner, Robert McCamant, and now, Michael Gorman. Without the dedication of these three editors, the journey would not have been possible.
Past issues from 1993, 2003, and 2013 reveal the long-term commitment of our membership. Click covers below to link to issues archived online. The photo from 1993 including Caxtonians John Cole, Paul Gehl, and Alice Schreyer is a wonderful time capsule. The articles by R. Eden Martin and Philip Liebson provide a great testament to our membership’s continued dedication to serious scholarship. We hope you enjoy thumbing through these past issues.
In coming weeks, we will continue our efforts to make all past issues of the Caxtonian available on our website. Please go to the “Members Only” section of the website to see the collection.
The Caxton Club is pleased to announce an award to the Newberry Library of $1,500 for the purchase of a work by a Caxton Club grant winner. The work shall be by an artist not currently represented in the Newberry collection, and the award can be used to cover all expenses for the work’s acquisition and processing.
As early as 1897 the club extended women an invitation to attend events, but these invitations were rare.
The inclusion of women into the club was slow, and early events spotlighting women involved the Morton Arboretum. In 1958 Mrs. Raymond Watts addressed the club at the Arboretum on “What So Lovely as a Tree?” In 1967 Suzette Morton Zurcher, an accomplished book designer, hosted Caxtonians for a luncheon in her home followed by a presentation at the Arboretum’s Sterling Morton Library.
On May 2, 1973, Sue Allen became the first woman to address the club at a regular dinner meeting. Sue’s presentation on “Victorian Bindings,” a subject on which she was a well-recognized expert, raised the question “If women can be speakers, can they not be members?”
In 1974 the club took up the issue of women’s membership. After a year of study, the council voted ten to five in favor of admitting women. But such a radical step required the approval of the full membership which voted 142 in favor, 30 opposed, and 4 undecided. (See the March, 2020 Caxtonian for more information.) The vote being taken and the by-laws amended, on January 12, 1976, the club elected to resident membership Mary Beth Beal, Suzette Morton Davidson, Frances Hammill, Karen A. Skubish, and Mary Lynn McCree. Of these original five, three are now deceased and Mary Beth Beal and Mary Lynn McCree remain active members of the Club.
Since those early days, the club has elected four women presidents. Two of the four were from the group first inducted.
Women have made and continue to make important contributions to our club. The April, 2017 Caxtonian, guest edited by Susan Hanes with all women contributors, highlights those contributions.
The Caxton Club Gants Committee is pleased to announce that this year’s grant for bibliography will be awarded in collaboration with the Bibliographical Society of America. For full details to apply, please check out their website at https://bibsocamer.org/ and connect to the Awards/Fellowships section.
The Caxton Club Fellowship for Midwestern Bibliographers ($2,500) supports bibliographical research that focuses on the physical aspects of books or manuscripts as historical evidence. Books and manuscripts in any field and of any period are eligible for consideration. Projects may include studying the history of book or manuscript production, publication, distribution, collecting, or reading. Projects to establish a text are also eligible. Studies of enumerative bibliographies and enumerative bibliographers are also eligible as long as they meet the requirements described above. This fellowship award includes a lifetime waiver of Caxton Club’s initiation fee and a one-year membership to the club. Applicants must live in one of the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, or Wisconsin.
To learn more about zines, read the cover story of the February 2013 Caxtonian.
The Caxton Club will soon be embarking on the launch of a digital Caxton Club Members Collect Exhibit. As a companion to this project we are sharing a tour of the collection of Caxton member Rhoda H. Clark. We attach the details on Rhoda from the catalog of an upcoming Hindman auction and an entire tribute from Celia Hilliard concerning Rhoda in April 2017 Caxtonian. The first 77 lots of the Hindman auction represent a portion of Rhoda’s collection.
From the headlines of the Wall Street Journal this story hails the digitizing project for dime novels at Northern Illinois University by Matthew Short and his colleagues. Our club brought you the story first with Matthew’s luncheon presentation in May 2019. To find out more, see Matthew’s luncheon presentation online in our website’s Past Program Videos and read Matthew’s articles in the November and December 2019 issues of the Caxtonian.
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