Bibliographical Society

The 2013 Annual Meeting of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia

President G. Thomas Tanselle called to order the 66th Annual Meeting of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia at 4:00 p.m., Friday, March 22, 2013, in the auditorium of the Harrison/Small Institute. He said he was delighted that the meeting is part of the Virginia Festival of the Book (now in its 19th year), and he encouraged guests to enjoy the many other opportunities of the Festival. Copies of his Annual Letter and the minutes from the 2012 Annual Meeting had been handed out, and he announced the minutes would be accepted, subject to any corrections offered by the end of the meeting.

Vol. 59 of Studies in Bibliography will be published soon, he announced, and he expressed his deep gratitude to David Vander Meulen, Editor, and Elizabeth Lynch, Assistant to the Editor, for the great work they do, continuing the tradition of excellence for the journal. Other forthcoming publications include a volume of essays by Paul Needham, one of the greatest scholars of 15th- century books, and Barry Neavill’s Modern Library bibliography (an electronic publication).

The Secretary-Treasurer, Anne Ribble, reported that the Society’s membership remains steady at 350. The University Press has an additional 150 orders for the next volume of Studies. In addition, the Society participates in the Journal Donation Project, providing complimentary issues of Studies to twelve libraries in developing countries. Ms. Ribble reminded the audience that Studies in Bibliography is available on the Society’s website ( and through Project MUSE and JSTOR. She reported that the Society is in good financial shape. Income for the fiscal-year-to-date totaled $47,583; expenses $2,330. The current cash balance is $87,339. Investments total $194,331. Mr. Tanselle thanked Ms. Ribble for handling the Society’s affairs with efficiency and good humor.

Mr. Tanselle announced that University Librarian Karin Wittenborg had resigned from the Council because of the demands on her time. Ms. Wittenborg gave the Council the benefit of her advice for eighteen years, Mr. Tanselle noted, and she has been of immense assistance to the Society. We will miss her, he added, and we thank her for all her help. The nominating committee has proposed that David Whitesell be elected to serve out Ms. Wittenborg’s term, which ends in 2017. Mr. Whitesell is well qualified, Mr. Tanselle said, with unusually wide experience in the book world as a bookseller, a rare book cataloguer at Harvard’s Houghton Library, and curator at the American Antiquarian Society, and now the Small Special Collections Library. Mr. Whitesell was elected unanimously.

Mr. Tanselle proposed the re-election to the Council of David Vander Meulen, whose term ended in 2013. Mr. Vander Meulen is one of the leading bibliographers working today. As Editor of Studies and as Vice-President, his presence is absolutely essential to the Society, Mr. Tanselle emphasized. Mr. Vander Meulen was re-elected unanimously to serve a term ending in 2020.

At the Council meeting preceding this Annual Meeting, Mr. Tanselle announced, the officers of the Society—President, G. Thomas Tanselle, Vice President, David Vander Meulen, and Secretary-Treasurer, Anne Ribble—had been re-elected unanimously.

Mr. Tanselle next announced the winners of the inaugural round of the Battestin Fellowships established by the Society in honor of Prof. Emeritus Martin C. Battestin and his wife Ruthe, who have made extraordinary contributions of many kinds to the Society. The fellowships provide support for the summer to University of Virginia graduate students, enabling them to pursue bibliographical research at the University. Mr. Tanselle thanked the Projects Committee (Ms. Ribble, Nicole Bouché, and Terry Belanger) and Michael Suarez and David Whitesell who joined him on the Selection Committee. The winners, their fields, and the titles of their projects are:

  • Nora Benedict (Spanish literature): “Text and Image in the Borges Collection”
  • Natasha Mikles (Religious Studies): “Illuminating the Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Descriptive Bibliography of UVA Manuscript 14259 and Its Place in the Historical Production of Tibetan Books”
  • Zachary Stone (Medieval Literature): “William Lambarde, A.L. Hench, and Early Modern Bibliography at the University of Virginia”

Mr. Tanselle congratulated the winners and expressed Mrs. Battestin’s regret that she was not able to attend to congratulate them personally.

Mr. Tanselle also expressed his deep appreciation to all the members of the Council, Ruthe Battestin, Terry Belanger, Nicole Bouché, Anne Ribble, David Seaman, and David Vander Meulen, for their faithful service. He expressed special thanks to Mr. Belanger for designing the poster for this meeting.

In introducing the meeting’s speaker, David Whitesell, Mr. Tanselle alluded to his previous summary of Mr. Whitesell’s accomplishments, adding that Mr. Whitesell is also a scholar of Spanish Golden Age literature. In his talk “Lope de Vega Meets Shakespeare: Spanish Golden Age Drama,” Mr. Whitesell illustrated the unique challenges that Spanish drama of the late 16th and early 17th centuries presents for the bibliographer.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:20 p.m. Mr. Tanselle invited the audience to come up to the stage to view an exhibition of examples from Mr. Whitesell’s collection of Spanish Golden Age drama, and then to join the Society for a reception in the Staff Lounge of Alderman Library.

Respectfully submitted,

Anne Ribble