Bibliographical Society

Annual Letter 2019

February 22, 2019

Dear Fellow Members,

The Society’s seventy-second annual meeting will be held on Friday, March 22, 2019, at 4:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Harrison Institute / Small Special Collections Library. Following a brief business meeting, there will be a talk by John Unsworth, the Dean of Libraries and University Librarian at UVA. He will speak on “The Renovation of Alderman Library, 2007 to 2023.” Following his talk, there will be a reception in the rooms of Rare Book School on the first floor of Alderman Library.

In the business part of the meeting, preceding the talk, the winners of the Battestin Fellowships for this year will be announced. The Battestin Fellowships are named in honor of Martin Battestin, who was a professor of English at UVA, and his widow, Ruthe, a literary scholar and long-time member of the Society’s Council (and now an Honorary Councilor), who has made extraordinary contributions of many kinds to the Society. The aim of the fellowships is to provide summer support for research in the UVA library by graduate students who are working on bibliographical or textual projects. The fellowship selection committee consists of Michael Suarez, David Whitesell, and me.

Also in the business part of the meeting, we will vote on the election of one Councilor. This year it is David Seaman’s term that is ending, and he has agreed to stand for re-election for another term (ending in 2026). He is the Dean of Libraries and University Librarian at Syracuse University, and in his years on our Council he has played an important role in helping us with our electronic publication program. We are fortunate that he is willing to continue to serve on the Council.

The Council will meet prior to the annual meeting to elect officers for the coming year (among other matters). The Vice President (David L. Vander Meulen) and the Secretary-Treasurer (Anne G. Ribble) will remain the same, but the President will change. I have decided to step down, and I am delighted to say that the next President will be John T. Casteen, who (as all of you know) is a former President of UVA.

Since our last annual meeting, work has been completed, or nearly completed, on several publications. One of them, the sixtieth volume of Studies in Bibliography, will probably be available by the time of this year’s annual meeting. Shortly after that, another book, an important collection of John Bidwell’s essays entitled Paper and Type, will be published. And a collection of my essays on descriptive bibliography will appear by the end of the year. In addition, substantial progress has been made on what will be a major addition to our electronic publication program, Gordon B. Neavill’s landmark bibliography of the Modern Library. Each new volume of Studies is distributed by the University of Virginia Press, and the Society’s Secretary-Treasurer has a limited supply of most earlier volumes. All of the Society’s other available publications in printed form can be ordered, at a 10% discount, from Oak Knoll Books (

Another of the Society’s activities is the granting of funds to the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library for the purchase of works in the history of bibliography, and again this year David Whitesell has used these funds to make significant additions to the library’s collection. The Society’s book-collecting contest is biennial, and the next one will take place next year.

I want to give special thanks to David Vander Meulen and his assistant, Elizabeth Lynch, for the extraordinary devotion and care they bring to the editing and production of the Society’s publications; the Society’s great tradition of publishing Studies and important monographs is being superbly maintained. I also want to express our enormous gratitude to Anne Ribble, our Secretary-Treasurer, for her thoughtful, efficient, and congenial handling of the Society’s day-to-day operations, which include the fellowship competition. And it gives me great pleasure to thank all the members of the Council as a group for their loyal service to the Society: Terry Belanger, John Casteen, David Seaman, John Unsworth, David Vander Meulen, and David Whitesell.

On behalf of the Council, I thank all members of the Society for their support. I look forward to seeing many of you at the annual meeting, and I send best wishes to you all.

Yours sincerely,

G. Thomas Tanselle