Bibliographical Society

The 2014 Annual Meeting of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia

2014 AnMtg PosterThe 67th Annual Meeting of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia was called to order by President G. Thomas Tanselle at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 21, 2014, in the auditorium of the Harrison/Small Institute. Mr. Tanselle reminded guests that the meeting is part of the 20th Virginia Festival of the Book and encouraged them to take advantage of the many other activities of the Festival. Copies of the minutes from the 2013 meeting having been distributed, Mr. Tanselle announced that the minutes would be accepted, subject to any corrections offered at the end of the meeting.

Mr. Tanselle noted that the Society had published a volume of his work, Essays in Bibliographical History, a few months ago, and he expressed his gratitude to David Vander Meulen and Elizabeth Lynch for their excellent editorial work on the volume. He reported that the Society expects to publish in the near future Where Angels Fear to Tread, a well-known lecture on descriptive bibliography by David Vander Meulen, as well as volume 59 of Studies in Bibliography. Two other forthcoming publications include a volume of essays by Paul Needham, and the electronic publication of Gordon Neavill’s bibliography of Modern Library publications. Mr. Tanselle thanked Mr. Vander Meulen and Ms. Lynch for all they do to maintain the Society’s great tradition of publication. He also thanked Anne Ribble for her work as Secretary-Treasurer and called on her for a report.

Ms. Ribble said the Society is in good shape. Membership holds fairly steady at 350. The Society participates in the Journal Donation Project for seven institutions in third-world countries. Income for this fiscal year-to-date was $8,242; expenses for the same period were $3,648. The cash balance of Society funds is currently $80,254; the investment balance is $204,785.

Mr. Tanselle announced that Terry Belanger’s term on the Council of the Society expires at this meeting. Mr. Belanger, the founder of Rare Book School, a University Professor, and an internationally known spokesperson for bibliography, is willing to be nominated for another term. His re-election was moved, seconded, and unanimously approved.

At the Council meeting preceding this gathering, Mr. Tanselle reported, the officers, Mr. Tanselle (President), Mr. Vander Meulen (Vice President), and Ms. Ribble (Secretary-Treasurer), had been re-elected.

Mr. Tanselle next announced the five winners of the second round of Battestin Fellowships, a BSUVA program of summer fellowships named in honor of Martin Battestin, emeritus professor of English at UVa, and his wife Ruthe, a literary scholar and member of the Society’s Council. The fellowships support research in the collections of the UVa Library by UVa graduate students, with an emphasis on physical or textual bibliography.  The winners and the titles of their projects were:

  • Laura N. All, “The Secret History of Asterisks and Dashes: Highlights from the Gordon Collection”;
  • James P. Ascher, “The Features of American and French Books in 1785: Toward a Historical Dictionary for Bibliographical Analysis”;
  • Michael Pickard, “The Ledgers of William Strahan: A Selection”;
  • Sarah Anne Storti, “The Prehistory of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood: Rossetti at Work, 1840–1850”;
  • Kristina Warren, “Shape Notes: Printing, Lyrics, and Ritual in the U.S. South.”

Mr. Tanselle thanked Nicole Bouché, Terry Belanger, and Anne Ribble, who made up the Projects Committee, and Michael Suarez (director of Rare Book School at UVa), and David Whitesell (curator in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at UVa) who joined Mr. Tanselle on the Selection Committee.


Turning to the Society’s Book Collecting Contest, Mr. Tanselle pointed out it was the 50th and is listed as the fifth oldest in a recent history of American book collecting contests. He thanked Ruthe Battestin for chairing the committee, David Whitesell and Fred Ribble for serving as judges with Mrs. Battestin, and Mr. Belanger for the poster design. He then called on Mr. Whitesell to present the awards. Mr. Whitesell called attention to the display in the lobby of the auditorium that showcases items the winners kindly loaned from their collections. He announced the following awards:

  • First place, $300, and the BSUVA Rare Book School Fellowship (worth $1,195) to Audrey Golden for “Pablo Neruda and the Global Politics of Poetry”;
  • Second place, $150 to Stephanie Kingsley for “A Collection of Early Editions of Mercedes of Castile, by James Fenimore Cooper”;
  • Honorable Mention, $75 to Caitlin Conley for “Collecting Stuart Little.

Mr. Whitesell noted that all ten contestants received gift certificates generously donated by twelve local booksellers.

Mr. Tanselle next expressed his thanks to all the BSUVA Council members, Ruthe Battestin, Terry Belanger, Nicole Bouché, David Seaman, David Vander Meulen, and David Whitesell, for their work and support during the previous year.

Today’s program, Mr. Tanselle said, reflects the vitality and breadth of bibliographical work being done by graduate students at the University. He called on Mr. Vander Meulen to introduce the speakers. These four graduate students, Mr. Vander Meulen observed, enjoy bibliographical and textual studies as a way of understanding the world around them. The presentations were:

Stephanie Kingsley, Caitlin Conley, James Ascher, and Ben Lee

Stephanie Kingsley, Caitlin Conley, James Ascher, and Ben Lee

  • James Ascher, “The Paris Edition of Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia”;
  • Caitlin Conley, “The Text of Helen Hunt Jackson’s Ramona”;
  • Stephanie Kingsley, “An Analysis of a Typescript of Ellen Glasgow’s In This Our Life”;
  • Ben Lee, “Robert Frost’s Revised Poems and Books.”

After the talks, Mr. Tanselle invited everyone to attend a reception in the Rare Book School rooms in Alderman Library. The meeting adjourned at 5:50.

Respectfully submitted,

Anne Ribble