Bibliographical Society

Annual Meeting 2018

The 71st Annual Meeting of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia was called to order at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 23, 2018 in the auditorium of the Harrison Institute/ Small Special Collections Library by Vice President David Vander Meulen. He explained that he was standing in for President G. Thomas Tanselle who had been prevented from attending by weather-related travel problems.

Mr. Vander Meulen reviewed some of the activities over the past year. The Society published a reprint of Gordon Ray’s Books as a Way of Life. Works in progress include a collection of essays on type and paper by John Bidwell, vol. 60 of Studies in Bibliography, the collected essays on descriptive bibliography of G. Thomas Tanselle, and collected essays on paper and the Gutenberg Bible by Paul Needham. Progress continues also on Gordon Neavill’s landmark Modern Library bibliography. Mr. Vander Meulen emphasized that Elizabeth Lynch, his assistant, is the backbone of the Society’s publishing activities. He noted that the Society has made significant monetary contributions in the past year: $15,000 to the Rare Book School for scholarships, $4,250 for scholarships for the “Bibliography among the Disciplines” conference in Philadelphia last fall, and $10,000 to UVa’s Special Collections Library for its history of bibliography collection. He thanked David Whitesell for his judicious acquisitions with these Special Collections funds.

Mr. Vander Meulen announced that the minutes from the 2017 Annual Meeting would be considered approved, subject to any corrections brought up after the meeting.

Secretary-Treasurer Anne Ribble reported that the membership stands around 315 individuals and institutions from all over the world. The Society’s operating funds are currently at $38,578; its investment funds, including endowment, total $308,000.

Ms. Lynch stood to “do what Mr. Tanselle would do were he here.” She thanked Mr. Vander Meulen, the editor of Studies in Bibliography as well as Vice President, for doing an outstanding job as “the living presence of the BSUVA” at the University of Virginia. She pointed out that his work ranges from editing publications to taking photographs for book jackets and making all kinds of publication decisions.

Mr. Vander Meulen announced nominations for two open Council positions. John Casteen, President Emeritus of the University, has agreed to fill out the term ending in 2020 left open on the retirement of Ruthe Battestin. There was a motion for this election, a second, and a unanimous vote. G. Thomas Tanselle, whose term expired just before this meeting, has agreed to stand for another term. Mr. Vander Meulen moved his election, it was seconded, and Mr. Tanselle was elected unanimously. Mr. Vander Meulen reported that at the Council meeting preceding this meeting the current Society officers—G. Thomas Tanselle, President, David Vander Meulen, Vice President and Editor, and Anne Ribble, Secretary-Treasurer had all been re-elected.

Mr. Vander Meulen next thanked the judges for the 2018 Battestin Fellowship Program, G. Thomas Tanselle, Michael Suarez, and David Whitesell. The aim of these fellowships is to provide monetary support for two months of summer study at UVa libraries on bibliographical projects. He announced the winners and their projects for this year:

  • Neal D. Curtis, “Researching Surviving Shelf-Marks from the Original Rotunda Library”;
  • Asher Morse, “Charles E. Feinberg, Walt Whitman, and the Sociology of Book Collecting”;
  • Dylan W. Spivey, “Articulating the Baroque in Eighteenth-Century British Architectural Books”; and
  • Daniel J. Zimmerman, “A Critical Edition of John Florio’s Translation of Montaigne’s ‘Of Physiognomy.’”

The Society sponsored its 51st Book Collecting Contest this year, the 5th oldest contest of the 50 contests currently held at North American colleges and universities. Mr. Vander Meulen thanked this year’s judges, Barbara Heritage, Fred Ribble, and David Whitesell, the generous local booksellers who donated gift certificates, and Rare Book School for the scholarship provided the First Place winner. He turned the program over to David Whitesell to present the awards, which were as follows:

  • First place, $1,000, and the BSUVA Rare Book School Fellowship —Samuel V. Lemley, “Biblioteca Genealogica: Sicilian Printing, 1704–1893”;
  • Second place, $600—James P. Ascher, “Annotations to Samuel Butler’s Hudibras 1678–1858”;
  • Honorable Mention, $300—Philip M. Tan, “Singing through 500 Years of Reformed and Presbyterian Psalters.”

Mr. Vander Meulen thanked his fellow Councilors, Terry Belanger, David Seaman, John Unsworth, G. Thomas Tanselle, and David Whitesell for their loyal assistance over the last year.

He next introduced the five graduate student speakers. Though their interests are widely diverse, he said, all show they understand the significance of studying books as physical objects and their talks will demonstrate the vitality of bibliographical scholarship at UVa. The speakers who followed were:

  • Bridget Reilly on “Illustrations in The Atlantic Souvenir
  • Victoria Tovig on “The Binding of the 1894 Century Edition of Kipling’s The Jungle Book
  • Aubrey Geyer on “Editing America’s 1945 Magazines”
  • Neal Curtis and Sam Lemley on “Reconstructing the Rotunda Library: A Textual History of the University of Virginia’s First Catalogs”

At the conclusion of the talks, Mr. Vander Meulen invited everyone to a reception in the Rare Book School rooms at Alderman Library. He adjourned the meeting at 5:40.

Respectfully submitted,

Anne Ribble