Bibliographical Society

Minutes of the 2016 Annual Meeting

Laura All, Samuel Lemley, President of the Society G. Thomas Tanselle, and Nora Benedict.

Annual Meeting speakers Laura All, Samuel Lemley, and Nora Benedict with G. Thomas Tanselle, president of the Society.

President G. Thomas Tanselle called to order the 69th Annual Meeting of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 18, 2016, in the auditorium of the Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections Library. Mr. Tanselle noted that the meeting is again part of the Virginia Festival of the Book and encouraged those present to take advantage of the many other activities of the Festival.

Mr. Tanselle called for a moment of silence to honor the memory of Martin C. Battestin, for 37 years a distinguished professor of English at the University and a longtime supporter of the Society, who died during the last year.

Since the last meeting, Mr. Tanselle observed, the Society has published volume 59 of Studies in Bibliography, a volume with varied contents from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century, and contributors from Belgium to China to England and Scotland. He expressed gratitude to the editor, David Vander Meulen, and his assistant, Elizabeth Lynch, who so ably see all the Society’s publications through the press and really constitute a “mini-university press.” Several monographs are currently being worked on: two volumes of essays by Paul Needham, a volume of John Bidwell’s essays, and a reprint of Gordon Ray’s Books as a Way of Life. In addition, Barry Neavill’s monumental bibliography of Modern Library editions will soon be available online.

Over the last year, Mr. Tanselle announced, the Society has again provided funds to the University’s Special Collections Library to enhance their collection of bibliographical history, a project overseen by David Whitesell.

The minutes from the last meeting were accepted, subject to any changes submitted by the end of the meeting.

The Society’s Secretary-Treasurer reported that the Society membership is currently around 325. The Society’s funds include $42,784 in cash and investments of around $208,000.

The nominating committee is not proposing a candidate for the Council at this time, Mr. Tanselle said. The officers, G. Thomas Tanselle, President, David Vander Meulen, Vice President, and Anne Ribble, Secretary-Treasurer, were re-elected at the Council meeting preceding this meeting.

Mr. Tanselle thanked Michael Suarez and David Whitesell for joining him to form a selection committee for the fellowships named in honor of Martin and Ruthe Battestin. The grants provide $3,500 for UVa graduate students to pursue research in UVa libraries over the summer. Three fellowships have been awarded this year. The recipients and their projects are:

  •  Jarek Ervin, “Music Criticism, Material Culture, and the Case of New York Rock”;
  • Samuel Lemley, “The Antiquarian Origins of the Scholarly Facsimile”;
  • Loreto Romero Martínez-Eiroa, “Manuscripts and Printed Books in the Early Decades of the Habsburg Monarchy and Empire.”

Mr. Tanselle reported that the Society sponsored its biennial Book Collecting Contest this year, its 51st and the 5th oldest such contest in the nation. The winners receive cash prizes and gift certificates from local booksellers. The first place winner also receives a scholarship from Rare Book School, and is eligible to enter the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest. All winners are invited to a talk by David Whitesell, curator of Special Collections. Mr. Tanselle expressed gratitude to Ruthe Battestin for chairing the Book Collecting Contest Committee, Ms. Ribble for overseeing the details including the poster, and Ms. Battestin, David Whitesell, and Fred Ribble for serving as judges. He also thanked local booksellers for the gift certificates and Rare Book School for the scholarship. Highlights from the winning student collections are on display in an exhibit just outside the auditorium in Special Collections, he added. Mr. Whitesell announced the winners:

  •  First prize—Nora C. Benedict for “Argentine Publishing and the Many Faces of Jorge Luis Borges”;
  • Second prize—Isaac B. May for “Collecting and Preserving Anglo-American Quaker Publications.”

Mr. Tanselle next expressed his deep appreciation to the members of the Society’s Council, Ruthe Battestin, Terry Belanger, David Seaman, David Vander Meulen, and David Whitesell, for their work over the past year. He also thanked Anne Ribble for overseeing the day-to-day running of the Society.


The talks for this afternoon, Mr. Tanselle observed, show the vitality and breadth of the work being done by graduate students at UVa, and cover three centuries from the 17th to the 20th. Mr. Vander Meulen introduced the three graduate students and their subjects:

  •  Samuel Lemley, “The Printing History of the Acta Eruditorum for October 1684”;
  • Laura All, “Editorial Errors in Expletives”;
  • Nora Benedict, “Borges as Bibliographer.”

At the end of the talks, Mr. Tanselle invited everyone to a reception in the Rare Book School rooms in Alderman Library. The meeting adjourned at 5:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Anne Ribble