Bibliographical Society

Minutes of the 2022 Annual Meeting

March 18, 2022

President John T. Casteen III called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. in the Harrison/Small Auditorium of the University of Virginia Special Collections Library. He welcomed everyone on behalf of the Virginia Festival of the Book, of which this meeting was a part. He noted that the Festival is free of charge, but not free of cost and urged attendees to provide financial support by visiting the website.

Mr. Casteen highlighted the Society’s accomplishments over the last year. In the area of Society publications, he noted that G. Thomas Tanselle’s memoir Books in My Life is at the printer and is scheduled to be published in June. Considerable progress has been made on the massive online bibliography of the Modern Library prepared by Barry Neavill, a joint publication of the Society and the UVa Library. Work has continued as well on a collection of essays on the study of early paper and on the Gutenberg Bible by Paul Needham. The Society hopes to publish vol. 61 of its journal Studies in Bibliography this year. As part of its outreach efforts this past year, the Society made a $5,000 donation to the Special Collections Bibliographical History Collection at UVa, for a total contribution of $50,000 in recent years, and funded $15,000 in scholarships to Rare Book School.

Mr. Casteen thanked the Council members, Terry Belanger, Karen Parshall, David Seaman, John Unsworth, and David Whitesell for their help. In particular, he recognized the work of David Vander Meulen, editor of Studies in Bibliography, and Elizabeth Lynch, assistant editor, for their work in seeing all the Society’s publications through the press. He also thanked Anne Ribble for her service as Secretary-Treasurer.

Council Elections

Since Mr. Casteen is the Council member whose term expires this year, he called on Ms. Ribble to conduct the election. Ms. Ribble announced that Mr. Vander Meulen had nominated Mr. Casteen for re-election to a seven-year term. David Seaman seconded the nomination, and the vote was unanimous. Mr. Casteen reported that the current officers, himself as President, Mr. Vander Meulen as Vice President, and Ms. Ribble as Secretary-Treasurer, had all been re-elected at the earlier Council meeting.

Report of the Secretary-Treasurer.

Ms. Ribble reported on the Society’s finances: Cash on hand $28,360 in the Alumni Association account, and $48,661 in the UVa account, for a total of $77,021; investments total $196,748; endowment $204,532. She noted that the Society welcomes new members, including student members, and called attention to the flyers at the back of the room.

Battestin Fellowship Awards

Mr. Casteen announced that this is the tenth year in which the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia has awarded summer Fellowships of $3,500 to UVa graduate students for research in UVa libraries. The students commit to working for two months of the summer on a project involving books and documents in any field as long as the focus is on the physical object (in whatever form) as historical evidence. The Fellowships are named in honor of Martin Battestin, former Professor of English at UVa, and his wife Ruthe, a literary scholar and longtime member of the Society’s Council. The judges for the competition were Michael Suarez, G. Thomas Tanselle, and David Whitesell. He asked the winners to stand as he called their names and tell the audience the title of their project.

  • Molly Kathryn Kluever, PhD candidate in English
    • “A Particular ‘Prick of Conscience’: UVA MS E and Its Place in the Textual History of the Middle English Poem”
  • Lucas Martínez, Henry Hoyns Fellow in the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing
    • “Touching Borges: Poetry and Presence in the Borges Archive”
  • William M. Nichols, PhD candidate in Classics
    • “The Scholia to Ovid’s Metamorphoses in UVA MSS 9772”
  • Samantha L. Stephens, Ph.D. candidate in English
    • “(Type)ing Brathwaite: Digital Transformations from Paper to Pixel”

Book Collecting Contest Awards

Mr. Casteen announced that a record 14 students submitted entries in the 54th Biennial Book Collecting Contest sponsored by the Society and asked all those present to stand. Judges for the contest were Barbara Heritage, Fred Ribble, and David Whitesell.

He announced the following winners:

  • Honorable Mention prize of $300 is awarded to Rebecca Barry for “Expanding Generic Bounds of Space-Time: 150 Years of Speculative and Science Fiction.”
  • Second Place prize of $600 goes to Cherrie Kwok for “Postcolonial Ephemera: Collecting Fragments of Decadent Hong Kong”;
  • First Place prize of $1,000 and a scholarship to Rare Book School goes to Austin Benson for “The Little Office[s] of Our Lady, 1599-1966: Online Book Collecting during the COVID-19 Pandemic”;

In addition, thanks to generous donations from local booksellers, all contestants will receive a prize.  We are grateful for the generosity of:  Franklin Gilliam::Rare Books, Blue Whale Books, Daedalus Bookshop, University Bookstore, Heartwood Books, New Dominion Books, and 2nd Act Books.

Graduate Student Speakers

The Bibliographical Society, Mr. Casteen observed, has a long tradition of providing opportunities for graduate students to present talks on their current research. He introduced the speakers:

  • Louis Mainwaring Foster, whose talk is entitled “Thucydides and the Establishment of Greek Identity.” Louis is a graduate student in the Classics department.
  • John Shimazaki, whose topic is “The Absence of Phillis Wheatley’s Portrait from American Editions of Poems on Various Subjects.” John is a first-year Master’s student in the English Department’s BA/MA Program. For his graduate critical thesis he is utilizing Jungian psychoanalysis to examine several judicial opinions of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to better understand his views on and understanding of racism in the United States.
  • Samantha Stephens, who will talk on “The Digital Typography of Kamau Brathwaite.”

Samantha is a 2nd year PhD student in English and a Doctoral Fellow in Caribbean Literatures, Arts and Cultures at UVA. Her research focuses on Caribbean poetry and poetics with attention to visual experimentation in the digital age. She is interested in how computers work as archives to both contain digital records but and recreate them.

Mr. Casteen thanked the speakers and the audience and declared the meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Anne Ribble