Bibliographical Society

Minutes of the 2015 Annual Meeting

President G. Thomas Tanselle called to order the 68th Annual Meeting of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2015, in the auditorium of the Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections Library. Mr. Tanselle observed that the meeting is part of the 21st Virginia Festival of the Book and encouraged guests to take advantage of the many other activities of the Festival.

The Society has published two monographs over the past year, Mr. Tanselle announced.  A new edition of David Vander Meulen’s classic introduction to bibliography, Where Angels Fear to Tread, illustrated by images from Mr. Vander Meulen’s collection of Pope, appeared in the fall. Last month, Portraits & Reviews, a collection of Mr. Tanselle’s biographical sketches and reviews, was published. Forthcoming publications include the next volume of Studies in Bibliography, two volumes of essays by one of the greatest bibliographers of all time, Paul Needham, and the landmark digital edition of Gordon Neavill’s Modern Library bibliography. Mr. Tanselle paid tribute to David Vander Meulen and his assistant Elizabeth Lynch for splendidly maintaining the Society’s great publishing tradition with what amounts to a “mini university press.”

Copies of the minutes from the 2014 meeting having been distributed, Mr. Tanselle stated that the minutes would be accepted, subject to any corrections offered at the end of the meeting.

He then called on Anne Ribble to give the Secretary-Treasurer’s Report. Membership remains steady at around 350 members worldwide, she said. Income this fiscal year-to-date was $10,380; expenses for that period were $27,093. The current cash balance is $41,036; the investment balance is $217,451. Mr. Tanselle thanked Ms. Ribble for her efficiency and good humor.

The Council Member whose term is expiring this year is Ruthe Battestin, Mr. Tanselle said. Noting her outstanding support of the Society in so many ways over the years, Mr. Tanselle moved her re-election to a term ending in 2022. The move was seconded, and Ms. Battestin’s election was unanimous. Mr. Tanselle added that there is another opening on the Council resulting from Nicole Bouché’s move to the Lewis Walpole Library. Her term would have ended in 2016 and her successor will be nominated at the next annual meeting.

Current officers, Mr. Tanselle as President, Mr. Vander Meulen as Vice President, and Ms. Ribble as Secretary-Treasurer, were re-elected at the Council meeting earlier in the day, Mr. Tanselle reported.

Next, he announced that the Society is sponsoring four Battestin Fellowships this year. The program, 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, provides grants of $3500 to support summer research in the collections of the UVa Library by UVa graduate students, with an emphasis on physical or textual bibliography. Mr. Tanselle thanked David Gants of the English Department at Florida State and editor of Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, and David Whitesell, Curator of Special Collections at UVa, who served with Mr. Tanselle as judges for the competition.

Mr. Vander Meulen then announced the fellowship winners and the titles of their projects:

  •  Andrew Ferguson: “The Shoaf Collection: William S. Burroughs’s Texts in Flux”
  •  Christian F. Howard:  “Reconstructing Faulkner’s Universe: The Fictional Status of the Extra-Textual Material in the World of Yoknapatawpha”
  •  Benjamin Lee:  “The Manufacture of Books and the Making of Robert Frost”
  •  Ethan C. Reed:  “The Novels of John Dos Passos in the 1930s: Physical Features and Literary Reception”

Mr. Tanselle reported that the Society had also supplied funds this past year to the UVa Special Collections Library to enrich its holdings in bibliography, funds which Mr. Whitesell has used to purchase five important and rare works the collection lacked.

Mr. Tanselle thanked the Council members, Ruthe Battestin, Terry Belanger, David Seaman, David Vander Meulen, and David Whitesell, for their faithful service.

Mr. Tanselle’s talk, “A Bibliographer’s Creed,” followed.

At the end of the talk, Mr. Tanselle invited everyone to a reception in the Rare Book School rooms in Alderman Library. The meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Anne Ribble