Bibliographical Society

Minutes of the 2019 Annual Meeting

President G. Thomas Tanselle called to order the 72nd Annual Meeting of the Bibliographical Society at 4:00 p.m. Friday, March 22, in the Harrison/Small Auditorium. He was pleased to note that the meeting is once again part of the Virginia Festival of the Book and expressed hope that audience members would be able to attend other Festival events.

Work has been done on three publications, Mr. Tanselle reported. Vol. 60 of Studies in Bibliography will be published in the next few days. An important collection of John Bidwell’s essays, Paper and Type, will come out in the next few weeks. A collection of Mr. Tanselle’s own essays on Descriptive Bibliography will also appear this year. Other publication projects include a collection of essays by Paul Needham, and a collection of essays by David Vander Meulen. Substantial progress has been made on Gordon Neavill’s landmark Modern Library Bibliography, a joint project with the UVa library. Mr. Tanselle thanked David Vander Meulen and Elizabeth Lynch for their great work in seeing all these projects through to publication.

Among other projects, the Society has granted funds over the last year to the Special Collections Library at UVa for the purchase of significant works in bibliographical history. Also, the Society has provided funds for scholarships to Rare Book School.

Mr. Tanselle announced that the minutes from the 2018 Annual Meeting would be accepted, subject to any corrections provided after the meeting.

The Council term of David Seaman, Dean of Libraries at Syracuse University, has expired. Mr. Seaman, who has long been helpful as an advisor on electronic matters, has agreed to serve another term which will end in 2026. His re-election was moved, seconded, and approved unanimously.

At the Council meeting preceding this meeting, Mr. Tanselle announced, the current officers David Vander Meulen (Vice President) and Anne Ribble (Secretary-Treasurer) were re-elected. Mr. Tanselle is stepping down as BSUVA President, however. John Casteen, President Emeritus of the University and a University Professor and professor in the English Department, has been elected the new president. Mr. Tanselle cited Mr. Casteen’s longtime support of the Society in many ways.

Ms. Ribble reported that the Society’s funds total $227,645, with an additional endowment of $93,514. The membership currently stands around 350.

Mr. Tanselle thanked Michael Suarez, head of Rare Book School, and David Whitesell, Curator, Special Collections, for joining him on the committee to award Battestin Fellowships. These fellowships, created to honor Martin C. Battestin, former Professor of English and his widow Ruthe Battestin, provide a stipend of $3,500 for bibliographical or textual study in the UVa library collections over the summer. Mr. Tanselle turned the meeting over to David Vander Meulen to announce this year’s winners.

It is a joy to congratulate the four winners of the seventh round of Battestin Fellowships, Mr. Vander Meulen said. The Society is happy to be able to support graduate students at the university and to encourage further work in bibliographical projects and greater use of UVa libraries. He announced the following winners, all present at the meeting:

  • Samuel Maxwell Grimes, “Transgression and Resistance in the Buddhist Commentary Padmāvatī”;
  • Lloyd Sy, “Creative History and the Manuscript of James Fenimore Cooper’s Mercedes of Castile”;
  • Michael J. Van Hoose, “An Econometric Study of the British Fiction Market, 1800-1829”;
  • Madeline Lee Zehnder, “Early American Perspectives on ‘Pocket-Sized’ Books.”

Mr. Vander Meulen warmly thanked Mr. Tanselle for his quarter-century as president of the Society and for journeying twice a year from New York for the meetings. From its beginnings in the late 1940’s, the Society leadership included community members as well as University figures: Linton Massey, an Albemarle county resident, John Cook Wyllie, Curator of Rare Books at UVa, and Fredson Bowers, professor of English. Mr. Tanselle continued the tradition of participation from beyond UVa and represented the global reach of the BSUVA in the world of bibliography.

Mr. Tanselle thanked the Secretary-Treasurer, Anne Ribble, and expressed his deep appreciation to his fellow Council members, Terry Belanger, John Casteen III, David Seaman, John Unsworth, David Vander Meulen and David Whitesell.

Mr. Tanselle introduced the afternoon’s speaker, John Unsworth, Dean of Libraries at the University and University Librarian. His talk was titled, “The Renovation of Alderman Library, 2007 to 2023,” but Mr. Unsworth began by saying the talk could appropriately by subtitled “A Tale in Which Much Planning Is Finally Rewarded.” His talk included an outline of the many stages involved in plans for the renovation as well as a review of the current architectural plan.

After the talk, Mr. Tanselle invited the audience to attend a reception in the rooms of the Rare Book School in Alderman Library and adjourned the meeting at 4:55.

Respectfully submitted,

Anne Ribble