Welcome to BHPC

Histoire du livre, History of the Book, Textual Studies, Print Culture, Sociology of the Text: all these names have been used to describe an international academic movement that rose to prominence in the late twentieth century and continues to expand today. Book History creates and applies knowledge of the material, …

Toronto Centre for the Book

The Toronto Centre for the Book was established at the University of Toronto in 1994 by Michael and Jane Millgate (Department of English), Patricia Fleming (Faculty of Information), and others in order to bring together faculty, librarians, students, and members of the general public who are interested in the past, …

Massey College

Massey College was built and furnished by the Massey Foundation in 1963 to house graduate students pursuing advanced studies or professional degrees at the University of Toronto. It provides a congenial intellectual environment for the exchange of opinions and ideas. Members of the College form a multidisciplinary and diverse community …

Student Projects

A requirement for the doctoral program in Book History and Print Culture, the Practicum is an individual project involving the use of primary sources, approved for academic credit by the Program Committee, undertaken under the supervision of a member of the graduate faculty, and intended to serve as a bridge …

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Welcome to BHPC

January 1, 2016 Welcome Comments Off on Welcome to BHPC

Histoire du livre, History of the Book, Textual Studies, Print Culture, Sociology of the Text: all these names have been used to describe an international academic movement that rose to prominence in the late twentieth century and continues to expand today. Book History creates and applies knowledge of the material, cultural, and theoretical aspects of the book, including manuscript, print, and digital media, along with associated practices of authorship, reading and collecting, within different disciplines in the humanities and information sciences. The field found an early home at the University of Toronto with the launch in 1994 of the Toronto Centre for the Book (TCB), which is now the public lecture series of the Collaborative Program in Book History and Print Culture (BHPC). The Collaborative Program admitted its first cohort of graduate students in September 2000, and now has a flourishing network of alumni in academia, library and information sciences, publishing and related fields in Canada and around the world. An exhibition to celebrate the founding of BHPC was held in 2001 at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library; selected pages from the catalogue are available online here.

Sponsored by the Department of English and the Faculty of Information in conjunction with Massey College, and now involving more than a dozen further participating units, BHPC is an interdisciplinary graduate program in which the rich physical and human resources of the University of Toronto are brought to bear on multiple aspects of the creation, transmission, and reception of the written word. Students apply first for admission to the master’s or doctoral program in their prospective home unit and then to the BHPC program. All students are therefore registered in a master’s or doctoral program in one of our participating graduate units (listed below) as well as in BHPC. During their time in the Collaborative Program, BHPC students gain a distinctive approach to the materials of their home subject, a methodology fostered by course work, the TCB lecture series, regular colloquia, hands-on experience with special collections and the five iron hand-presses in the Bibliography Room at Massey, and intellectual exchange among members of a diverse community. Students who satisfy the requirements of both programs receive their degree with a notation on the transcript “Collaborative Program in Book History and Print Culture.”

Travaux et thèses peuvent être soumis en français, avec l’approbation des instructeurs et/ou du département d’attache. Les étudiants travaillant en domaine français sont spécialement encouragés à le faire.

Participating Units:

Department of Art Department of Classics Centre for Comparative Literature
Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning (OISE) Department of East Asian Studies Department of English
Department of French Department of German Department of History
Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology Faculty of Information Department of Italian Studies
Centre for Medieval Studies Faculty of Music Department for the Study of Religion
Department of Spanish & Portuguese

 

Professor Alexandra Gillespie on the shift from manuscript to print and the digitization of medieval books

March 1, 2017 News Comments Off on Professor Alexandra Gillespie on the shift from manuscript to print and the digitization of medieval books
“Researcher in English and Medieval Studies focuses on the history of the book, but is also forging new ground in the digital age and manuscript studies. Professor Alex Gillespie is a renowned scholar of the literary works of 14th-century writer Geoffrey Chaucer, and she specializes in medieval and early modern texts and books, with a focus on the shift from manuscript to print, the relationship between book history, literary criticism, and literary theory, and the digitization of medieval books. Listen to the View to the U podcast that features Professor Gillespie as she explains the work she is doing in this area. A full transcript of the podcast is available.” You can find out more here.

How 18-year-old engineering students saved U of T’s rarest books

February 6, 2017 News Comments Off on How 18-year-old engineering students saved U of T’s rarest books

“Yewon Son craned her neck, looking up at the high ceilings and packed shelves of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library — a building that holds, among other treasures, a 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablet, papyrus from the time of Christ and medieval manuscripts that come from the fourth century. It was the 21-year-old University of Toronto engineering student’s first time looking carefully at the books and manuscripts she helped save back when she was just 18 and in a first-year class.” You can read the CBC News article here.

A very short history of the Massey College printing presses

November 3, 2016 News Comments Off on A very short history of the Massey College printing presses

“Fine printing, which has always been strong in Canada, is especially strong at Massey College. The Bibliography Room of the Robertson Davies Library is particularly active during the school year, when a dedicated group of volunteers, apprentices, fellows, and members of the printing community come together to continue that tradition of fine printing. None of this would be possible, however, without the antique Victorian presses that are housed in the room. These presses, which are used today for teaching as well as printing, have unique individual histories.” You can read more here (pp. 15, 17).

Sonnets 2016 initiative: Massey-printed sonnet at the Bodleian Library

July 1, 2016 News Comments Off on Sonnets 2016 initiative: Massey-printed sonnet at the Bodleian Library

“In a cycle of 154 short, 14-line poems first published in 1609, William Shakespeare meditated on themes of love, death, and desire. During 2016, the Bodleian Libraries will be producing and collecting newly printed copies of each of Shakespeare’s sonnets. The Bodleian is seeking examples from hand-press printers worldwide made in this, the 400th year since the death of William Shakespeare … These should be created by hand, using any means of relief printing.  Selected submissions, forming at least one complete collection of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets, will be added to the Bodleian’s permanent collection.” You can find out more about the Sonnets 2016 project here, and you can see the contribution printed at Massey by BHPC alumna Julia King here.

Rare books: Thomas Fisher Library has Canada’s largest collection

April 15, 2016 News Comments Off on Rare books: Thomas Fisher Library has Canada’s largest collection

‘The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library feels like a shrine for the written word. But John Shoesmith dismisses the idea.“It’s not just here as a shrine. [The books] don’t come here to die,” said the outreach librarian. “It’s a working library.” The Fisher, as it’s commonly called, is the largest rare book library in Canada and it’s open to the public. Situated within Robarts Library at the University of Toronto, over 700,000 volumes are available to anyone with a library card  … Heavily annotated books belonging to famous Canadian communication theorist Marshall McLuhan and musician Leonard Cohen’s personal notebooks are just some of the books that are made rare by their association. A common misconception is that an old book makes a book rare. And while the Fisher does have material even from before the time of Christ, he says modern books aren’t out of the norm. “We would have books that would’ve been published last week, because we do collect modern Canadian fiction,” said Shoesmith. “We collect as many modern Canadian imprints as we can.” Some modern Canadian manuscripts exclusive to the Fisher are the handwritten first drafts of Margaret Atwood’s novels The Handmaid’s Tale and Cat’s Eye.’ You can read more here.

BHPC alumna Rebecca Niles on her career at the Folger Shakespeare Library

March 11, 2016 News Comments Off on BHPC alumna Rebecca Niles on her career at the Folger Shakespeare Library

“Cool Job: Digital Texts Co-editor and Interface Architect at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. By the time she graduated from the Faculty of Information (after having earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in English at U of T), Rebecca Niles had already landed a job at the Folger Shakespeare Library – home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare materials – on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.” You can read the interview with her in UofT Magazine here.

Shakespeare’s First Folio goes on display at Fisher Library

February 22, 2016 News Comments Off on Shakespeare’s First Folio goes on display at Fisher Library

“The University of Toronto is marking 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare with a special exhibit at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. ‘So long lives this’: Celebrating Shakespeare, 1616-2016 features Shakespeare’s First Folio from 1623 — the only copy in Canada … ‘Until then folios were mostly used for printing important religious, political, and historical works. With the First Folio in 1623, the format of the book itself confers a new kind of importance on plays — and plays written and performed for nearly the full stratum of English society, from working-class people to the royal court,’ said Alan Galey, director of the Master of Information Program at U of T. Galey worked with fellow U of T professors Peter W.M. Blayney and Marjorie Rubright and Western University assistant professor Scott Schofield to curate the exhibition.” You can read more here.

iSchool, English, and History & Philosophy of Science students win 2016 printing apprenticeships

January 9, 2016 News Comments Off on iSchool, English, and History & Philosophy of Science students win 2016 printing apprenticeships

“The BHPC Apprentice is given the privilege of learning the processes involved in operating the printing presses in the Robertson Davies Library’s Bibliography Room at Massey College, and will assist in showing visitors around the room and explaining the function of the presses and their related materials. Apprentices will also learn the basic skills of typesetting, registration, presswork, distribution, and principles of letterpress design. Further, they will assist in the maintenance of the shop including sorting spacing, distributing type and the other organizational tasks required to keep the presses in working order … [New BHPC Printing Apprentices Samantha Bellinger and Joel Vaughan] will be working with the Massey College Printer, Nelson Adams, and will join the current BHPC Printing Fellows, Amy Cote and Julia King, and the two new 2016 Massey Printing Apprentices, Kacper Niburski and Chris Kelleher.” You can read more here.

Expert bookbinder receives bibliography and book history award

October 22, 2015 News Comments Off on Expert bookbinder receives bibliography and book history award

“The Faculty of Information is proud to recognize Jeff Peachey as the Patricia Fleming Visiting Fellow in Bibliography and Book History, for his immense contributions to bibliography, book history, and his binding mastery. ‘I’m thrilled and honoured to receive the Patricia Fleming Fellowship. I am digging into the spectacular resources at the University of Toronto, and participating in the vibrant Book History community’, Peachey says … The working title for his research is ‘Putting it Together: American and English Bookbinding 1820-1850’. ‘I’m looking at the radical changes to the book that happened in this time, and how these changes affected binders and the how they worked. Two of the book structures that predominated in the 20th century, the hardcover and the paperback, have their origins in this time. I’m particularly interested in quotidian bookbindings, rather than ones produced for luxury markets’, Peachey says.” You can find out more here.

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