Category Archives: News

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.

BHPC annual report in Massey News

There’s a pleasing line in Yale University Press’s dustjacket blurb for Those Who Write for Immortality, a new book by retired BHPC Director Heather Jackson: “In 2000 she helped to found a graduate program in Book History and Print Culture [at U of T] that is now recognized as a world leader in the field.” The program continues to grow, and in 2014 we admitted a talented new cohort from Art, Comparative Literature, English, French, Information, Medieval Studies, Religion, and Spanish. All these students are drawn to BHPC from their different disciplinary backgrounds by a shared interest in text technologies (manuscript, print, digital) and associated practices (authorship, publishing, reading, collecting). They study book history from a variety of perspectives: material, cultural, and theoretical. It is one of the strengths of graduate education at U of T that multi-disciplinary programs such as ours can transcend conventional academic boundaries and bring researchers together in productive, often thrillingly serendipitous, ways. You can read more here (p. 15).

Major manuscript digitization initiative led by Professor Alexandra Gillespie and colleagues

“The University of Toronto has been awarded a grant of $773,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop digital tools to support manuscript study. The funding will be used by the University to support a partnership between its library and its Centre for Medieval Studies to further develop the widely adopted and award-winning open source digital scholarship platform Omeka, facilitating its increased use in the digital manuscript studies field. The Mellon Foundation’s grant will enable the building of infrastructure and capacity at the University of Toronto Libraries to support digital scholarship, foster further technical and intellectual collaboration between the U of T and other research institutions, and contribute to the community development and adoption of standards-compliant, interoperable, modular digital scholarship tools that are closely informed by scholarly needs. … Dr. Gillespie said, ‘The generous funding that the Mellon Foundation has provided will enable us to assemble, here at the University of Toronto, a team of skilled technologists, scholars, and data specialists to address the needs of humanities researchers. Our focus will be on the development of special digital tools that will enable us to make images of precious medieval manuscripts accessible, open, sustainable and usable to researchers now and in the future.’”  You can find out more here.

Professor Angela Esterhammer elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

“Angela Esterhammer is recognized internationally for interdisciplinary scholarship in the fields of literature, philosophy of language, print culture, and performance studies. Her research reveals the previously unacknowledged history and influence of improvised poetry in nineteenth-century Europe. Her publications on speech, action, and performativity in Romantic literature have opened up new approaches to British and European Romanticism around the world.” You can read more here and here. We also congratulate another newly elected FRSC, the distinguished University of Windsor book historian Professor Leslie Howsam, a close collaborator with BHPC over many years, whose “meticulous and ground-breaking scholarship, focused on nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Britain, uses archival and digital sources to recover the practices of authorship, publishing and reading of books and periodicals.”

BHPC alumna Claire Battershill wins inaugural Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for literary fiction

“Here’s what judge Miriam Toews had to say about Circus: ‘Claire Battershill has a great style. She writes in a plain-spoken way, with precision and such economy, while at the very same time expertly weaving layers and more layers of depth and detail and comedy and pathos. The characters are tormented and big-hearted and odd and so finely drawn, and the sentences sing out with intelligence and confidence. We’re so lucky to have this fresh, robust and utterly compelling voice in our midst.'” You can find out more here.

BHPC alumna Ruth-Ellen St. Onge joins Rare Book School (University of Virginia) staff as Assistant Curator of Collections

“We are very pleased to announce that Ruth-Ellen St. Onge has joined the Rare Book School staff as Assistant Curator of Collections and Special Assistant to the Associate Director. Ruth-Ellen holds a Master of Information Studies and a Ph.D. in French Studies and Book History and Print Culture from the University of Toronto. She is an active council member of the Bibliographical Society of Canada and the Canadian Association for the Study of Book Culture, and is the author of several published articles and reviews. For ten years, while pursuing her undergraduate and graduate studies, Ruth-Ellen worked as a research assistant in the Joseph Sablé Centre for 19th Century French Studies, a rare book library and research collection now housed within the Special Collections of the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto.” You can read more here.

BHPC alumnus Tim Harrison wins Governor General’s Gold Medal for 2015

“The Office of the Governor General awards gold medals annually to honour academic excellence at the graduate level. The gold medal is one of the most prestigious awards a Canadian graduate student can receive. Dr. Harrison defended his dissertation ‘Forms of Sentience in Early Modernity’ in June 2014 under the supervision of Professor Elizabeth Harvey in the Department of English. His ground-breaking interdisciplinary research brings together book history, literary analysis, and the intellectual history of early modern science to examine how early modern writers used language to explore and express what it means to be alive. Dr. Harrison accepted a coveted tenure-track Assistant Professor position in the Department of English at the University of Chicago, where he moved five days after defending his dissertation.” You can read more here.

BHPC student Catherine Schwartz awarded Chancellor Jackman Graduate Fellowship in the Humanities 2015-2016

“We are pleased to announce the appointment of four doctoral candidates who will be completing their dissertations on topics relevant to the JHI Annual Theme of Things that Matter at the Jackman Humanities Institute in 2015-2016 … Catherine’s dissertation explores the hidden influence of almanacs, barometers, smoke and sounds in the works of Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Gustave Flaubert, and Jules Verne, to examine the ways that rare, obsolete, or intrinsically evanescent objects create and represent the atmosphere in ways that still inform how we imagine our environment.” You can read the full JHI announcement here.

Professor Heather MacNeil receives Talman Award from Archives Association of Ontario

“The Archives Association of Ontario (AAO) has chosen iSchool Professor Heather MacNeil as the 2015 recipient of its James J. Talman Award. According to the AAO awards committee, the honour is given to ‘an individual who has demonstrated an outstanding level of imagination and innovation in contribution to the profession, his/her institution, or the archival community, or pioneered in any aspect of archival work.’” You can read more here.

Professor Peter Blayney becomes Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Stationers

“There were only two people to make free of the Company this morning; Peter Blayney who wrote the two volume work The Stationers’ Company and the Printers of London, 1501-1557 and who had travelled all the way from Canada with his wife Leslie Thomson for the Freedom Ceremony … Peter Blayney will be matching his research trips to the UK with events at the Hall and has managed to make this one cover his Freedom Ceremony and the Archive Evening next week.” You can read more here.