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The Reading Experience Database (RED), 1450–1945

RED Letter: The Newsletter of the Reading Experience Database


Edited by Rosalind Crone and Katie Halsey

Recently, a journey on the crowded London underground prompted me to consider a little more deeply the practice of reading while commuting. Rolling along the often bumpy tracks of the Piccadilly Line, and without any reading material myself, I broke the unwritten code of peak-hour trains and began to take an interest in what other commuters were doing. Most of all, it was quite heartening to note that MP3 players and I-Pods did not dominate the carriage. Both younger and older generations still use that valuable time between destinations to read a wide variety of literature, from novels to fashion magazines to newspapers. Perhaps for some, the act of reading creates a comforting barrier between them and other commuters, limiting the social interactions that might otherwise occur. But I think for most, it is still the actual text that counts, that they derive a great amount of pleasure from reading. On the one hand, in our busy lives there is a sense that the valuable thirty to sixty minutes spent on the train should not be wasted. And on the other hand, the same pressures suggest that reading would be a useful way to pass the time: how sensible to slot time for leisure into this malleable space in the daily timetable. On this line of thought, I remembered that many years ago, on a bus during peak-hour in Brisbane, I had looked out the window at the car stopped beside me at the traffic light to see a young woman in the driver’s seat with a novel propped up on the steering wheel. I watched her for some time, negotiating heavy traffic while seizing snatches of time to complete the chapter. I still think this was a very dangerous activity, but years on, I am now a little awe-struck by her commitment to this book.

Such thoughts prompted me, when I returned home, to explore the current contents of the database to get a sense of the common relationship between commuting and reading in the past. Of course people had used the time on long, very boring carriage journeys to read either novels or newspapers, and there are many instances of this in RED. However, I was particularly interested in shorter journeys, where time was considered so precious that it was filled in this way, and in which the act of reading itself was awkward or quite risky, thus indicating the discovery of a particularly committed reader. I found some fascinating entries from a significant time span which certainly confirm the longevity of the connection between commuting and reading.

For example, on 24 May 1721, Anglian farmer William Coe wrote in his diary that he had been reading the newspaper, The Northampton Mercury, while riding on Bury Heath. His horse threw him off but, he thankfully stated, ‘God be praysed [sic] I got not the least harm’. Moreover, the autobiographies of working-class autodidacts provided intricate detail on the habit of reading whilst walking between home and work in London during the nineteenth century. At the beginning of the century, journeyman tailor Thomas Carter managed to read a few pages of his book each day while going to and from his workshop. Yet it ‘was a somewhat difficult affair, as my path led me through some of the busiest streets and places in the city: and I hardly need say that these are not the most favourable localities for a thoughtful reader.’ Similarly, at the end of the century, journalist William Adams read the radical daily, The Morning Star, every day on his way to work: ‘So orderly was the traffic throughout that route that I could, by keeping to the right, read my paper the whole way. And I had nothing left to read in it –at least, nothing that I wanted to read –when I reached Fleet Street, nearly an hour’s walk from Kennington.’ Finally, and perhaps one of the more delightful entries in RED, Hilary Spalding describes reading Lewis Carroll’s poem, ‘Jabberwocky’, while riding her bicycle through the streets of Darlington to her friend’s house as a young adult in 1945: ‘Passers by must have thought me mad, book in one hand, bike handle in the other, sailing down the hill saying in loud voice “Beware the Jabberwock, my son!”’.

While reading through the entries in RED I was struck by the many similarities and differences between reading while commuting during the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and today. Particularly notable is the continued power of the text to arrest attention in often busy and uncomfortable surroundings. With greater accessibility, the value placed on text has also shifted slightly. Yet, the results of this can actually be very positive. For instance, that afternoon on the Piccadilly line, I observed, as usual, many commuters discard their newspapers as they left the train, leaving them on their seats. I, gratefully, picked up an Evening Standard left within my reach, and was supplied with ample reading material for the rest of my journey home.

As we move on to RED news for this quarter, I am especially delighted to announce that the entries described above are now available to the public. On 27 June, the Reading Experience Database was officially launched at the Institute of English Studies in London and its contents can now be searched by anyone, anywhere in the world. At present, the database contains nearly 10,000 individual entries which describe the various reading habits, tastes and practices of British subjects at home and abroad between 1450 and 1945. The majority of these have been edited and released for public searching and viewing. As our holdings continue to grow at a significant pace each day, we encourage you to revisit RED regularly, as your search results will grow in number and diversity. Over the next twelve months, we will be refining and adding to the search functions in the database, in preparation for the release of version two in summer 2008. We hope that you will enjoy using this new and exciting resource. If you have any comments on or questions about the database we would love to hear from you –for your convenience we have developed a feedback form on the website which can be found under ‘Contact Us’. Alternatively, you can contact either Katie or Rosalind at the addresses provided at the end of the newsletter.

In particular, if you have any material on reading that you would like to contribute to the database, please do get in touch. RED is a resource that is intended to grow indefinitely, and we continue to encourage contributions from anyone with an interest or resources in the history of reading. We would like to thank those volunteers who have added material to the database both since its inception and especially during the last twelve months. Your help has been invaluable and has added significantly to the wide scope of the project.

In addition to the volunteers, we would also like to thank those who have provided particular help and guidance over the last few months, including Patrick Leary, Isobel Grundy, Honor Lewington, Sarah Houghton-Walker and Jean Meiring. A special thanks must be extended to Jon Millington at the IES who organised the RED launch party in June. And we would also like to thank the SHARP conference organising committee for hosting a superb conference in Minneapolis and for their great support for the RED project.

Finally, the RED Team would like to draw your attention to our project conference, ‘Evidence of Reading, Reading the Evidence’, to be held at the Institute of English Studies in London on 21-23 July 2008. We hope that you will join us for what will be an enlightening exploration of reading in the past and the present. We have included a conference flyer with this newsletter and more information is available online:


Contact Details:  
Dr Rosalind Crone
Literature Department
Faculty of Arts
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
Dr Katie Halsey
Institute of English Studies
School of Advanced Study
University of London
Malet Street
Email: Email:

Forthcoming Events and Calls for Papers

RED Conference: Evidence of Reading, Reading the Evidence

Follow this link for further details

Publishing Science: Seminars in Book History and Bibliography
Organised by the Book History Research Group, the Open University, and the Institute of English Studies, University of London.

Organiser: Dr Shafquat Towheed , Open University.

The theme for the 2008-2009 seminar series will be Transatlantic Serialisation. If you are interested in giving a paper please contact Dr Shafquat Towheed.

Programme 2006-2007:

29 October 2007 (Monday)
Venue: Room 273 (ST)
Time: 17:30 - 19:00
Katy Price (Anglia Ruskin University)
'Einstein for the tired business man: relativity exposition in magazines'
Katy Price teaches English and Writing at Anglia Ruskin University. She has published on William Empson's astronomy love poems and is completing a book on literary and popular appropriations of Einstein's relativity. She is Communications Officer for History of Science at the BA Festival of Science.

12 November 2007 (Monday)
Venue: Room 273 (ST)
Time: 17:30 - 19:00
Amanda Mordavksy-Caleb (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
'The Politics of Publishing Science, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Alan Sokal and Love the Scientific Method'
Amanda Mordavsky-Caleb is a Lecturer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, having recently completed her PhD at the University of Sheffield entitled 'The Decadent Scientist in British Fictions of the Fin de Siecle, 1886-1902'. She is the editor of '(Re)Creating Science in Nineteenth-Century Britain', forthcoming in August with Cambridge Scholars Publishing. She is currently working on a study of eugenics in Victorian and Edwardian literature.

26 November 2007 (Monday)
Venue: Room 273 (ST)
Time: 17:30 - 19:00
Max Saunders (King's College London)
'Publishing the future: CK Ogden and Kegan Paul's "To-day and To-morrow" series'
Max Saunders is Professor of English at King's College London, where he teaches modern English, European, and American Literature. He is the author of 'Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life', the editor of Ford's 'Selected Poems' and 'War Prose', and (with Richard Stang), 'Critical Essays'. He is also general editor of 'International Ford Madox Ford Studies'.

10 December 2007 (Monday)
Venue: Room 273 (ST)
Time: 17:30 - 19:00
Aileen Fyfe (National University of Ireland, Galway)
'Steam-Powered Information: the British and American publishing activities of W&R Chambers, c1830-60'
Aileen Fyfe lectures in the history of science at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She is currently working on the impact of new technologies upon the publication of cheap works of science in the mid-nineteenth century. She is the author of 'Science and Salvation: evangelicals and popular science publishing in Victorian Britain' (2004) and editor of 'Science for Children' (2003).

28 January 2008 (Monday)
Venue: Room 273 (ST)
Time: 17:30 - 19:00
Jonathan Topham (University of Leeds)
'Scientific Publication and the Readership for Science in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain'
Jonathan Topham is co-author of 'Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: Reading the Magazine of Nature' (2004) and 'Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index' (2005), and co-editor of 'Culture and Science in the Nineteenth-Century Media' (2004).

11 February 2008 (Monday)
Venue: Room 273 (ST)
Time: 17:00 - 19:30
Jim Mussell (Birkbeck College/ NSE)
'The Roles of Secrecy in Nineteenth-Century Science Publishing'
Jim Mussell is postdoctoral research assistant on the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition. He is the author of 'Science, Time and Space in the Late Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press' (2007) and writes broadly on nineteenth-century science and publishing.

25 February 2008 (Monday)
Venue: Room 273 (ST)
Time: 17:30 - 19:00
Gowan Dawson (University of Leicester)
'Moa Mania: Richard Owen's functionalist Paleontology and Nineteenth-Century Print Culture'
Gowan Dawson is the author of 'Darwin, Literature and Victorian Respectability' (2007), and co-author of 'Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: Reading the Magazine of Nature' (2004).

10 March 2008 (Monday)
Venue: Room 273 (ST)
Time: 17:30 - 19:00
Angelique Richardson (University of Exeter)
' "Among the earliest acclaimers of The Origin": Hardy and the Scientists'
Angelique Richardson is the author of 'Love and Eugenics in the late Nineteenth-Century: Rational Reproduction and the New Woman 1890-1914' and the editor of 'Women Who Did: Stories by Men and Women 1890-1914' (2005). She is a member of the advisory committee of Exeter's Centre for Medical History, a Research Associate of the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society (Egenis), and a Contributing Editor to 'Critical Quarterly'.

Teaching the history of the book to undergraduates
8 December 2007
Institute of English Studies, London

Organisers: Dr Ian Gadd, Dr Aileen Fyfe, Dr John Hinks, Dr Cathy Shrank and Professor Simon Eliot

Enquiries: Jon Millington, Events Officer, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU; tel +44 (0) 207 664 4859; Email

Programme and Registration:

Possession and Distribution of Books: doctoral workshop
31 October 2007
Helsinki, Finland

The Nordic-Baltic-Russian Network on the History of Books, Libraries and Reading (HIBOLIRE) will arrange on October 31st 2007 a doctoral workshop in Helsinki under the theme 'Possession and Distribution of Books'.

The workshop seeks to promote regional book history studies. It offers a possibility to deliver a presentation of an ongoing Ph.D. research for an international audience and receive comments from the participants and a specific commentator from the HIBOLIRE network.

The workshop is arranged in conjunction with the decennial Jubilee Seminar of the Finnish Book Historical Association on November 1st - 2nd 2007. The participants of the workshop are welcome to participate in the Jubilee Seminar as well.

Abstracts for the doctoral workshop, max. 500 words, and a short CV, should be sent via E-mail to Jyrki Hakapää [jyrki.hakapaa(at)] until April 10th 2007. Notifications of acceptance will be sent in May. Eligible are all interested doctoral students, but priority is given to students from the HIBOLIRE countries and institutions represented in the network. The network can support travel costs of doctoral students coming from the member institutions. The workshop will also include the yearly meeting of the board of HIBOLIRE and a general meeting of members.


Fifth International Conference on the Book
20 - 22 October 2007
Madrid, Spain

This broad-ranging and cross-disciplinary conference will discuss the past, present and future of publishing, libraries, literacy, learning and the information society.

Presenters may choose to submit written papers for publication in the fully refereed International Journal of the Book. If you are unable to attend the conference in person, virtual registrations are also available which allow you to submit a paper for review and possible publication in the journal, and provide access to the online edition of the journal.

To submit your proposal, please visit the Submit Proposal link on the conference website

The University of Missouri at Kansas City,
Thurs, September 27th, through Sat., the 29th, 2007.

Suggestions for panels and papers in all areas of English, American, and
other literatures, media, and book history are welcome. Here are some
possible panels and topics:
1. The Reception of /Brokeback Mountain/, including internet activity
2. The reception of serialized fiction in periodicals.
3. Marxism and reception study
4. Rereading /Huckleberry Finn/
5. The Reception of Toni Morrison's fiction
6. Reading Torture Or Human Rights in Literature
7. Rereading Stanley Fish's Is there a Text in this Class?
8. Reception and nineteenth-century (American) women's fiction
9. Trans-Atlantic receptions of British and American fiction
10. American fiction and reception as (re)construction
11. Feminist theories of reception
12. Reception and/of children's literature(s)
13. The politics of reception study
14. Reception and the opening of the literary canon
15. Television audiences and reception
16. Reception and dissemination of print culture
17. Active audience theory/study
18. Intersections between reception study and effects studies

1. John Frow,
"Afterlife: Texts as Usage"
He was Regius Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature at the
University of Edinburgh and is presently Chair of English Language and
Literature at the University of Melbourne. His publications include/
Genre/ (2005); /Accounting for Tastes: Australian Everyday Cultures/
(with Tony Bennett and Michael Emmison, 1999); /Time and Commodity
Culture: Essays in Cultural Theory and Postmodernity/ (1997); /Cultural
Studies and Cultural Value /(1995); /Australian Cultural Studies: A
Reader/ (1993); and /Marxism and Literary History/ (1986)

2. Janet Staiger,
"The Revenge of the Film Education Movement: Cult Movies and Fan
Interpretive Behaviors"
She is William P. Hobby Centennial Professor in Communication and
Professor of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at
Austin. Her recent publications include /Media Reception Studies
/(2005),/ Perverse Spectators : The Practices of Film Reception/
(2000), /Blockbuster TV: Must-See Sitcoms in the Network Era/ (2000)
and the co-edited volume (with David Gerstner) /Authorship and Film

3. Patsy Schweikart,
"The Receiving Function: Ethics and Reading."
She is Professor of English and Women's Studies, Purdue University. She
has published on feminist reception study, including "Toward a Feminist
Theory of Reading"/ /and the co-edited volumes /Gender and Reading /and,
most recently, /Reading Sites: Social Difference and Reader Response /

4. David Paul Nord,
"Ephemeral and Elusive: Journalism History as Reading History"
He is Professor of Journalism and American Studies, Indiana University
and the author of /Faith in Reading: Religious Publishing and the Birth
of Mass Media in America /(2004); /Communities of Journalism: A History
of American Newspapers and Their Readers/ (2001); and /Newspapers and
New Politics: Midwestern Municipal Reform/ (1981). He is co-editing
/The Enduring Book: Publishing in Post War America/, Volume 5 of /A
History of the Book in America/ (forthcoming).

Poposals are due by May 1. *Selected papers from the conference will be
published in Reception: Texts, Readers, Audiences, History (the RSS
journal)*. To suggest papers or panels or for more information, please
contact the organizers:

Philip Goldstein
University of Delaware, Department of Media Studies,
333 Shipley St., University of Missouri
Wilmington, DE 19801 -Kansas City

Tom Poe
202 Haag Hall
5120 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO
Or visit the RSS webpage:



The Novel and its Borders
8 - 10 July 2008
University of Aberdeen

Organised by The Centre for The Novel

Organisers: Adrienne Janus, Abigail M Smith and Janet Todd

The novel is not only a literary form occupying a particular generic or cultural territory, but also an aesthetic, historical and social phenomenon that represents, constructs, and transgresses borders. The conference on The Novel and its Borders will engage with the novel in all its aspects, material and theoretical, from the 18th to the 21st century.

Plenary speakers: Malcolm Bowie, Jonathan Lamb, Terry Castle

Panel topics will include the following:

  • Genealogies of the novel
  • Histories of the book
  • Memory, History and Narrative time
  • Transatlantic crossings
  • Travel narratives
  • Libraries, Archives, Markets
  • Borders of the mind
  • Territories of the body, novel sexualities
  • The novel and translation
  • The novel and real/imagined communities
  • The novel and old/new media
  • Materialities of the novel
  • Transport of/in the novel
  • The novel and the city
  • The novel and the nation
  • Technology, science and the novel
  • Realism and its borders (The experimental novel)
  • The novel and its critical fields (Theories of the novel)

Please send 250-word abstracts for 20-minute conference papers to
Submission deadline is 31 December 2007.

Proposals for panel topics with participants are also welcome.



Beyond the Book: Contemporary Cultures of Reading
A conference at the University of Birmingham, UK
1 & 2 September 2007

Keynote Speakers:
Janice Radway (Duke University) & Elizabeth Long (Rice University)
Book groups, Lit Blogs, on-line bookstores, book festivals, reader magazines, ‘One Book, One Community,’ Reader’s Guides, ‘Richard & Judy’s Book Club,’ Book TV, ‘Canada Reads,’ the ‘Nancy Pearl Action Figure,’ ‘Tuesday Night Book Club,’… reading is hot!

This conference will explore the diverse formations, mediations, practices and representations of reading and readers in the contemporary moment. Cultures of reading are dynamic and complex: they involve not only readers reading, but also multiple agencies including publishers, booksellers, broadcast networks, national, regional and municipal governments, and educational institutions. The aim of the conference is to interrogate the relations among these agents and their investment in the meanings of reading. The study of readers and reading encourages, maybe demands, multi- and interdisciplinary analysis. We therefore invite scholars from across the humanities and social sciences to consider the contemporary meanings and experiences of reading in any culture or location. Selected papers will be included in an edited collection on contemporary cultures of reading/book cultures.

Beyond the Book is a three-year collaborative interdisciplinary AHRC-funded research project investigating contemporary cultures of reading. The transatlantic BTB team are: DeNel Rehberg Sedo (Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada), Danielle Fuller, Anouk Lang & Anna Burrells (University of Birmingham, UK).

The Culture of the Publisher’s Series 1700-2000
A major International Conference to be held on
18 -19 October 2007
Institute of English Studies, University of London

In the early 18th century, British publishers began gathering books together in themed series and packaging and marketing them as distinct, recognisable groups. The effects of this phenomenon were remarkable; by the mid-nineteenth century there were upward of 3,000 publishers’ series in Britain alone, and the phenomenon is of course still with us today. During this 200-year period the culture of the publisher’s series has opened up new possibilities for authors, publishers, distributors and readers, helped to establish a wide range of traditions from the establishment of national literary canons to the development of feminist lists, and influenced the kinds of literature we teach to the next generation of scholars.

While some publishers’ series have been investigated in depth, there have been few opportunities for the work of individual scholars to be placed in meaningful dialogue. This major two-day conference seeks to encourage International scholars from all disciplines to examine the culture of the publishers’ series with a view to furthering understanding of its historical, ideological, generic and geographical reach.

Confirmed Speakers Include: Robert Fraser, Mary Hammond, Elizabeth James, Andrew Nash, John Spiers

Dr Mary Hammond ( and Professor John Spiers (


Books on the Battlefield: The Reception, Use and Appropriation of Books in Warfare, 1450 to the Present Day

3 November 2007
King's Manor, University of York, York

The relationship between books and war appears self-evident: books have acted as potent weapons in ideological warfare and war has provided literature with one of its most enduring themes. Yet the reception, use, and appropriation of texts in a military context has remained relatively unexplored. While the work of Paul Fussell, Samuel Hynes and others has raised important questions about the literary dimensions of soldiers' narratives, the ways in which combatants' reading shaped their experience and understanding of war deserve further examination. We also need to consider texts targeted specifically at soldiers, from the pocket bibles and catechisms produced for the Parliamentarian forces during the English Civil War to the vast range of literature published through the US armed services editions in the twentieth century. Papers which look beyond the Anglo-American experience of war will be particularly welcome. Please send proposals of up to 500 words to Catriona Kennedy ( and Helen Smith ( by 30th April, 2007.

For further details and registration (£12/£17 for staff; £5/£10 for students/unwaged; free/£5 for members of the University of York) please visit the conference website at


The Parker Library Now: A two-day symposium on preservation – digitisation – scholarship – public access
6-7 September 2007

In the 1980s, Professor Raymond Page, then Fellow Librarian of the College, commissioned a review of the collections and their long-term preservation, and he established the Cambridge Colleges Conservation Consortium, still based in Corpus Christi College. A two-day conference was held in the College in 1988 to bring many of these issues to public discussion. The questions raised then are now seen representing a notable turning-point in the history of manuscript conservation in Britain. Two decades later it seems appropriate to ask whether they have stood the test of time, and to look at new directions for the Parker Library in the twenty-first century.

The Parker Library comprises one of the most important small collections of English medieval manuscripts ever assembled. It was entrusted to the College in 1574 by Matthew Parker (1504-1575), Archbishop of Canterbury, with detailed requirements of preservation and accessibility to scholars.

There are three current issues.

(1) The entire manuscript collection of the Parker Library is now being digitised, in a huge project in collaboration with Stanford University Library and with funding from the Mellon Foundation; and within three years every page of every manuscript will be available free on the internet. The project includes a searchable catalogue and comprehensive and up-to-date bibliographies for every manuscript.

(2) The Conservation Consortium has grown and flourished enormously, now encompassing eight colleges, and in 2006 it moved to new premises within Corpus Christi College, with facilities and opportunities inconceivable in the 1980s.

(3) The ground floor beneath the Parker Library will be vacated in the summer of 2007, allowing the creation of a proper vault and rare books reading room, which will, in turn, open the upstairs Wilkins Room for exhibitions and educational access on a scale and with possibilities unprecedented in Cambridge.

The symposium will include papers within all three areas, at their widest interpretation, including library history, conservation, digitisation and its application, new discoveries and directions in medieval manuscript scholarship, and the benefits or problems of access to some of the most precious illuminated manuscripts in existence. The Parker Library and Cambridge Consortium workshop will be fully available to participants. On Friday afternoon, there will be a choice of workshop and library visits.

Corpus Christi College was founded in 1352, and has some of the finest medieval buildings in Cambridge. The Parker Library includes many of the oldest manuscripts in Britain, such as the sixth-century Gospels of Saint Augustine and the primary codex of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and some of the most celebrated English illuminated manuscripts, such as the twelfth-century Bury Bible and the original of the Historia Maiora of Matthew Paris. The conference facilities include the McCrum Lecture Theatre with seating for 150.

The symposium will take place at Corpus Christi College on Thursday to Friday, 6-7 September, 2007. Speakers will include Christopher Clarkson, who spoke at the first conference in the 1980s; Nicholas Pickwoad, consultant for the initial conservation project, Melvin Jefferson, head of the Conservation Consortium; Mark Clarke, expert in pigment analysis, and Christopher de Hamel, Donnelley Fellow Librarian.

Accommodation is available within the College, up to a certain number on a first-come first-served basis.

The basic symposium fee of £90.00 includes all lunches and refreshments.

A very unusual optional extra is available on the Friday evening, 7 September. This is the Parker Library Audit Dinner, established by Matthew Parker to check the presence of every book under risk of forfeit of the whole collections to one of two other colleges; the Audit was revived on Parker’s 500th birthday and is now among the most spectacular and interesting of the annual ceremonies in the College. Places at the Audit Dinner are available at £50.00 per head.

For further information, please contact: Gill Cannell, telephone 01223 338025, email, Christopher de Hamel, telephone 01223 339994, email or go to
for further details.


The Third International Conference on the History of Records and Archives (I-CHORA 3) will be held in Boston, Massachusetts on September 27-29, 2007, hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society.

The theme of the conference will be the history of personal records and personal recordkeeping practices. This theme is intended to cover the full range of personal documents—including, for example, letters, diaries, journals, and scrapbooks—both as document types and as parts of recordkeeping systems that document personal life. We invite submissions of proposals for papers that report on original research into a topic and theme that has not been widely discussed in the archival literature, although there are many scholars in literary studies, history and the arts who have probed the personal and social functions and meaning of records made, kept, and exchanged by people in their private and professional lives. Papers may treat any time period and any national jurisdiction. Topics might include, but are not limited to the following areas:

  • the forms of personal records
  • the motivations for making and keeping personal records
  • the collecting of personal records by individuals and archival repositories
  • cross-disciplinary perspectives on personal records
  • needs for research in the area of personal records

Please think about your work and how it may be shared with colleagues in the world of archives and beyond.

Proposals for papers should be no less than 500 words, double spaced, and in RTF format.

Proposals should be sent to by 19 May 2006. We will advise acceptance by the middle of June 2006.

Organizing and Program Committee:
Barbara Craig, University of Toronto
Philip B. Eppard, University at Albany, SUNY
Heather MacNeil, University of British Columbia
Brenda Lawson, Massachusetts Historical Society

Spaces of Print: Exploring the History of Books
Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand 2007 Conference
15-16 November 2007

The Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand conference for 2007 will be held in Hobart, Tasmania. Papers are invited on any aspect of book history - the history of printing, publishing, bookselling, libraries and reading. Australian and New Zealand topics are especially welcome, however other topics within the Society's areas of interest will be considered. For more information about BSANZ and its interests, go to the website (see below).

Closing date for papers: 31 March 2007

Ian Morrison: Phone: +61 3 6233 7474
Tony Marshall Email: Phone: +61 3 6233 7498



The Culture of Print in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine (STEM)
The Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America
Madison, Wisconsin
September 12-13, 2008

The conference will include papers focusing on the dynamic intersection of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine (STEM) and print culture. Papers might address ways in which STEM-its histories and materials, its theories and practices, its economics, and its practitioners-affects or is affected by print culture. These approaches might include: innovations in the production and circulation of print; patterns of authorship and reading; publication, and dissemination of knowledge in the history of STEM. Alternatively, taking the various theories and methodologies that have grown out of half-a-century of historical and social studies of STEM, papers could investigate the social construction of STEM knowledge through print; technologies of experimentation and inscription as a print culture of the laboratory; and the social networks of readership in the production of scientific consensus or conflict. Though our emphasis is on the United States scene, we welcome submissions from other areas of the globe as well.

The keynote speaker will be Professor Jim Secord, of Cambridge University, Director of the Darwin Correspondence Project, and author of many publications, including the award-winning Victorian Sensation: The Extraordinary Publication, Reception and Secret Authorship of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (University of Chicago Press, 2000).

Proposals for individual papers or complete sessions (up to three papers) should include a 250-word abstract and a one-page c.v. for each presenter. If possible, submissions should be made via email. The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2008. Notifications of acceptance will be made by early March.

As with previous conferences, we anticipate producing a volume of papers from the conference for publication in a volume in the Center's series, "Print Culture History in Modern America," published by the University of Wisconsin Press. A list of books the Center has produced, available on the Center's website (, offers a guide to prospective authors.

For information, contact:
Christine Pawley, Director,
Center for the History of Print Culture
4234 Helen C. White Hall,
600 N. Park St.
Madison, WI 53706
phone: 608 263-2945/608 263-2900
fax: (608) 263-4849

Co-sponsors: School of Library and Information Studies, the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies, the departments of the History of Science, the History of Medicine and Bioethics, and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


Renaissance Colloquium: Reading and Writing in Provincial Society 1300-1700
Canterbury Christ Church University & Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library
Saturday 22nd September 2007

'...To understand the use of the materials we are investigating within the precise, local specific context that alone gave them meaning. This context might be ritual, political or at once religious and national.'
Roger Chartier, The Culture of Print (1989)

Twenty minute papers are invited for the Second Annual Renaissance Colloquium. The colloquia reflect a range of disciplinary approaches to the study of manuscripts and early printed books in a bid to provide a more fully contextualised understanding of literacy and 'book' culture in provincial society across the period. Working collaboratively with Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library, the day will draw together scholars working on a range of source material including, book lists and inventories, literary manuscripts, early printed books, common place books, letters and civic documents. Papers are particularly welcome from but not restricted to scholars who have worked on material housed at Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library.

Key themes include: types of literacy and the status of the literate, orality, dis/continuities between manuscript and print culture, reading and writing practices, issues of methodology, materiality, book ownership/access, coterie writing, reading communities, metropolitan and continental influences.

Please send a 300 word synopsis of your paper to
by 30th June 2007

Dr Claire Bartram
Lecturer in Renaissance Studies
English Department
Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Canterbury Christ Church University
Canterbury, Kent, CT1 1QU


Readers, Writers, Salonnieres: Female Networks in Europe, 1700-1900

Keynote speakers: Professor Dena Goodman, University of Michigan and Professor Helen Chambers, University of St Andrews.

Proposals are invited for an interdisciplinary two-day conference to be
held at Chawton House Library, Hampshire, 22nd and 23rd May 2008. See for information about the location. The
event is jointly organised by the University of Southampton English
Department, the University of Warwick French Department and the University
of Wales Swansea German Department.

The conference is one in a series being held in conjunction with the Netherlands Research Organisation (NWO) Project "New Approaches to European Women's Writing" which is based at the University of Utrecht and is directed by Dr Suzan van Dijk. Please see for more details.

The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw an explosion of interest in Europe in foreign languages and literatures, and recent research has begun to explore the part played by women in cross-cultural interchange. This conference seeks to examine the trans-national links between literary women in Europe in the period 1700-1900. To what extent were women writers from different countries aware of each other and each other's work? We invite papers which look at women who read or were inspired by the work of women abroad, as well as papers exploring actual links (for example,
through correspondence, visits or contact in the salons) between women writers of different nationalities.

Papers should be a maximum of 20 minutes and should be given in English.
Please send a 250-word abstract for the attention of the organisers
Katherine Astbury, Hilary Brown and Gillian Dow to the conference
administrator Sandy White:

The deadline for abstracts is the 7th of January 2008.

Funding from the NWO and Chawton House Library will enable us to waive the conference fee for speaking delegates.

Selected papers will be published in a special issue of the journal Women's Writing.

from: William Hone, ‘The Yearbook’, 1832
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