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Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Lecture

Annual lecture series featuring authorities on bibliography, the history of the book, and medieval and early modern history and culture.


Sarah Neville, "Commodifying Botany in Early Modern England"

Over the course of the sixteenth century, herbals grew from compact, unadorned volumes to giant, lavishly illustrated ones, and their contents shifted from reprints of anonymous medieval works to commissioned authorial tomes. To explain the broader context in which English botanical science developed, Assistant Professor of English at The Ohio State University Sarah Neville reveals the sophisticated and nuanced calculus performed by members of the London book trade who invested capital to manufacture these popular printed books. By exploring ways English publishers directed the history of botanical science as it developed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Neville shows how publishers navigated the financial risk that herbal publication increasingly required of them, and ultimately, how the early commercial practices of English printers shaped both popular reading habits and the development of scholarly and botanical authority.


Jane Raisch, “Original Copies: The Facsimile Before Photography”

Called “the nightmare of book collectors” by John Carter and Nicolas Barker, facsimiles do not hold a particularly revered position in bibliography and book history. The opposite of the venerated “original,” facsimiles are seen as a compromise at best and downright deception at worst. And, yet, people have long been driven to make reliable copies of old documents.

Raisch’s lecture delves into the pre-history of today’s digital reproductions, looking in particular at the creative technical strategies that 16th- through 18th-century scholars and printers devised to reproduce the visual qualities of inscriptions and manuscripts. It asks how and why early print copied material objects that came before—and, in the process, rethinks and expands our understanding of what facsimile can mean today.

Jane Raisch, Ph.D., is Lecturer in the Department of English at The University of York in the United Kingdom.


"Collated and Perfect"

Learn about the changing standards that collectors—and institutions—have used to describe and evaluate early printed books, revealing why these books take the often surprising forms they do today.

Panelists include Megan Heffernan, assistant professor of English at DePaul University, Kathryn James, curator of Early Modern and Osborn Collections at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and Aaron T. Pratt, the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts at the Harry Ransom Center.


Sarah Werner, "Early Digital Facsimiles"

Increasingly, libraries provide access to their special collections beyond the physical walls of reading rooms in the form of photographic facsimiles hosted online. There are clear benefits to this kind of expanded access, but digitization can never be perfectly neutral: photographs and scans can only ever serve as partial representations of physical objects, and decisions have to be made about what gets digitized in the first place. In her lecture, "Early Digital Facsimiles," Sarah Werner discusses the rise of digitization and its impact on the study of early modern books. Werner, who previously served as Digital Media Strategist at the Folger Shakespeare Library, is the author of Studying Early Printed Books, 1450–1800: A Practical Guide.


Eric White, “From Mainz to Austin: Carl H. Pforzheimer's Gutenberg Bible”

Eric White, Curator of Rare Books at Princeton University, discusses the Ransom Center’s Gutenberg Bible, focusing on recent scholarship and new discoveries related to its early provenance. The Center’s Gutenberg Bible is on permanent display.

Program Sponsor
Funding generously provided by
the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation.

Programs & Symposia Exhibitions
Contact

Aaron T. Pratt
Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Curator
of Early Books and Manuscripts
aaron.pratt@austin.utexas.edu