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2002 Summer Seminar

"Books in American Lives, 1830-1890"
Sunday, June 9 - Thursday, June 13, 2002

SEMINAR LEADER: Louise Stevenson (History, Franklin and Marshall College)
FACULTY: Amy Thomas (English, University of Montana) and members of the AAS staff

Participants in the seminar will investigate how Americans of that period lived in a literary culture. We will investigate how books made themselves felt in home and public life through readings, discussion, and workshops based in part on the American Antiquarian Society's extensive collections of manuscripts, periodicals, and visual sources. Seminar participants will consider the material culture of literary culture. Our investigations may take us to historic sites with literary associations, antiquarian bookstores, public sculptures, and flea markets.

Stevenson has written extensively on higher education and nineteenth-century cultural and intellectual life in scholarly reviews and articles. Her books include Scholarly Means to Evangelical Ends: The New Haven Scholars and the Transformation of Higher Learning in America, 1830-1890 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), and The Victorian Homefront: American Cultural and Intellectual Life, 1860-1880 (1991, new ed., Cornell University Press, 2001). Her recent work includes articles on books and reading in everyday Victorian life, including a contribution for volume 3 of A History of the Book in America.

Seminar leader Louise Stevenson is professor of history and American studies at Franklin and Marshall College, where she has taught since 1982. Stevenson has written extensively on higher education and nineteenth-century cultural and intellectual life in scholarly reviews and articles. Her books include Scholarly Means to Evangelical Ends: The New Haven Scholars and the Transformation of Higher Learning in America, 1830-1890 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), and The Victorian Homefront: American Cultural and Intellectual Life, 1860-1880 (1991, new ed., Cornell University Press, 2001). Her recent work includes articles on books and reading in everyday Victorian life, including a contribution for volume 3 of A History of the Book in America to be published by the American Antiquarian Society and Cambridge University Press.

Visiting faculty will include Amy Thomas, associate professor of English at Montana State University, where she teaches courses in nineteenth-century American literature and the history of the book. Among her publications are, Reading Acts: U.S. Readers' Interactions with Literature, 1800-1950, co-edited with Barbara Ryan, to be published this spring by the University of Tennessee Press; "There Is Nothing So Effective as a Personal Canvass': Revaluing Nineteenth-Century American Subscription Books," Book History 1 (1998): 140-55, and "Literature in Newsprint: Antebellum Family Newspapers and the Uses of Reading," in Reading Books: Essays on the Material Text and Literature in America, edited by Michele Moylan and Lane Stiles (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1996), 101-16. Amy's current work includes a contribution for volume 3 of A History of the Book in America to be published by the American Antiquarian Society and Cambridge University Press and a project on reconceptualizing Louisa May Alcott's writing and career in the context of her publishing history.

Members of the American Antiquarian Society staff will also present sessions during the seminar.

The general fee $650 includes tuition and admissions on the field trips, three lunches, and two dinners. (Overnight accommodations are not included in the general fee.) A limited amount of financial aid is available, but applicants requiring assistance should make every effort to locate sources within their own institutions.

A reading list will be sent to all matriculants upon the payment of their non-refundable deposit for the seminar.

Sessions will be held in the Society's air-conditioned facilities, Antiquarian Hall and the Goddard-Daniels House. These sessions will include discussion of shared readings, thematic exhibitions of library materials, and hands-on exercises using library materials. There will be field trips to nearby literary sites and other places in Worcester itself. Also included in the comprehensive fee are coffee breaks, lunches each day, and two dinners.

Overnight accommodations: Rooms have been reserved in two different venues to accommodate different tastes and needs for comfort. Both are within walking distance of the Society. A block of hotel rooms has been reserved in the Courtyard by Marriott at $119 per night, single or double. We will attempt to match up roommates, but cannot guarantee that this will be possible. A second block of rooms has been reserved in one of the dormitories at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Matriculants choosing WPI accommodations should be aware that these are student-grade rooms in a dormitory during vacation. Single or double accommodations are available; bathrooms are shared by the residents of the four rooms in each suite. Since sessions will be offered in the morning, afternoon, and some evening blocks, and because the collegial experience is an important aspect of the seminar, we suggest that all matriculants, including those who live within commuting distance of the Society, stay in Worcester. Room fees are not included in the general fee for the seminar quoted above.

Your registration packet will include a list of nearby restaurants for breakfasts and dinners.

Research in the library during the seminar is not advised because of the full schedule of activities during the seminar. The seminar will end in the morning on Thursday, June 13, and matriculants wishing to do personal research should plan to do so at the conclusion of the seminar.

Matriculants should plan to arrive in Worcester on Sunday, June 9. The program will begin late on Sunday afternoon with an introductory session, the opening reception and dinner. Those who will have attended the Berkshire Conference at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT, should plan on a one-hour drive to Worcester. Although there is no direct public transportation, we will make every effort to arrange for shared rides.

 

 

 


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