Books in American Lives, 1830-1890

Summer Seminar in the History of the Book
June 9-13, 2002
Louise L. Stevenson

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

This seminar is described in the July-November 2002 issue of The Book.

July/Nov. 2002 (58-57) Download the PDF

About the Faculty

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.

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