2015 Summer Seminar in the History of the Book

Reading Children

Sunday, June 21 through Friday, June 26, 2015

Meeting Locations:
Goddard Daniels House (GDH)
Council Room (CR)
Antiquarian Hall (AH)

Schedule and Syllabus

[Please note: while we are not anticipating changes, we reserve the right to do so if necessary]

Sunday, June 21

4:30 pm Introductions, tour of the library, and overview of the collections (meet in the lobby of AH, at 185 Salisbury Street)
6:00 pm Drinks and dinner (GDH, 190 Salisbury Street)


Monday, June 16

9 - 10:30 am What are Children for? What are Books and Reading for? (GDH)
10:30 am Break
10:50 - 12:30 pm A Minor Book History: Where Are the Children? (CR)
  • Benjamin, Walter. “Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting.” In The Object Reader. Eds. Fiona Candlin and Raiford Guins. New York: Routledge, 2009. 257-262.
  • Darnton, Robert. “What is the History of Books—Revisited.” Modern Intellectual History, 4, 3 (2007), 495–508.
  • Sánchez-Eppler, Karen. “Childhood.” In Keywords for Children’s Literature. Eds. Philip Nel and Lissa Paul. New York: New York U P, 2011. 35-41.
12:30 pm Lunch
1:30 – 3:00 pm Library orientation; time for research and consultation (AH)
3:00 – 4:45 pm Hands-on archival session (CR, AH)
We will explore an array of artifacts that might work well as touchstones for the week [N.B.: You’re welcome to select other items from the collection; this session is just to give you a sense of the sorts of things that might be promising for these purposes]
  • Prown, Jules. “Mind in Matter: An Introduction to Material Culture Theory and Method,” Winterthur Portfolio (1982): 1-19.
  • Pearce, Susan. “Objects in Action,” in Museums, Objects and Collections: A Cultural Study. Washington: Smithsonian, 1992. 211- 227; 266-273.
  • Frost, Gary. “Reading by Hand: The haptic evaluation of artists’ books,”
5:00 – 5:30 pm End of day check-in (GDH)


Tuesday, June 23

9 – 10:30 am Learning to Read: the Child-Book Nexus (GDH)
“Theories and Methodologies: Children’s Literature.” In PMLA 126, 1 (January 2011)
  • Sánchez-Eppler, Karen. “Marks of Possession: Methods for an Impossible Subject,” 151–159.
  • Bernstein, Robin. “Children’s Books, Dolls, and the Performance of Race; or, The Possibility of Children’s Literature,”160–169.
  • Kidd, Kenneth. “Queer Theory’s Child and Children’s Literature Studies,” 182–188.
  • Gubar, Marah. “On Not Defining Children’s Literature,” 209–216.
10:30 am Break
10:50 – 12:30 pm Guest Lecture: Laura Wasowicz (GDH)
12:15 pm Lunch
1:30 – 3:00 pm Archival Workshop: Canons of Reading (CR)
  • Kaestle,Carl F. Literacy in the United States. New Haven: Yale UP, 1991), 3-72.
  • Bourdieu, Pierre. “Habitus and the Space of Life-Styles,” Distinction. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1984. 169-183.
  • Izard, Holly V. “Worcester Through a Child’s Eyes: The Diaries of Louisa Jane Trumbull, 1829-37.” PAAS 113, Part 2 (October 2003): 303-347.
  • “’L. J. Trumbull’s Book”: Louisa Jane Trumbull’s First Journal, November 3, 1829-May 20, 1834.” PAAS 113, Part 2 (October 2003): 349-476. (Browse)
  • Wasowicz, Laura. “A Reflection on Louisa Trumbull’s Book List.” PAAS 113, Part 2, Appendix 4 (October 2003): 477-491.
3:00 – 4:45 pm Time for Touchstone Research and Consultation (CR and AH)
5:00 – 5:30 pm End of day check-in (GDH)


Wednesday, June 24

9 – 10:30 am The Work of Childhood (GDH)
  • Zelizer, Viviana. Pricing the Priceless Child. New York: Basic Books, 1985, 3-55.
  • Kopytoff, Igor. “The Cultural Biography of things: commoditization as process,” in The Social Life of Things. Commodities in Cultural Perspectives. Ed. Arjun Appadurai. Philadelphia: U Pennsylvania P, 1986. 64-91.
  • Herndon Ruth Wallis and John E. Murray. Eds. Children Bound to Labor: The Pauper Apprentice System in Early America. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2009. 3-18.
10:30 am Break
10:50 – 12:30 pm Archival workshop: The Labor of Reading (CR)
12:30 pm Lunch
1:30 – 4:00 pm Archival workshop: Interactive Readers (CR)


  • Brown, Gillian. “The Metamorphic Book: Children’s Print Culture in the Eighteenth Century.” Eighteenth-Century Studies, 39:3, New Feminist Work in Epistemology and Aesthetics (Spring, 2006), 351-362.
  • Flint, Christopher. “Speaking Objects: The Circulation of Stories in Eighteenth-Century Prose Fiction Author(s),” PMLA, 113, 2 (1998): 212-226.
4:00 – 4:30 pm End of day check-in (CR)
4:30 – 8:00 pm Time for Touchstone Research


Thursday, June 25

9 – 10:30 am Readerly Subversions: Guest Scholar Anna Mae Duane (GDH)
  • Karen Kilcup and Angela Sorby, eds. Introduction, Over the River and Through the Wood : An Anthology of Nineteenth Century American Children's Poetry. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 2013.
  • Hodgson, Lucia. “Infant Muse: Phillis Wheatley and the Revolutionary Rhetoric of Childhood.” Early American Literature 49.3 (2014): 663-682.
  • The life and adventures of Olaudah Equiano; or Gustavus Vassa, the African. : From an account written by himself. Abridged by A. Mott. ; To which are added Some remarks on the slave trade, &c. New York: : Published by Samuel Wood & Sons, no. 261 Pearl-street. R. & G.S. Wood, printers., 1829.
10:30 am Break
10:50 – 12:30 pm Archival workshop: The Encoded Child
12:30 am Lunch
1:30 – 3:00 pm Time for research and consultation (AH)
3:00 – 4:45 pm Archival workshop: The Decoded Child (CR)
  • Bernstein, Robin. Racial Innocence. Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights. New York: New York UP, 2011. 1-29 , 69-91.
  • Stewart, Susan. “The Miniature,” On Longing. Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection. Durham: Duke UP, 1993. 37-69.
5:00 – 5:30 pm End of day check-in (GDH)
6:00 pm Cookout at the Goddard-Daniels House (weather permitting)


Friday, June 26

9 – 10:30 am Short presentations on our touchstones (GDH)
10:30 am Break
10:45 – 12:15 pm Closing thoughts and synthesis (GDH)
12:15 pm Lunch (boxed lunches—will be available to take with you)
All events will start at the Goddard-Daniels House, located at 190 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA, 01609. Parking is available across the street along Regent St. (next to the library building) or on Montvale Road.


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