2022 Summer Seminar in the History of the Book

Black Print, Black Activism, Black Study

Monday, July 25 - Friday, July 29, 2022


Required Materials

All readings will be made available to participants except for the following three books, which should be purchased:

  • Gabrielle Foreman, Jim Casey, Sarah Patterson, eds., The Colored Convention Movement: Black Organizing in the Nineteenth Century (University of North Carolina Press, 2021).
  • Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Iola Leroy; Or, Shadows Uplifted, ed. Koritha Mitchell (Broadview, 2018).
  • Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, eds. Frances Smith Foster & Richard Yarborough, 2nd edition (Norton, 2018).

Sunday, July 24: Introduction and Orientation

Welcome, introductions, and a tour of the library with Scott Casper (President, American Antiquarian Society), Kevin Wisniewski (Director of Book History and Digital Initiatives, AAS), Derrick Spires (Associate Professor of Literatures in English and affiliate faculty in American Studies, Visual Studies, and Media Studies at Cornell University), and Benjamin Fagan (Associate Professor of English at Auburn University). Antiquarian Hall (AH), 185 Salisbury Street.

6:00- 7:30
Reception and dinner at the Goddard Daniels House (GDH), 190 Salisbury Street

Monday July 25: Black Pamphlets

Introduction to AAS Online Resources and the Reading Room: Meet the Curators and Head of Reader Services. (AH)

Coffee/tea break (GDH)

The Groundwork Learning Lab in Antiquarian Hall (LL)

Required Readings:

  • Foster, “Interesting Narrative”
  • Foster, “Intimate Matters in This Place”
  • Foreman, “A Riff, A Call, A Response”

Suggested Readings:

  • Moody & Ramsby, “African American Print Cultures”
  • Porter, “Early Negro American Writings”
  • Sawallish & Seibert, “Trajectories in Black Atlantic Print Culture Studies”

Deep Dive: Black Pamphlets (LL)

Required Primary Readings:

Required Secondary Readings

  • Bassard, Spiritual Interrogations, Chapter 5
  • Dinius, “Look!! Look!!! At This!!!!”

Suggested Primary Readings

  • Allen, The Life, experience, and Gospel Labours
  • Elaw, Memoirs of the Life
  • Banneker, “Copy of a Letter...to the Secretary of State”

Suggested Secondary Readings

  • McHenry, Forgotten Readers, Chapter 1
  • Moody, Sentimental Confessions, Chapter 2
  • Newman, et. al., Pamphlets of Protest, Introduction
  • Freeman, Affairs of Honor, Chapter 3
  • Spires, Practice of Citizenship, Chapter 1

Lunch (GDH)

Introduction to the Catalog with Amy Tims (Cataloging Initiatives Librarian, AAS) (LL)

Primary Source Perusal (LL)

3:30 - 5:00
Nicole Aljoe (LL)

Suggested Secondary Reading:

  • Gardner. "The Complete Fortune Teller and Dream Book": An Antebellum Text "By Chloe Russel, a Woman of Colour." The New England Quarterly, Vol. 78, No. 2 (Jun., 2005), pp. 259-288

Dinner on your own

Tuesday July 26: Black Periodicals

9:00-10:30 Black Periodical Studies (LL)

Required Readings:

  • Ernest, Liberation Historiography, Chapter 5
  • Gardner, Black Print Unbound, Introduction
  • McHenry, Forgotten Readers, Chapter 2

Suggested Readings:

  • Bacon, Freedom’s Journal, Introduction
  • Gardner & Moody, “Black Periodical Studies”
  • “African American Newspapers Added to Chronicling America,” https://blogs.loc.gov/headlinesandheroes/2022/02/african-american-newspa...
  • Fagan, “Chronicling White America”
  • Casey, Jim. “‘We Need a Press–a Press of Our Own”: The Black Press beyond Abolition.” Civil War History, vol. 68, no. 2 (June 2022): 117-130
  • Fielder, Brigitte. "Recovery." American Periodicals: A Journal of History & Criticism, vol. 30 no. 1, 2020, p. 18-21. Project MUSE muse.jhu.edu/article/751770
  • Selected Issues: Weekly Anglo-African, Anglo-African
  • Just Teach One: Early African American Print, “Afric-American Picture Gallery” https://jtoaa.americanantiquarian.org/welcome-to-just-teach-one-african-...

Coffee/tea break (GDH)

The Anglo-Africans & Seriality (LL)

Required Primary:

Required Secondary:

  • Cole, “Theresa and Blake
  • Fagan, “The Fragments of Black Reconstruction”
  • Peterson, “Literary Transnationalism and Diasporic History”
  • Soderberg, “One More Time with Feeling”

Suggested Secondary:

  • Bilbija, “‘Dear Anglo’: Scrambling the Signs of Anglo-Modernity from New York to Lagos”
  • Chiles, “Writing Within and Without Raced Nations”
  • Foster, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like ‘Theresa’”
  • Spires, “Temporality and Form in the Early African American Serial Sketch Tradition”
  • Wilson, Ivy. “The Brief Wonderous Life of the Anglo-African Magazine”

Lunch (GDH)

1:30- 3:30
Presentation and Primary Source Perusal with Vincent Golden (Curator of Newspapers and Periodicals, AAS) (LL)

Kristin Moriah (LL)

Dinner on your own

Wednesday July 27: Black Books

9:00-10:30 Book History & Black Books (LL)

Required Readings:

  • History of Black Writing Novel Corpus | Textual Optics Lab
  • Goddu, “Slave Narrative as Material Text”
  • McGill, “Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and the Circuits of Abolitionist Poetry”
  • Pope, Black Self-Publishing, https://www.americanantiquarian.org/blackpublishing/
  • Roy, “Cheap Editions, Little Books, and Handsome Duodecimos: A Book History Approach to the Antebellum Slave Narratives”
  • Sinche, “The Walking Book”

Suggested Readings:

  • Brooks, “The Unfortunates: What the Life Spans of Early Black Books Tells Us About Book History”
  • Goddu, Selling Antislavery, Chapter 7
  • Jackson, “The Talking Book and the Talking Book Historian”

Coffee/tea break (GDH)

Scholarly Editing and Frances E.W. Harper (LL)

Required Readings:

  • Harper, Iola Leroy, ed. Koritha Mitchell
  • Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, eds. Frances Smith Foster and Richard Yarborough
  • Earhart, “An Editorial Turn”
  • Andrews, “Editing ‘Minority’ Texts”
  • Winship, “Early Publication History of Narrative of James Williams, an American Slave” (1838)


  • Yellin, Harriet Jacobs: A Life, Chapters 8-9
  • Foster, A Brighter Day Coming
  • Christy L. Pottroff, “Incommensurate Labors: The Work behind the Works of Harriet Jacobs and Walt Whitman”
  • Alex W Black, “‘A New Enterprise in Our History’: William Still, Conductor of The Underground Rail Road (1872)”

Lunch (GDH)

1:30- 3:30
Primary Source Perusal (LL)

3:30- 5:00
Elizabeth McHenry (LL)

5:00 Dinner on your own

Thursday July 28: Colored Conventions

9:00- 10:30
Institutional Infrastructures (LL)

Required Readings:

  • Foreman, “Black Organizing” (in Colored Conventions Movement)
  • Ball, “Performing Politics, Creating Community: Antebellum Black Conventions as Political Rituals” (in Colored Conventions Movement)
  • Burgher, “Recovering Black Women in the Colored Conventions Movement”
  • Williams-Forson, “Where Did They Eat? Where Did They Stay” (in Colored Conventions Movement)
  • Woo, “Deleted Name but Indelible Body” (in Colored Conventions Movement)

Coffee/tea break (GDH)

The Conventions (LL)

Required Readings:

  • Proceedings of the National Convention of Colored People and Their Friends; held in Troy, NY; on the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th of October, 1847
  • Minutes and address of the State Convention of the Colored Citizens of Ohio, convened at Columbus, January 10th, 11th, 12th, & 13th, 1849.
  • Proceedings of the Colored National Convention, held in Franklin Hall, Sixth Street, Below Arch, Philadelphia, October 16th, 17th and 18th, 1855.
  • Proceedings of the Convention of Colored People Held in Dover, Del., January 9, 1873.

Suggested Readings:

  • Minutes of the National Convention of Colored Citizens; Held at Buffalo; on the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th of August, 1843
  • Leavell, “Recirculating Black Militancy in Word and Image”

Lunch (GDH)

Group Photo and AAS Fellowship Opportunities (LL)

Primary Source Perusal (LL)

DH Roundtable (LL)

Suggested Reading:

Evening Picnic (GDH grounds)

Friday July 29: Research & Wrap-Up

9:00- 11:00
Independent Research

Coffee/tea break (GDH)

Closing Thoughts (LL)

Lunch (GDH)

2- 5pm
Research time on your own in the library and departure

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