Revolution in Books Institute Is a Unique Window into History of American Book Printing

FAU libraries welcome scholars from all over the country to The Revolution in Books, a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for Higher Education Faculty. 

The interdisciplinary Institute welcomes sixteen academics, librarians, and book artists who will spend three weeks learning about the history of the book during the American Revolution. They will also receive hands-on experience in papermaking, typesetting, and bookbinding and create their own books using the presses housed in the Jaffe Center for Book Arts.

The Institute is a collaboration between co-directors Dr. Adrian Finucane of the Department of History and Victoria Thur of Special Collections in the FAU Libraries. The Revolution in Books has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Scholars will be able to engage with the Library’s large collection of Revolutionary-era pamphlets and books from The Marvin and Sybil Weiner Spirit of America Collection

Victoria Thur mentioned this is the first time the library has been part of an NEH grant, and the staff is excited to showcase the collection to a broader audience. The only one of its kind in the Southeast United States, FAU’s Spirit of America Collection has over 13,000 books, pamphlets, government publications, newspapers, and serials, including rare works from as early as the 16th century. 

Dr. Adrian Finucane said the Institute combines the historical study of rare books and their printers with hands-on experience in printing and binding manuscripts.

“The scholars will hear from experts in the history of print and the revolution and get direct experience working with rare books. This practice will provide a deep understanding of the book not only as a collection of text but also as a historical object produced by the labor of a diverse group of Americans who were key actors in the history of the United States,” she explained.

The goal of the Institute is to encourage participants to create new tools and develop ideas to bring their new skills into the classroom.

The in-person session, held June 6-24, is followed by an online conference on August 4-5. 

Last modified at 06/10/2022 - 10:59 AM