News 2009-2010

Matt Brown returns to lead Mellon seminar in early American book history

The UICB director will head up the "Early American Literature and Material Texts" workshop in Philadelphia from July 12 through July 16 for the second summer in a row. The weeklong seminar will bring together dissertators and recent Ph.D.s from across the country to share work in progress. Visiting faculty for the week include Meredith McGill (Rutgers) and Eric Slauter (Univ. of Chicago), with discussants Michael Winship (Texas), Hester Blum (Penn State), and Marcy Dinius (Delaware). Co-taught with Jim Green (head librarian at the LCP), the Mellon-funded workshop is part of a five-year program--awarded to the Library Company of Philadelphia and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania--which grants year-long fellowships to Ph.D. students working in book history and American letters, sponsors visiting lecturers throughout the year, and culminates in the intensive summer seminar.

Frost honored by the Guild of Book Workers

Gary Frost, Conservator, University of Iowa Libraries has been given the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2010 by the Guild of Book Workers. The Guild, founded in 1906, is focused on service to the hand bookbinding community. Frost joins other Awards recipients Bernard Middleton, Hedi Kyle, Don Etherington and Michael Wilcox. He is cited for contributions to conservation education and bookbinding studies. The Award will be presented at the Annual Meeting in Tucson, AZ in October. For more information about The Guild, go here.

UICB Faculty to install exhibit in Peru

Books of the Brave

Gary Frost will direct a two week project to install a comprehensive exhibit of the treasures of the Library of the Recoleta in Arequipa Peru. This education exhibit will depict the amazing story of historical libraries in this highland colonial city. Brought together over four centuries and across four oceans these books introduced European learning into equally complex indigenous culture and so advanced dynamics of empire still in motion in the Americas. The exhibit will also project legacies of book craft and book art that now suggest a lively future meaning for these collections.

The project team includes on-site cataloger and exhibit content author, Helen Ryan, on-site specialist bibliographer, Alvaro Meneses, UI Libraries conservator Gary Frost, assistant and support specialist, Joyce Miller and Center for the Book student Bill Voss.

Emily Martin to be featured speaker at the 2010 Seoul International Book Fair

Emily Martin will be a featured speaker at the Seoul International Book Fair 2010, May 12-16, 2010. She will be giving a lecture about Book Arts in America. For more information about the Seoul International Book Fair please click here.

UICB faculty member to give workshop at Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

UICB Instructor Timothy Barrett has been selected to give a workshop at Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The workshop entitled "Early Paper: Techniques and Transmissions" will be held on Friday February 12th from 2-5pm. Professor Barrett will be joined in this workshop by Boston College and Virginia Commonwealth University's Jonathan Bloom. For more information about this workshop please click here.

UICB instructor to read at The Joan Flasch Artists' Book Collection in Chicago, IL

UICB Instructor Emily Martin has been selected to be a reader at the Artist Book Reading at the Flasch Collection of the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. This is the second annual Artist Book Reading and is being held during the annual College Art Association conference. Emily will be reading a book from her flexagon series on February 13, 2010 at The Joan Flasch Artists' Book Collection in Chicago, IL.

The Print Alcove in the Main Library promotes the role of physical collections

This relaxing nook displays new print acquisitions and features the Zine Machine and the ornate Columbian Press. The Columbian (1843) has been donated to the Center for the Book by University of Iowa Alumni Annette and Don Knoepfler. This rare small size Columbian represents an early American contribution to world-wide printing technology. Loaded with ornate hubris of U.S. independence, it is well known for its dancing Eagle counter weight.

Gary Frost presents a workshop at the Library of Congress

Gary Frost traveled to the Library of Congress on October 15, 2009 to present a workshop for the preservation staff. The program included a lecture on structure and action in codex books and training in conservation of 18th century pamphlets. The pamphlet work featured recovering with flax paper made at the Center for the Book Oakdale Mill. Nineteen participants attended the all-day workshop.

UICB’s Tim Barrett receives 2009 MacArthur Fellowship

Tim Barrett has been named a 2009 MacArthur Fellow, one of 24 recipients of the annual award. The UICB’s Research Scientist and Adjunct Professor, Tim is both an internationally renowned papermaker and a visionary at the Center for the Book. The award gives recipients $500,000 over 5 years and frees them to pursue their craft, art, and research agenda. We are extraordinarily proud of Tim and congratulate him on this much deserved recognition. For more information about the award, click here. For the The New York Times article on the awards, click here.

Lee Marchalonis and Jessica White named Grabhorn Scholars

UICB student Lee Marchalonis and recent graduate Jessica White, were selected by the College Book Art Association as recipients of the prestigious Grabhorn Scholar award. The Grabhorn Institute was formed in 2000 in order to preserve and perpetuate the use of one of the last integrated typefoundry, letterpress printing, and bookbinding facilities and to guide it into the future. It is the owner of Arion Press, one of the nation’s leading publishers of fine-press books.

The inaugural group of ten traveled to San Francisco to be in residence at the Arion Press from August 10-14th. The students visited the M&H type foundry and letterpress shop, observed bindery operations on current projects, and attended presentations on various topics by the members of the press. In addition, visits were arranged to the Logan Collection of Artist Books at the Legion of Honor, Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, and Special Collections at the San Francisco Public Library.

Guild of Book Workers catalog designed by UICB faculty

The new Guild of Book Workers catalog for the traveling exhibition Marking Time was designed by UICB faculty Sara Sauers and Julie Leonard.

Marking Time will be at MCBA through August 15th and will then go to the San Francisco Public Library.
To order a catalog at the pre-publication price click here.

UICB director to lead inaugural Mellon Workshop on Book History

Matt Brown will direct the "Early American Literature and Material Texts" workshop in Philadelphia from July 20 through July 24. The weeklong seminar will bring together dissertators and recent Ph.D.s from across the country to share work in progress. Visiting faculty for the week include Patricia Crain (NYU), Michael Winship (Texas), and Matt Cohen (Duke). The Mellon-funded workshop is the first in a five-year program--awarded to the Library Company of Philadelphia and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania--which grants year-long fellowships to Ph.D. students working in book history and American letters, sponsors visiting lecturers throughout the year, and culminates in the intensive summer seminar.

UICB and Lucy Brank featured in Harper's Magazine, April 23

Rimbaud / Verlaine
Marine / Seascape

By Lucy Brank

In an recent article in Harper’s Magazine, the University of Iowa Center for the Book is lauded as one of several programs nationally where the art of handmade books is still taught. “UICB has been minting, of late, graduate students who go on to do beautiful work.” The work of Lucy Brank, UICB graduate, is highlighted in the article. Read the full story here.

UICB hosts Edible Book Fest

UICB Graduate students Jessica White, Heather Wetzel, Juli McLoone and Lee Marchelonis hosted the first annual Edible Book Fest at the Main Library on the UI campus. A great variety of work was entered ranging from sweet to savory, full of bookness all around.

Prizes were awarded for Best in Show, Best Literary Reference and Best Book Structure. Winning entries were Apple Tart Book by Erin Maurelli, for Best Literary Reference; Tibetan Pothi Book by Kristin Baum, for Best Structure; and The Thundering Herd Pop-Up Book by Duncan Stewart, for Best in Show. Many thanks to judges Julie Leonard, David Schoonover, and Judith Pascoe, and to all who participated.

Hats off to the organizers and here’s to the beginning of a new tradition for the Iowa City book and food community.

To see more images from the Festival, click here.

Mark Mattes awarded Stephen Botein Fellowship

UICB certificate student Mark Mattes recently won the 2009-2010 Stephen Botein Fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society (AAS). These fellowships are awarded for research in the history of the book in American culture.
In Mattes' project, "Letter Interception and Publication During the Era of Good Feelings," he looks at how legal systems and periodicals of the early nineteenth century helped Americans negotiate how epistolary communications engendered sociability and political union. Mordecai Manuel Noah, pictured on the left, is the key figure in his research.

UICB team returns to highland Peru in April

Convent of the Recoleta

UI Center for the Book team of Joyce Miller, Caitlin Moore and Gary Frost will return to highland Peru this April. The two week project will again focus on the 20,000 volume library of the Convent of the Recoleta, a Franciscan complex founded in 1648 in the colonial city of Arequipa. Activities will include reinstallation of exhibits and preparation of a book studies and book craft workshop and dormitory in the Recoleta that will be used by regional and exchange students. Identification of Peruvian, rather than imported, book making is among the research agendas. Enthusiasm for the UICB project was increased by a recent feature article in the journal Catholic Library World, March 2009.

Kamerick recipient of 2009 Teaching Award

Kathleen Kamerick, lecturer in history in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is one of four University of Iowa faculty members to be awarded the 2009 President and Provost Award For Teaching Excellence in recognition of their years of outstanding teaching.

Kamerick has taught in the Department of History since 1996. She regularly teaches the large general education survey course in Western Civilization, and has developed several colloquia and other courses focused on medieval studies. Her course “From Manuscript to Print” is an integral component of the UICB curriculum.

The award, which is administered by the UI Council on Teaching, was created in 2004 as a university-wide recognition for faculty members who have demonstrated a sustained, high level of teaching excellence.

UICB director runner-up in prestigious MLA First Book Prize

Matt Brown won special mention in the Modern Language Association’s prize for Best First Book. The award recognizes his 2007 work The Pilgrim and the Bee. For more information about the prize, follow this link.

Glen Epstein, 1940-2008
October 2008

The Center is saddened to report the death of calligrapher Glen Epstein, a founding member of the UICB in 1986. Glen died Monday, October 20th after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. An appreciation from the Iowa City Press Citizen of Glen and his storied life is available here. Our deepest sympathies go to Glen's family and friends.

A tribute to Kay Amert
September, 2008

Kay Amert, emeritus professor in the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication, founding member of the UI Center for the Book in 1986, and director of the UI Typography Laboratory from 1971 until her retirement last year, died Friday, September 5 at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City.

Kay was my teacher, mentor, and friend. I met her in 1997 as a UI Center for the Book student eager to enroll in her highly lauded typography class. I made it into that course, and subsequently took every class she offered on typographic history and practice, signing up as a graduate student under her guidance in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. From Kay I learned both the visual and historical aspects of typography – how to see fully a typeface and, understanding those letters, how to give life and shape to words and pages and books. Her archival work with printing history archives was extensive and she introduced students to works created by the printer/publishers who for centuries led the way including one of particular interest to her, 16th-century French typographer Simon de Colines.

By the time I was her student Kay was no longer teaching classes in the Typographic Laboratory, the technology of digital fonts having fully superseded hot metal type in journalism practice. But she generously became an informal advisor to me after a series of departures at the Center for the Book left me without a mentor and with the responsibility for producing a significant letterpress book. The technical expertise she shared during our conversations is what made it possible for me to complete the project.

There isn’t a day I teach that I don’t think about Kay and her wisdom and generosity in the classroom. She gently guided each student along in the typographic tradition they were drawn to. It is impossible to travel from Iowa City into the greater book studies and printing history community without being asked about Kay. In conversations with her former students, far-flung colleagues, and those who knew her only by her work, I always feel privileged anew to have been her student.

—Sara T. Sauers, Iowa City