New(ish) and Rare: Special Collections in the 20th century Winter 2019

This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

What makes relatively recent books and manuscripts worth preserving? Whose voices are missing from the library’s collections? Students in this course will explore the market for 20th-century rare books and manuscripts and recommend items for Special Collections to purchase. We will spend our first two weeks exploring the library’s existing collections of 20th-century Americana, focusing on what makes these books and manuscripts valuable–not just in terms of their cost but their usefulness in supporting teaching and student research. We’ll explore the market for antiquarian books, and we’ll consider how social movements and historical events including second-wave feminism, workers’ strikes, and the civil rights era are documented in primary sources. Outside of class, students will spend additional hands-on time with rare materials in the Special Collections reading room. Students will also search printed and online catalogs from booksellers who specialize in 20th-century material to look for potential additions to our collections. Given a theoretical budget of $1000, each student will assemble a proposal to acquire a new collection of books and manuscripts for the Chapin Library or the College Archives. We’ll spend the final week of class presenting these proposals to the Chapin Librarian, who will approve a selection of items to purchase for our collections. Adjunct Instructor Bio: Anne Peale, Special Collections Librarian at Williams, graduated from Dartmouth College and studied Material Cultures and Book History at the University of Edinburgh; she recently completed her PhD in Historical Geography.
The Class: Format: afternoons
Limit: 12
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: final collection development proposal/report justifying rationale for acquisition of rare books and manuscripts
Prerequisites: none
Materials/Lab Fee: $0
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses

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