Special Collections: Curating Rare Books and Manuscripts for Our Times Winter 2020

This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

What makes a library’s books and manuscripts worth saving? What should we collect, and how are those decisions made? Whose voices are missing? This course will examine the role of Special Collections in the 21st century, going behind the scenes of the Chapin Library and College Archives. We will first consider the library’s existing collections, focusing on what makes these books and manuscripts valuable — and not just in terms of their cost. We’ll consider how historical events are documented in primary sources, and how those documents can support teaching and research. We’ll also learn about the market for rare books and manuscripts and make a day trip to visit a bookseller and curators at a peer institution. For the final project, students will propose the acquisition of a new collection of books or manuscripts for the Chapin Library or the College Archives. We’ll spend the final week of class presenting to a curatorial panel, who will assess the proposals to purchase material 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. Ajunct Instructor Bio: Lisa Conathan is Head of Special Collections at Williams College, overseeing the Chapin Library of Rare Books and the College Archives. She holds a BA in Linguistics from Dartmouth College, a PhD in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Library Science from the University of Maryland.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 12
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: final project or presentation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: random, if course is oversubscribed
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses

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