H-15: History of the Book in America
5-9 June 2006
1) How useful were the pre-course readings?
1: Useful, but not necessary as the structure of the course was more lecture than seminar. 2: Pretty useful. 3: Very. 4: Useful, although sometimes [illegible- HP] 5: Useful- the list of suggested titles was quite extensive and allowed students to pursue further interests. 6: Pre-course readings were very useful. 7: Very useful, perhaps essential. 8: The pre-course readings were particularly valuable. Lehmann-Hevpt was a good standard text, and the Perspectives on America Book History was – for a textbook style work – very engaging. 9: Pre-course readings were very good, but I was unable to obtain some and did not have time to read as many as I would have liked.
2) Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?
1: Yes. 2: Yes – I will use the list of books handed out. 3: Yes. 4: Helpful short bibliographies. 5: Yes – Reading/Booklists were particularly useful. 6: Yes, although MW mentioned other books that did not appear on the lists provided -- it might be good to include some of them as well. 7: Useful. 8: Yes. Glad to have the bibliography of recent books in the area -- but a longer list of works would also have been welcome. 9: Yes.
3) What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?
1: Understanding modern printing process and the book trade. 2: The colonial book/yes. 3: I enjoyed the information on the 19th century. I found it really helpful in filling in gaps in my own knowledge. Yes, it was plenty intellectual. 4: Theoretical-“historographical” version useful to amass my own [illegible] collections. More discussion or debate would have improved intellectual level. 5: I was very interested to learn about technological development in books and printing. I had virtually no knowledge before this class, but now I feel confident in my basic group of concepts. Material was challenging but not headache inducing. 6: Intellectual level appropriate, although it would have been nice to talk more about libraries within the US Book Trade. 7: Additional readings and resources mentioned in class will be helpful. 9: Of greatest interest: suggested items, ways of thinking, much of the faster material read ok but sometimes too much like graduate school.
4) If your course had field trips (including visits to the Dome Room, the McGregor Room, the hand printing presses in the Stettinius Gallery, the Etext Center, UVa’s Albert and Shirley Small Library, RBS’s Lower Tibet, &c.), were they effective?
1: Yes. 2: Yes. 3: Yes. 4: Valuable experience. 5: Yes! 6: Yes. 7: Well spent and well organized. 8: I very much enjoyed the visits to Special Collections. The use of RBS materials within the classroom was also good. 9: Yes.
5) What did you like best about the course?
1: The thematic approach (nested within rough chronology). It was more issue-based...I like that. 2: The discussion and anecdotes. 3: The open nature of the course. It’s great to be able to openly converse about a subject without having to adhere to boundaries -- MW’s open afternoon 4th period made this possible. 4: [Illegible-HP] 5: I was very impressed with the breadth and depth of the instructor’s knowledge. His stories and anecdotes were fascinating. 6: Very informative -- I have pages of notes! 7: The fact that it is available. Specialized classes, are in other fields, difficult to identify. 8: MW is a wonderful source of information about the History of the Book in America -- especially the 19th century. A pleasure to listen to. 9: Suggested ideas -- reading recommendations.
6) How could the course have been improved?
1: More direct engagement with arguments set forth in readings. 2: Not sure. 3: Perhaps some hands-on activities? Dating paper, examining, collating? Something to get people up and talking. 4: More student interaction, encouragement, of questions and talents. 5: Move through introductory materials faster. Each day of class was increasingly more interesting in terms of content. 6: It would be helpful if MW encouraged more class discussion although class time was set aside for discussion; MW often did not allow students to develop a discussion very far and instead lectured more. This felt more like a lecture course than a discussion seminar, which, given the variety of perspectives in the room, might also have been beneficial. 7: Not aware of any improvements. 8: Perhaps by drawing a little more on the experiences and knowledge of the class members.
7) We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa’s Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?
1: To be honest... I thought we should have been able to handle some of the materials. 2: The method of handling seems reasonable. I would think they should be rotated periodically. 3: N/A. 4: Very little hands-on handling. 6: None. 7: Not aware of any improvements. 9: Seems fine to me.
8) If you attended the Sunday and/or Monday night lectures, were they worth attending?
1: Yes. 2: Yes, both. 3: Yes. 4: Monday-attended- yes. 5: Yes, I especially enjoyed the slide lecture on Tuesday. 6: Yes. Entertaining. 7: Attended. They were worthwhile, as was the Tuesday night lecture. 9: Yes.
9) If you attended evening activities, was the time profitably spent?
1-8: N/A. 9: Definitely
10) Did you get your money’s worth? Any final thoughts?
1: Yes, very much so. I hope to return next year. 2: Yes. I feel it’s my responsibility to learn as much as possible about the materials in my care. 3: I didn’t pay, but if I had, it would have been money well spent. This week has been exceptional. 4: Plenty of classroom/lecture time for the money. 5: Yes! Thank you! I would recommend RBS to friends and colleagues without hesitation. 6: Don’t expect too much discussion in this course -- it’s more of an introductory lecture survey, even though syllabus claims to have significant discussion time set aside. Doing the reading is very worthwhile. Overall a good course. 7: To others considering the course -- take it. Definitely got my money’s worth. Be ready for a very full week. 8: Yes. 9: Perhaps covered too much too quickly with too little structure -- but it is an introduction. All in all, a good cover.
Number of respondents: 9
Leave Tuition Housing Travel
Institution Institution Institution Institution
gave me leave paid tuition paid housing paid travel
44% 33% 44% 47%
I took vaca- I paid tui- I paid for my I paid my own
tion time tion myself own housing travel
11% 0% 44% 42%
N/A: self- N/A: Self- N/A: stayed N/A: lived
employed, re- employed, with friends nearby
tired, or had retired, or or lived at
summers off scholarship home
44% 67% 11% 11%
There were 3 rare book librarians (33%), 2 general librarians with some rare book duties (22%), and 4 full-time students (44%).