This list is in progress and changeable. It is also in no special order. Most resources to which it provides links require a graphical browser to be best utilized.

For starters, this link takes you to a very basic Book History Timetable, part of the Book Information Website now maintained by Cor Knops; another site looks specifically at renaissance printing history.

General introductory information about Your Old Books comes from a text originally written by the late Peter M. VanWingen (The Library of Congress) for people who (unexpectedly and without preparation) find themselves in possession of what appear to be old and unusual books and related materials.


The History of Libraries in the United States -- the link takes you to the program and registration information for a conference to be held at the Radisson Plaza–Warwick Hotel, 1701 Locust Street, in Philadelphia, April 11-13, 2002.

This link takes you to information about, and the current schedule of, Philadelphia's book collectors' club, The Philobiblon Club, a group of which Traister is currently Program Chair.

This is the current schedule for Penn's Workshop on the History of the Book (also called the Workshop on the History of Material Texts).

Here is the website for the Washington Area Group for Print Culture Studies.

Here is a National Public Radio report on the implications of digitizing the Library of Congress copy of the Gutenberg Bible: Gutenberg Bible Goes Digital: High-Tech Photos of Library of Congress Copy Allow Web Scrutiny

Miscellaneous materials of interest include:

  1. James A. Dewar, "The Information Age and the Printing Press: Looking Backward to See Ahead" (RAND)

  2. Michael Winship (Department of English, University of Texas at Austin) accepted an award from the American Printing History Association (APHA) at the end of January 1997 with brief reflections on the nature of book history (reproduced here by courtesy of Professor Winship).

  3. Michael Rosenthal, a San Francisco bookseller, has posted a brief essay on the Futures and Histories of the Book. He also posts Molly Weatherfield's Pornography (in Theory--and History).

  4. HoBo: The site formerly known as History of the Book @ Oxford. This site includes includes The Unofficial D. F. McKenzie Home Page, the equivalent of an internet "fanzine" for one of the great bibliographical scholars of our time.

  5. The William Morris Home Page and The William Morris Society.

  6. A Shakespearian discovers connections between WS's punning and "the new bibliography".

  7. A listing of some recommended readings on the profession of authorship.

  8. A summary of the University of Michigan Iconic Page Conference (October 11 and 12, 1996) has been posted.

  9. Preservation in a Digital Age (Jack Kessler's provisional bibliography)

  10. Frederick S. Lane III, Obscene Profits: Becoming a Pornographer in the 21st Century (outline of a work-in-progress)

  11. JPHS seeks contributions (and the PHS also seeks members)

  12. David Clayton Phillips, "Art for Industry's Sake: Halftone Technology, Mass Photography and the Social Transformation of American Print Culture, 1880-1920", a dissertation written at Yale University.

Some more or less recent book reviews include:

  1. Traister's review of Ronald J. Zboray and Mary Saracino Zbvoray, A Handbook for the Study of Book History in the United States (2000)

  2. D. Graham Burnett, rev. of Adrian Johns, The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998)

  3. Text (a bibliographical periodical which has begun to make its reviews available online); see also its associated Society for Textual Scholarship website

  4. James O'Donnell reviews Richard A. Lanham, The Electronic Word; William O'Donnell reviews the same book.

  5. James O'Donnell reviews Brian Stock, Augustine the Reader; Mark Vessey reviews the same book.

  6. Nicola F. McDonald reviews Seth Lerer, Chaucer and His Readers

  7. Laura L. Howes reviews Women and Literature in Britain, 1150-1500, ed. Carol M. Meale

  8. Stephen Stallcup reviews Steven Justice, Writing and Rebellion: England in 1381

  9. Susan R. Boettcher reviews of Mark U. Edwards, Printing, Propaganda and Martin Luther

  10. Tom Davis reviews David Vander Meulen's history and facsimile of Pope's Dunciad (this review contains a considerable amount of thought about what special collections are for)

  11. Richard R. John reviews Rosalind Remer's Printers and Men of Capital: Philadelphia Book Publishers in the New Republic; Philip Scranton reviews the same book

  12. a review of a new edition of Michael H. Harris's history of libraries


Willie Sutton thought banks a good place to visit if you happened to be interested in money. The same line of reasoning suggests that libraries -- e.g., Penn's library, as well as some of the other libraries and library resources that Traister lists -- are good places in which to look for books and other evidences of the history of printing. This means going physically to literal libraries as well as eyeballing virtual ones on the screen (although the latter category [virtual libraries, their exhibitions -- the link takes you to Smithsonian's site, Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web -- contents, and special resources] is growing by leaps and bounds even as Traister types and revises these evanescent electron-like words; see, e.g., a site announced in March of 1998, Early Printed Collections: British Library Reader Services and Collection Development).

Another useful source is the Home Page of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, & Publishing (SHARP), which provides access to many book-history sites, and whose SHARP-L archives are searchable back through 1992 at .

See also The Reading Experience Database (RED) (Open University)

See, in addition, such sites as:

For the history of libraries, see Library History (PICK Quality Internet Rersources); see also the site created by the Library Association (UK)'s Library History Group. A Swedish site (with some material in English) has been mounted by The Library Museum in Boraas, Sweden.


"Treasures from Europe's National Libraries" is a web-based exhibition now accessible from several servers:

Brown University mounts an Interpreting Ancient Manuscripts Web.

The University of Pennsylvania Libraries hold microfilms of European manuscripts; a list is available through the Library's website.

A French site for the study of paleography, complete with exams, was originally divided in two: here is the first. The second part (orinally located at, a site that has now shut down for financial reasons) may be sought through Stephane Pouyllau's website and through his principal paleography page.

Shirlee A. Murphy has mounted a Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscript Facsimiles at the Michigan State University Libraries (my italics--DT). (Michigan State University, located in East Lansing, is a different place from the University of Michigan, located in Ann Arbor--a point worth remarking, as someone might notice who is located at Penn, not Penn State.)

Summary of a conference on the encoding of descriptions for medieval manuscripts (2-3 November 1996, Studley Priory, Oxfordshire, chaired by Peter Robinson and Hope Mayo)

  1. For images of manuscript and printed materials, see, e.g.:

  2. DSCRIPTORIUM (a database of images from medieval manuscripts housed at various locations)

  3. Thomas Kinsella's exemplary description of the binding of Penn MS. Latin 13

  4. Association for the Recording and Reconstruction of Historical Bookbindings (Andreas Wittenberg, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, et alii)

  5. Printing: Renaissance and Reformation (Rare Books and Special Collections Department, University of South Carolina)

  6. An Unofficial Index to the Schwenke-Sammlung: or, A Finding Aid to Ilse Schunke's Die Schwenke-Sammlung Gotischer Stemple und Einband Durchreibungen (East Berlin, 1979)

  7. ALA's Library History Roundtable, with a link to resources in library history

  8. Bibliotheca Canadiana: A Historical Survey of Canadian Bibliography (a McGill University Library exhibition)

  9. J. P. McCarthy, "In Search of Cork's Collecting Traditions: Kilcrea's Library to the Boole Library of Today", an article on some of the origins of the library at University College, Cork (Republic of Ireland)

  10. Recent Studies of 18th-Century Book Culture (James E. May, The Pennsylvania State University)

  11. Aspects of the Victorian Book (an online exhibition by Elizabeth James, The British Library)

  12. The Watermark Archive (incorporating The University of Delaware Library Thomas L. Gravell Watermark Collection) of Thomas L. Gravell

  13. Le filigrane degli archivi genovesi

  14. The Watermark Archive of Robert W. Allison, Bates College

  15. David Gants, A Digital Catalogue of Watermarks and Type Ornaments Used by William Stansby in the Printing of the Workes of Benjamin Johnson (London 1616)

  16. Erle Randall's Electronic Pictorial Index for Provenance Research in Book History

  17. William S. Peterson's Modern Fine Printing Page

  18. The Mosher Press (Philip R. Bishop and Millersville University, Pennsylvania)

  19. Book Industry Study Group, which has now made available a Guide to Book Publishers' Archives

  20. Street & Smith Archives Preservation and Access Project (Syracuse University Library)

  21. David Schlater's book arts pages

  22. Map History / History of Cartography

  23. J. Hewit & Sons., Ltd. (a commercial site; Hewit is in the binding leathers business; its site includes a "potted history" of the company)

  24. The Illustrated Book, 1780-1830: Selected from the Collection of Harris N. Hollin (a University of Pennsylvania online exhibition)

  25. Literary Generations and Social Authority: A Study of American Prose-Fiction Debut Writers, 1940–2000: Research Project (Bo G. Ekelund and Mattias Bolkéus Blom, The Swedish Institute for North American Studies, Uppsala University)

  26. Color Printing in the Nineteenth Century (a University of Delaware online exhibition)

  27. Paperback Cover Art Illustrators

  28. Women and texts / Les femmes et les textes: A celebratory exhibit at the University of Leeds, 1997 (exhibition curated by Special Collections, University of Calgary Library)

  29. Mixing Messages (from Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt Museum, NYC: an exhibition on modern graphic design)

  30. Science and the Artist's Book

  31. The Structure of the Virtual Book

  32. The POP-UP World of Ann Montanaro, a Rutgers University Library exhibition (May 1996) of pop-up books, including materials on their history and links to related sites


Numerous additional sources of information about books and their history can be found on the web. These include, in addition to Traister's own links to libraries and book sources (i.e., for purchase), a variety of institutionally- and personally-maintained pages, among them:


Traister has, singly and (with Michael Ryan) jointly, taught several versions of courses on the History of Books and Printing:

  1. One concentrates on the hand-press period and is directed at graduate students -- Fall 1989

  2. It has an analogue directed at undergraduates -- Fall 1996

  3. Another concentrates on the machine press period and is directed at undergraduates; its Spring 1997 version looks like this

  4. A fourth is called "Topics in the History of Books and Printing" -- here are its Spring 1995 and its Spring 2000 iterations -- is directed mainly at graduate students and concentrates on the hand-press period.
  5. Some "special topics" -- subsets -- of this general interest include:

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