Rare Book School Five Courses 2017 in Charlottesville, VA and New York City, USA

Publish Date: Jul 07, 2017

Deadline: Jul 18, 2017

Applications for Fall 2017 Courses

Applications are now being accepted via my RBS for five Rare Book School courses offered this fall in Charlottesville, VA and New York City.

In Charlottesville, VA (22–27 October):

  • Introduction to the History of Bookbinding; taught by Jan Storm van Leeuwen.
  • Book Illustration Processes to 1900; taught by Terry Belanger.
  • The Handwriting & Culture of Early Modern English Manuscripts; taught by Heather Wolfe.

In New York City (29 October–3 November):

  • The Printed Book in the West since 1800; taught by Eric Holzenberg at the Grolier Club.
  • The Book of Hours, 1250–1550; taught by Roger S. Wieck at the Morgan Library & Museum.

Please log in to your myRBS account or create a new account to begin the application process.

Course applications are considered on a rolling basis until a course has reached enrollment capacity. To be considered for the first round of admissions decisions, submit your application(s) by 18 July. Applications for summer RBS courses are still being considered on a rolling basis; email rbsprograms@virginia.edu for information about course availability. 

Apply to RBS Courses

Create a myRBS Account

Course applications must be submitted through myRBS; please log in to your myRBS account or create a new account to begin the application process.If you have previously applied for or taken an RBS course, applied for a scholarship (other than the RBS-Mellon Fellowship), or given a charitable donation to RBS, myRBS will link your existing record to your account.As part of your course application, you will need to provide information about your education and employment history, and an emergency contact. A one-page personal statement (uploaded as a .doc or a .pdf file) is required for each course to which you apply. Your personal statement is the primary consideration for faculty when making admissions decisions.


Applications for summer and fall 2017 Rare Book School courses are now being considered on a rolling basis until a course has reached enrollment capacity. If you have questions about course availability, contact rbsprograms@virginia.edu. You will receive an email confirmation for each application you submit. When an admission decision has been made, you will also be notified via email. Please keep track of your application status using myRBS.

Confirming Your Attendance

Shortly after faculty members’ admission decisions have been made, you will receive an email notifying you that your admission status has been changed. You must make a decision to accept or decline admission using your myRBS account. To secure your place in a course, RBS must receive a non-refundable $250 deposit within two weeks of receiving the notification of course admission. The remaining tuition is due at least one month before the course start date. Please remember that most RBS classes are limited to twelve students, and that many courses have waiting lists.

Introduction to the History of Bookbinding

A bookbinding has two main functions. It protects its text block against wear and tear, and, by its structure, it makes a book out of a heap of otherwise separate leaves or quires. Through the ages, the covers, spine, fore-edge and other parts of the book have been decorated in almost every conceivable manner, technique, and material, thereby turning the binding into a work of decorative art. This introductory course focuses on the history of fine binding, but will also discuss the principal techniques and materials used in the West throughout binding’s long history. It is intended for those who wish to develop a better understanding of the history of the field; it is not a practical binding course. It is aimed at historians, special collections personnel, collectors, dealers, conservators and bookbinders, and others with an interest in the binding and its history.Special topics include: basic terminology; basic techniques and materials; decorated papers used in binding; the history of publishers’ bindings. The course will be conducted through a combination of PowerPoint presentations and the handling of physical objects, both from the holdings of Rare Book School and from the rich Special Collections of UVA.

Book Illustration Processes to 1900

The identification of illustration processes and techniques, including (but not only) woodcut, etching, engraving, stipple, aquatint, mezzotint, lithography, wood engraving, steel engraving, process line and halftone relief, collotype, photogravure, and color printing.Almost the sole medium of instruction in this course will be actual examples of original prints drawn from the extensive RBS collections, most of the former divided into individual packets all from the same (or a very similar) source, with one example for each student. Students will study the packets under close supervision, using 8X loupes and 30X microscopes (both provided), as necessary.The course will include laboratory sessions in which students will make and proof a relief cut, an etching, and a drypoint. No artistic talent is assumed or expected.In their personal statement, prospective applicants should describe the extent of their formal and/or informal background in the field.

The Handwriting & Culture of Early Modern English Manuscripts

This course provides an intensive introduction to handwriting in early modern England, with a particular emphasis on English secretary hand. Working from digital images, color photocopies, and manuscripts, participants will be trained in the accurate reading and transcription of secretary, italic, and mixed hands. Participants are requested to bring laptops if possible. We will also experiment with contemporary writing materials (quills, iron gall ink, and paper), learn the terminology for describing and comparing letterforms, decipher abbreviations, numbers, and dates, and discuss the important and evolving role of handwritten documents within a wider context of print, manuscript, and oral cultures. By the end of the week, each participant will create a “mini-edition” of a manuscript.

The Printed Book in the West since 1800

This course will survey the technological advances in papermaking, illustration processes, composition, printing, binding, and distribution which fueled the development of the modern book industry. It will also give an overview of those phenomena—William Morris and the modern fine press movement, artists’ books, the rise of book-clubs and organized bibliophily—which have arisen to balance this industrialization. The class will make extensive use of books and periodicals embodying the advance of printing in the West since 1800, as well as the plates, tools and other artifacts that enabled that advance. This course concludes the RBS sequence of history of the book courses beginning with The Book in the Manuscript Era (H-20) and continuing with The Printed Book in the West to 1800 (H-30).

The Book of Hours, 1250–1550

This seminar focuses on the Book of Hours—the medieval “bestseller”—popular for three hundred years, from the mid-thirteenth to the mid-sixteenth century. The course will consider both the textual and pictorial contents of horae. Textual concerns include the range and variety of prayers within the typical manuscript.  Students will learn how to determine a book’s usage, including the localization of its calendar. Because the Book of Hours is also important for the history of art, variations in artistic styles will also be a major concern (concentrating on French and Flemish illumination from the late fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries). The phenomenon of printed horaewill also be introduced.

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

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