Season’s Greetings and January News!

Season’s Greetings, WRBG members!

We are looking forward to a new year full of interesting programming and, at least for the next few months, gathering together online. We are grateful for your continued support over the past year, and we are looking forward to a time when we will return to in-person meetings, events, and tours.

As usual, the group will take a brief programming hiatus during the month of December, but our January event will be something a bit different:
the first WRBG Book Discussion!

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict

We will discuss The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray; a fictionalized story of Belle da Costa Greene, personal librarian to J.P. Morgan.

Publisher’s Description: A remarkable novel about J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white in order to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation, from New York Times bestselling authors Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray.

Greene was instrumental in establishing and developing the Morgan Library; she witnessed and participated in some of the most important book sales and auctions of the time, traveled the world seeking out new acquisitions, and earned the respect of the rare book world at a time when the field was dominated by men.

To provide additional context for our discussion, we will pair the novel with a scholarly article on Greene and three newspaper articles composed while Greene was still active:

  • Flaminia Gennari-Santori (2017) “This Feminine Scholar”: Belle da Costa Greene and the Shaping of J.P. Morgan’s Legacy, Visual Resources, 33:1-2, 182-197, DOI: 10.1080/01973762.2017.1276723
  • “The Morgan Library and Miss Greene: Retrospective Exhibition…” by Aline B. Louchheim. New York Times (1923- ); Apr 17, 1949.
  • “Spending J.P. Morgan’s Money for Rare Books.” New York Times (1857-1922); Apr 7, 1912
  • “J.P. Morgan’s Librarian Says High Book Prices are Harmful.” New York Times (1857-1922); Apr 30, 1911.

Please stay tuned for details (including pdfs of the supplementary readings) and a specific date and time for this event. In the meantime, we hope this gives you a good excuse to read something engaging over the holidays. We look forward to seeing you at this and future programs in the New Year.

Thank you for your support of our small but industrious group during this challenging time. If you have not, and are able, please pay your $30 annual, tax-deductible dues. You can renew your membership here: You can also send a check to: Washington Rare Book Group, P O Box 1387, Washington, DC 20013. If you cannot, we understand, and will keep you on our mailing list and continue to welcome you to all events.

If you are interested in making a tax-deductible gift that will have a positive effect on the future of bibliographic endeavors in our area, please consider donating to the WRBG scholarship fund. We award one full-tuition scholarship each year for a week-long class at Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. You can make your contribution here: We hope that this scholarship will continue to grow and provide exceptional experiences for the up-and-coming in the Rare Book World.

Covid-19 has had an effect on every aspect of our lives and we are all looking forward to brighter days ahead. We wish health and happiness for you and your families in the New Year, and we hope to see you soon.   

Amanda Zimmerman
President, WRBG

2021 Updike Prize for Student Type Design Awards Presentation and Talk!

Please join APHA New England virtually on Wednesday, December 8 at 7pm for the 2021 Updike Prize for Student Type Design Awards Presentation, including a virtual studio tour/talk, “Teaching All Types in a Library/Casting the Cherokee Syllabary,” by Dartmouth College Library’s Book Arts Workshop Program Manager Sarah M. Smith.

This program is a co-presentation of Providence Public Library and the American Printing History Association, New England Chapter (APHA New England).

The Updike Prize rewards student designers who integrate historical research into their practice. This year’s winners, Corrine Ang and Peter Nowell, were praised by our panel of judges for the creativity, sensitivity, and overall quality of their work, which will be showcased during presentation of the awards.

Following the presentation, join us for a virtual tour of Dartmouth College Library’s Book Arts Workshop with Program Manager, Sarah M. Smith. She’ll show us around the workshop and tell us about how she works with classes and students from a wide variety of disciplines on campus. Close attention will be paid to projects printed with the Cherokee Syllabary that the Book Arts Workshop acquired from type caster, Ed Rayher of Swamp Press. Sarah will give a bit of background to how Ed started casting the Cherokee Syllabary and how he creates molds from digital faces.

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required, please register at

See you soon,
Alice Beckwith, APHANE President
Jordan Goffin, APHANE Vice President        

WRBG is Invited!

To join our friends in the Chesapeake Chapter of APHA for a special event.

A Woman’s Type : Early Woman Type Designers in 20th Century Book History

Saturday, December 11 • 2 p.m.

APHA’s next Chapter program will be a talk on Zoom by Lauren Elle DeGaine, a M.A. student at the University of Victoria (British Columbia) on women type designers.

The talk will look at a number of woman type designers, and their impact on early 20th century typography and book design.

More details on this special program will be coming your way shortly. Save the date!

Call for Applications: CABS-Minnesota Diverse Voices Fellowship

CABS-Minnesota is now accepting applications for its Diverse Voices Fellowship. CABS-Minnesota is committed to diversity in the antiquarian and rare book trade. We believe that a diverse and inclusive trade will benefit both the trade and the cultural heritage community at large by expanding perspectives and by encouraging new collaborations. We recognize that many talented professionals do not see themselves reflected in the trade.

As one step toward centering non-dominant perspectives, CABS-Minnesota has established the Diverse Voices Fellowship to build a cohort of five fellows who have a strong interest in learning more about the antiquarian book trade and have found themselves isolated in or distanced from the trade by reason of race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and/or income. The fellowship will offer a program of professional and career development designed around fellows’ interests.

Fellowship Eligibility

An eligible applicant will: 

  • Identify as a person of color, LGBTQ+ person, person with disabilities, person from low-income background, woman, nonbinary person, and/or trans person. Applications from Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx, and other people of color are especially encouraged. 
  • Be an early- or mid-career bookseller, librarian, archivist, or museum professional; a private collector; a member of the book arts community; a graduate student in a relevant discipline; or another individual with a strong interest in learning more about and engaging with the antiquarian book trade.
  • Be a resident of the United States.

Though preference will be given to individuals who have never previously attended the CABS summer seminar on bookselling, CABS alumni who meet the above requirements are eligible to apply. 

Fellowship Activities

The CABS-Minnesota Diverse Voices Fellowship will include the following activities:

  • Fellows will begin the program by meeting one another and discussing their own background and their work with cultural heritage materials (as applicable) as part of a virtual meeting hosted by CABS-Minnesota’s Diversity, Equity & Outreach Committee. As part of the conversation, fellows will share their aspirations for engaging with members of the antiquarian book trade. 
  • Working closely with the Diverse Voices Fellows, CABS-Minnesota will design a custom, two-day program in New York City for May 2022 that will allow for an in-depth exploration of the trade. The program will be tailored around fellows’ interests and may include meeting local booksellers for a behind-the-scenes view of their work, attending a rare book auction, visiting private or institutional collections, and interacting with book artists or private press printers. Travel, housing, and meal costs will be covered by the fellowship. 
  • Fellows will attend the CABS seminar on bookselling, scheduled to occur in Minnesota from July 9 to 16, 2022, with the cost of tuition, travel, housing, and meals covered by the fellowship. A sample program from a previous CABS seminar can be found here:
  • CABS-Minnesota will facilitate opportunities for further networking and community-building among fellows and seminar alumni in virtual spaces, as well as at antiquarian book fairs. 
  • If applicable, for fellows who work with collections by or about diverse communities, there may be opportunities to engage in conversations about the practices of forming, promoting, and using such collections, including discussions about emerging ethical practices. 
  • Owing to the ever-evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, please note that in-person fellowship events are subject to change.

How to Apply

Submit the following materials by December 10, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST via this link: Fellowship decisions are expected to be announced in mid-January.

  • Application form 
  • A personal statement or essay (no longer than two pages, PDF preferred) addressing the following: 1) your experience in the world of antiquarian/rare books, archives, or related materials; 2) why you are interested in the fellowship and what you hope to gain from it; and 3) any professional aspirations you have with respect to bookselling and/or related cultural heritage professions (e.g., special collections librarianship, museum curation, book arts, etc.)
  • Resume (PDF preferred)
  • Contact information for a reference who is a member of the book trade; a library, archives, or museum professional; or another individual working with cultural heritage materials 
  • Acceptance of terms and conditions, including agreeing to submit documentation of COVID-19 vaccination if selected as a fellow and agreeing to wear a mask at indoors fellowship events 

If you have any questions about the fellowship or the application process, please contact Michele Wan at We will also hold office hours on Zoom to answer any questions you may have. Register for a session here:

The Antiquarian Book School Foundation (ABSF) is an independent, non-profit, and tax-exempt educational institution focused on promoting, maintaining, and expanding the standards of the antiquarian book trade. CABS-Minnesota, which is administered by the ABSF, is an annual week-long intensive seminar for booksellers, prospective booksellers, and others with an interest in the antiquarian and second-hand book market. For more on our programs and missions, visit our website at

Join the Lewis Carroll Society of America and Tune-In for: WCLD Radio Alice!

View the Full Schedule Here

Zoom in, sit back and relax as you hear academic authorities, Oxford experts and accomplished artists expound on all things Carrollian.

Your full day of programming is a trilogy of can’t-miss segments starting at 

Noon Eastern time/9:00AM Pacific time.

Zoom Webinar, no registration needed!

Your 2021 Fall Meeting PDF Program

Free Virtual Lecture on the Kelmscott Press

“The Whole Scheme of the Book:” William Morris and the Kelmscott Press. 

23rd June, 12:30 PM EST

Join Myron Groover (McMaster’s Archives and Rare Books Librarian) for an exploration of the works of the Kelmscott Press.

Established in 1891, the Kelmscott Press was the last great project of William Morris. Conceived as a deliberate return to the technologies and processes of an earlier era of printing, the Press brought together an astonishingly gifted community of artists and artisans in a self-conscious attempt to produce “the ideal book.” Its output — 53 books in total, each in a limited print run — represents a high point of aesthetic and philosophical attainment for the Arts and Crafts movement. The work of the Press went on to have a profound influence on both printing and the decorative arts, and its founding is traditionally considered the starting point for the small and fine press movement. 

McMaster is fortunate to hold several volumes from the Press — including a sumptuous copy of its masterpiece, the Kelmscott Chaucer. On June 23rd, in recognition of International Kelmscott Press Day, join Myron Groover (McMaster’s Archives and Rare Books Librarian) for an exploration of the Kelmscott Press, its historical and aesthetic context, and McMaster’s own collection of Kelmscott editions. 

Register using this link.
Please feel free to share this invitation with other interested parties.  

This lecture is part of our ongoing Archives Alive series. This series of public-facing talks about our collections is jointly hosted by the William Ready Division of Archives & Research Collections and McMaster University Alumni.  

Gillian Dunks, M.A., M.A.S. (she/her/hers)
Archives Arrangement & Description Librarian
Archives and Research Collections
McMaster University
905-525-9140 x 23361

McMaster University is located on the traditional territories of the Mississauga and Haudenosaunee nations, and within the lands protected by the Dish with One Spoon wampum agreement.

Of Possible Interest to WRBG Members & Friends

MAZES AND MAPS: An Exhibition Inspired by Digital and Analog Gaming

From across the land, an adventuring party of cartographers assemble at the entrance to Pyramid Atlantia.  Their quest is to fill the fabled Art Center’s corridors with maps of record, both literal and figurative.  Enter the Pyramid, and witness their odyssey!  Twists and turns abound from our heroes’ display of mazes inspired by digital and analog gaming.

For many of those who sheltered in isolation or in a small group this pandemic year, playing games has been a much needed source of entertainment and socialization. MAZES AND MAPS celebrates the importance of the game while putting focus on a particular aspect: cartography.

In this eight person exhibition, each artist has uniquely interpreted game maps through a balance of projection, labeling, and symbology. Some works are pure whimsy, but others are deeply reflective and socially acute.

Featuring work by:  John James Anderson, Irene Chan, Wesley Clark, Nick DeFord, Tim Hutchings, Zofie King, Casey Jex Smith, and Andrew Wodzianski

MAZES AND MAPS opens Saturday, May 29th online and in person. The first weekend’s in-person viewings are by appointment only. Starting June 2, the public is welcome during regular gallery hours without appointment. Admission is free and gallery hours are Wed – Thu, 10 – 8 pm; Fri – Sat, 10 – 6 pm; and Sunday 12 – 5pm. The exhibition runs through July 11, 2021.

Pyramid Atlantic is located at 4318 Gallatin Street, Hyattsville Maryland 20781. More info at or 301-608-9101.

Bookish Blog Post

From Photographer to Printmaker: Prokudin-Gorskii’s “artistic-photomechanical” illustrations for Gogol’s folk stories

By Barbara Dash

A descendant of Russian nobility, Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) established himself in the early 20th century as a pioneer in the development of color photography. It was his achievements and ingenuity in this field that attracted the support of the tsar, Nicholas II, for Prokudin-Gorskii’s proposed photographic survey of the vast Russian Empire. To aid the photographer’s journeys, the tsar provided a train, with a compartment outfitted for processing the photographs, a steamboat with a full crew, a motor boat, and a Ford Model-T equipped for rough mountain roads. During what would turn out to be the last years of the old Russian Empire, Prokudin-Gorskii produced what he described as natural and artistic photographs of the varied landscapes, architecture, and people of a world soon to be transformed by revolution and war.

Please visit the Library of Congress’ blog, 4 Corners of the World: International Collections to read this article by Rare Materials Cataloger, Barbara Dash.

WRBG Member Mark Samuels Lasner on the Biblio File podcast

$10 million gift to UD | UDaily

Mark Samuels Lasner is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Delaware Library, and one of the world’s great book collectors.

The Mark Samuels Lasner Collection focuses on British literature and art from 1850 to 1900, with an emphasis on the Pre-Raphaelites and writers and illustrators of the 1890s. It comprises more than 9,500 books, letters, manuscripts, photographs, ephemera, and artworks, including many items signed by such figures as Oscar Wilde, George Eliot, Max Beerbohm, William Morris, Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Aubrey Beardsley.

In this interview, Mark and Nigel connected via Zoom to talk about Mark’s childhood and his incipient interest in England and the late Victorian period, his early book collecting – the how and why of it – the extraordinarily talented and well dressed essayist, caricaturist, and critic Max Beerbohm; fun, friendships, favourite booksellers, fashion and much more.   

Listen to the interview here:

THE BIBLIO FILE is one of the world’s leading podcasts about “the book” and an inquiry into the wider world of book culture. Hosted by NIGEL BEALE it features wide ranging conversations with authors, poets, book publishers, booksellers, book editors, book collectors, book makers, book scholars, book critics, book designers, book publicists, literary agents and other best practitioners on Robert Darnton’s “communications circuit.”

FABS: Save the Date for Collectors’ Showcase

SUNDAY, JUNE 20 | 4:00 – 5:30 P.M. EDT

This summer, join the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS)
for a virtual Collectors’ Showcase that will bring you into distinguished
collections across the United States.

The free event, open to members of FABS affiliate societies, will be hosted via Zoom. A formal invitation with a roster of presenters will be distributed soon.

Attendance at the event will be limited to 300. If you would like to register for the event immediately, please send your name, the bibliophilic society/societies of which you are a member, and your email address to FABS Vice Chair Dr. Alexander L. Ames at We look forward to seeing you in June!