The Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia reached its fiftieth anniversary in 1997, and this volume commemorates the occasion by recording the Society's history over that half-century. The years between the end of World War II and the end of the twentieth century form a distinct period in the development of the field of bibliographical scholarship, in part because of the Society's presence. In making available the information assembled here, the Society hopes to facilitate study of this half-century. The essays included also begin that process by offering an initial assessment of the Society's role.
The bulk of this book comprises the first four contributions to the fiftieth volume of Studies in Bibliography, the Society's annual publication; a history of the Society by David L. Vander Meulen, the editor of Studies; a complete checklist of the Society's publications (now amounting to some 175 items), also by Vander Meulen; a history of Studies in Bibliography by G. Thomas Tanselle; and an author index to the fifty volumes of Studies (containing some 13,700 pages of articles) by David L. Gants and Elizabeth K. Lynch. To these are now added the text of William B. Todd's entertaining and informative anniversary address; an appendix consisting of Vander Meulen and Lynch's compilations of the Society's officers, Councilors, Contributing Members, programs, and winners of the Society's contests for student book collectors and for printers; and an index (remarkable for the number of names of twentieth-century book-world figures that it contains).
The essays document the development of a local group of book lovers into a scholarly society with an international membership and influence. Under the guidance of literature professor and bibliographer Fredson Bowers, collector Linton R. Massey, and scholar-librarian John Cook Wyllie, the organization grew rapidly. Among the early accomplishments was the establishment of a journal edited by Bowers, Studies in Bibliography, which (as a British commentator observed) "sprang into being full-grown and fully armed, like Minerva from the head of Jupiter, whose thunderbolts she wielded from time to time." This book chronicles how through its pre-eminent journal and other publications the Society made "Virginia" an international codeword for the analysis of books as physical objects, the study of the transmission of texts, and the preparation of scholarly editions.
As part of the Society's anniversary activities, Professor William B. Todd, Kerr Centennial Professor Emeritus of English History and Culture at the University of Texas in Austin, addressed the fiftieth annual meeting of the Society. In the address now printed for the first time, Professor Todd, whose own career in bibliography spans the history of the Society, spoke on "Early Encounters with Fredson Bowers." His poignant autobiographical reflections make a notable contribution to filling in the post-World War II history of bibliography.
This attractive volume has been set in Linotype and printed letterpress by Heritage Printers, Charlotte, North Carolina.
"A History of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia: The First Fifty Years" by David L. Vander Meulen
"Publications of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 1947-1997" by David L. Vander Meulen
"A History of Studies in Bibliography: The First Fifty Volumes" by G. Thomas Tanselle
"Author Index to Studies in Bibliography, Volumes 1-50" by David L. Gants and Elizabeth K Lynch
"Early Encounters with Fredson Bowers" by William B. Todd
David L. Vander Meulen is Professor of English at the University of Virginia and editor of Studies in Bibliography. He has published widely on Pope and on descriptive and analytical bibliography. Among his publications are Where Angels Fear to Tread: Descriptive Bibliography and Alexander Pope (1988) and Pope's DUNCIAD of 1728: A History and Facsimile (1991).