Texas Tech University

Resources in Book History

The resources available to students in book history at Texas Tech are exceptionally fine.

Library Resources

The resources of our Special Collections library--from Rare Books and the Southwest Collection to the Vietnam Archive--are available as a support to research and teaching in Book History. Texas Tech owns important manuscripts such as the two volumes of the Dalhousie Manuscript, important to Donne and English Renaissance studies; the Weiselberg Collection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century literary and historical manuscripts; nineteenth-century album books, and other valuable items such as the diary of the first American woman POW in the European theatre during WWII.

Our print collections include seventeenth-century Italian printed books, valuable for the study of descriptive bibliography; early modern classical texts; around 4000 eighteenth- to twentieth-century Spanish plays; a strong collection of vaudeville prompt books; contemporary artist books; and a range of print ephemera, etc. Our collection of period bindings ranges from the fifteenth-century through the twenty-first century and is particularly strong on nineteenth-century imprints, particularly for illustrated books and gift books.

The main library provides strong holdings for book history research. The Library offers full or near complete runs of a number of journals important to the study of book history topics including, but not limited to, the following: Book History; Publishing History; Journal of Library History; Book Collector; Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America; Studies in Bibliography; Journalism History; Libraries and the Cultural Record; Library Quarterly; Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society; Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarianship; and a partial run of Victorian Periodicals Review.

The main library also has a strong collection of books devoted to all areas of book history, manuscript culture and illumination: more than 100 books on bookbinding and book binders; dozens of books on book industries and trades; book ornamentation; publishers and publishing; scholarly publishing; editorial theory and textual criticism; manuscript editing; marginalia; etc.

In addition, the Library owns most of the reels of the texts listed in the English Short-Title Catalogue, and we subscribe to a number of databases that provide full text of primary materials such as Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO), Literature Online (LION), American Drama 1714-1915, American Poetry, Early American Fiction, 1789-1875, Early English Prose Fiction, among others. In the nineteenth-century, we own the full run of the Nineteenth-century Short Title Catalogue as well as all the major indexes including the electronic C19 database which aggregates the Wellesley, Palmer's, and Poole's indexes through a single interface. We also have strong holdings of eighteenth and nineteenth-century American and British periodicals, both in print and in microfilm.

Both the library and Rare Books/Special Collections is committed to purchasing resources for study in book history. Recently we added to main library collection a number of the digital editions available from the Canterbury Tales Project as well as facsimiles of the St. John's Bible. Rare Books recently purchased a number of high-quality facsimiles of important medieval and renaissance manuscript books, such as the Folger Library's 1608 Trevelyon Miscellany.

Teaching Resources

At Rare Books/Special Collections. Ann Hawkins and Bruce Cammack (associate librarian for rare books) have received two grants totalling $30,000 from the Helen Jones Foundation to develop a book history resources for teaching at TTU and on the South Plains. That funding allowed Rare Books to purchase a number of teaching tools which can be available for use with students, such as a set of model books, illustrating different types of book binding across the ages, and other facsimiles. In addition, the Special Collections library owns a number of videos and DVDs related to various areas of book history, which are available for classroom use and individual study.

In the Department of English. The department itself owns a number of teaching tools; for example, we own seven copies of a facsimile of an early American imprint, hand-printed by the press at Colonial Williamsburg: these copies are useful for showing students elements of book construction (sewing, gatherings, etc) as well as conventions of publication (signature marks, running heads, colophons, etc). We also own two programs on DVD which overview the construction of books prior to the machine age. Individual faculty have strong collections of teaching resources--which they share with colleagues to use in class--such as a page of linotype from the last book commercially printed in the US, an example of case binding and 4 signatures (uncut and unsewn) that accompany it; as well as a DVD illustrating the practices of manuscript illumination used in the St. John's Bible project.

Editing and Publishing Opportunities

The department supports several journals--32 Poems, Eighteenth-century Interpretation and Theory, Iron Horse Literary Review, and Technical Communication Quarterly, --which may provide venues for research in publishing or student internships.

Of related interest, the department offers a graduate certificate in Editing and Publishing.

Digital Initiatives

Students have the opportunity of working on two digital humanities projects, learning the skills of documentary editing as well as how to mark-up texts in TEI for use in archival quality electronic editions. See the link for our Digital Humanities Laboratory for more information.

In addition, the department has invested in oXygen, a TEI/SGML editor for use in publishing and scholarly editing courses.

Media Lab

The department's MUltiple Literacies Lab (MULL) allows students first-hand experience with new media tools, in support of media-enhanced teaching and research.