Call for applications - 2020 Fisher Summer Seminar: Learning and Teaching with Early Printed Books

The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is now accepting applications for the 2020 summer seminar, “Learning and Teaching with Early Printed Books”, which will be led by Dr. Sarah Werner between Monday 1 June and Wednesday 3 June 2020. The deadline for completed applications is Friday 31 January 2020.

Books printed during the first centuries of the printing press form a core of the western canon and our libraries. Many of us can immediately name important books from that period: the Gutenberg Bible, Copernicus’s De revolutionibus, Shakespeare’s First Folio, and the Encyclopédie. But such an emphasis on importance both makes working with books from the hand-press period intimidating and misrepresents the vast majority of printed works from that period. In this three-day seminar, we will demystify the hand-press period by working hands-on with items from 1450-1800, learning the basics of how they were processed, from papermaking to presswork to bindings. During this process we will also explore why such details matter, considering how we can use such bibliographic knowledge to better understand the textual and cultural histories of the objects we work with. Throughout the seminar we will highlight ways in which we can use our newly developed expertise to draw in more explorers of early printed books.

Sarah Werner is the author of Studying Early Printed Books, 1450–1800: A Practical Guide and the creator of She earned her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in Shakespeare studies and taught courses on bibliography and book history at the Folger Shakespeare Library for nearly a decade.  

For further information, please download the Call for Applications, or contact David Fernández at To apply, please download the Application Form.

Image: F9982, illustration of a pressroom in, Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers … Paris: Briasson [etc.] 1751-1765.

Past Summer Seminars:

2017: Book Illustration

2018: Introduction to Bibliography

2019: The Medieval Book