Book Collecting for Private and Institutional Collections

Current faculty: Bruce Whiteman

Description: This course will focus on the techniques and knowledge necessary for forming both private and institutional book collections. Emphasis will be placed on the history of book collecting in Europe and North America, the book and auction trades, the value of book fairs, and the use of the Internet; on the ways in which collections are defined in individual and institutional contexts; on the relationship between collecting and public benefice; and on the large literature relating to the formation of libraries, both private and public. We will visit a private Los Angeles collector, a local bookseller, a rare book library, and (if possible) a book auction.

Required reading will include Carter’s ABC of Book Collecting and his Taste and Technique in Book-Collecting, William Davies King’s Collections of Nothing, Robert Darnton’s The Case for Books, and a reader compiled by the instructor of essays and excerpts from larger works on the history of bibliophily and the history of collections.

Requirements: While there are no prerequisites per se, students will benefit from having some basic knowledge of analytical bibliography.

Years taught: 2012, 2014