Hands-On Research with Rare Books and Ephemera
¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 This case study features work that two students completed in an English class at Goucher College. The course, The Archeology of Text, offers students an understanding of the social and historical frameworks for the production and consumption of text, beginning with the digital age and moving backwards in time. Students are also trained in bibliographic research skills, which they apply to objects in Goucher’s Special Collections library. These objects then become the subjects of a research paper that serves as the final course project.
My Card Is Full: The Evolution of the Farewell Ball Dance Cards
A Research Paper Submitted for English 241
In a world of etiquette and formality, dance cards quickly became indispensable to young women in search of dancing partners. They were a manifestation of etiquette, used to keep social order and help their users follow protocol. Though dance cards are rarely used now, the study of these cards gives a lot of insight into the societies and groups that used them. Lists of etiquette books remain from all different periods, instructing men and women how to act in each particular circumstance. Dancing claims a large portion of many of these books, as it was considered an elegant pastime and a way to judge one’s character. Dancing was a sign of culture and social class, as the upper class had formal dance training while they were young. Read more
How Emma Travels: By Letters, Hands and Libraries
Tracking the Journey of the First American Edition of Jane Austen’s Emma: A Research Paper Submitted for English 241
Behind a low glass case in Goucher’s Special Collection Room sits a humble blue book box that holds the first American edition of Jane Austen’s Emma. Valued from nineteen to seventy-five thousand dollars on ABEBooks.com, the edition is unquestionably valuable. But how did this extremely rare copy end up in Goucher’s modest library? In a letter to David Gilson on August 5th, 1967 Alberta Burke revealed that she owned a copy of the 1816 Philadelphia Emma, which formerly belonged to Siegfried Sassoon. The two corresponded from 1967 to 1975 until Alberta fell ill. Throughout this time a steady thread of conversation exists about the Philadelphia Emma. After seeing the interest that both Alberta Burke and David Gilson had in the first American edition of Emma, perusing the pages and studying the tome in detail was essential to discover first hand the majesty of the volumes. Read more