History of the Book Collection Library Subject Collection uri icon

subject description and guidelines

  • The History of the Book is an interdisciplinary field that examines the development and impact on society of manuscript and printed works. It draws on the methods of analytical and descriptive bibliography, social history, literary criticism, and cultural theory. Its specific objects of study include literacy and reading practices, relations among publishers, authors, and readers, and media production technology. Bibliography is included in the field, as are materials on the history, philosophy, and technicalities of writing, publishing, book collecting, the book and serial trade, and the history of libraries. Paleography and calligraphy are included within “writing.” Works on freedom of the press and on the history of censorship and copyright are also collected. Works on modern library and information science practice are the responsibility of the Information Science selector.


  • The History of the Book collection serves the needs of faculty and students in the Departments of English and, to a lesser extent, History. Because non-English materials are collected extensively, it also serves the needs of many other departments of literature.