Discovery of and research upon previously-unnoticed marginalia in 19th-century books on academic library shelves in Virginia; emphasis on reading and memory in the Civil War era.
- Library and Information Science
- Book history, history of readership
- Civil War
1. Discover uniquely-modified nineteenth-century volumes on library shelves, with relevance to the mid-nineteenth-century experiences of local residents.
2. Research the provenance and contexts of particularly interesting finds to illuminate their histories.
3. Learn more about how books were read and used by different reading communities in the Civil War era.
4. Get students involved with original research in the print collections of academic libraries.
5. Help make the case for the continued relevance of the circulating book collections in libraries.
6. Develop a grant application for a larger, regional and/or national project to discover and catalog unique copies in academic libraries.
Students will travel to various academic institutions and engage in book searches in their libraries, handling large numbers of nineteenth-century books and developing a familiarity with their informational and material structures. They will identify copies with owner markings and modifications and keep records of those finds, uploading the information to a digital catalog. Then they will select particularly interesting examples as research projects, producing essays that explicate the book, its owner, and its markings. They will be doing original historical research, guided by the project leaders, to uncover previously-unknown episodes in the cultural history of the Civil War.