Fugitive Texts and Bindings-Visit to Uni of Maryland Historical Manuscripts Collection

I had the pleasure of being invited to speak at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities on Tuesday October 30 as part of their Digital Dialogues series. I enjoyed catching up with friend/colleagues MITH Director Trevor Munoz and Associate Director Purdom Lindblad who are doing so much to transform the field of digital humanities. It was an amazing time and I enjoyed orienting myself to the wonderful facilities  there and meeting new colleagues/friends.

After my talk, I decided to use my free time to visit the University of Maryland Historical Manuscript Collection and talk with special collections librarian Amber Marie Kohl and curator Liz Novara about some of their rare books devoted to antislavery.

I was surprised to see that many of the narratives of enslavement in their holdings were bound. I asked Liz if these were originally bound or if this was a preservation binding by earlier conservators. Liz mentioned that some were originally bound books.

In my work on the Narrative of the Life of Moses Grandy I have found that the title often comes in pamphlet form:

Jane Greenfield, Pamphlet Binding (New Haven, CT: Yale University Library, 1981).

I have also seen Grandy’s narrative stitched together with other antislavery tracts like the following which I found at the British Library:

Title: Narrative of the life of M. G., late a slave. [An autobiography, edited by G. Thompson.] … Second … edition.
Author: Moses GRANDY
Contributor: George Thompson 1804-1878.
Publication Details: Boston [Mass.], 1884.
Identifier: System number: 001486478
Physical Description: (8º); 8vo rdabf
Shelfmark(s): General Reference Collection 10882.a.21.(2.)
I have an emerging interest in the physical materiality of rare books, so it was important for me to make time to visit the rare books collection while at the University of Maryland. I want to thank Amber Marie Kohl and Liz Novara for their assistance and careful attention to putting materials together for me.

I plan to visit again in the spring.

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