About Book Studies

Book Studies at Wellesley seeks to connect faculty and students from all disciplines, both those who already have research and teaching interests in book studies, from ancient to postmodern, and those who would like to learn more about the book. At our current moment in history, when texts everywhere are going digital, studying the history and future of the texts we read, and the varied media that have transmitted and will transmit them, has never been more important. The materiality of textual media, whether scroll or codex, page or pixel, can never be wholly separated from texts' content: meaning is produced in their interaction. By exploring these issues, Book Studies endeavors to incorporate many features of the liberal arts experience: analytic thinking, collaboration, creative thinking, experiential learning, problem solving, and visual literacy.

The history of the book at Wellesley College is rich. The Durants, the founders of Wellesley College, were bibliophiles. Many items in Special Collection’s holdings were acquired for the College by the Durants and other key figures in the college’s history. A letterpress printing teaching lab was founded in Clapp Library in the 1940s, and the hands-on teaching of bookmaking techniques has been a component of studying the book at Wellesley ever since. Today, the unique collections and facilities on the fourth floor of Clapp Library—Special Collections, Archives, the Book Arts Lab, and the Conservation Facility—constitute a specialized set of laboratories for learning about the book in all of its facets.