A collection of primary source materials and original essays, Perspectives on American Book History is the first text designed for the growing number of courses in American print culture, as well as a unique supplement for courses in American literature and history. It seeks to fill the void that has developed as the expanding history of the book has moved out of the archive and scholarly journal and into the classroom. The volume includes an introductory essay by Robert A. Gross, chair of the program in the history of the book at the American Antiquarian Society, fourteen chapters composed of primary artifacts and original essays by rising scholars in the field, and an annotated bibliography of research sources.
Chapters trace topics in American print culture from Puritan New England to the future of newspapers in a digital age. The artifacts and documents, most of which have never before been anthologized, include excerpts from readers' diaries, accounts of the printing and publishing trades, materials from the alternative press, commentaries on authorship and reading, and visual images. The essays place these primary source materials in their historical, literary, and political contexts and model the ways students might approach them.
The volume is accompanied by a CD-ROM image archive, which includes nearly 200 digital images, captioned and keyed to the different chapters. Easily read with standard browsers, the CD-ROM allows access to otherwise scarce materials and vividly assists students in learning how book history is hands-on history.
In addition to the editors and Robert A. Gross, the contributors are Nancy Cook, Patricia Crain, Ann Fabian, Alice Fahs, Ellen Gruber Garvey, Jen A. Huntley-Smith, Charles Johanningsmeier, Jill Lepore, Russell L. Martin, Trysh Travis, Glenn Wallach, and Susan S. Williams.