Australian Scholarly Editions Centre Projects (ASEC)

Canberra History of the Book

With the National Library of Australia (NLA), the Centre supported the Canberra Book History group (convenors Thérèse Weber and Marie-Louise Ayres, ADFA, and Margaret Dent, NLA). The Canberra Book History Group met from 1994-1998, and arranged three lecture-discussions per year.

At the first meeting, Alec Bolton spoke on A&R in the 1950s and Frank Thompson spoke on UQP in the 1960s. Elizabeth Lawson spoke on S.T. Gill and 19th-Century book illustrations at the second; Carol Mills spoke on the history of the NSW Bookstall Company at the third; and Chris Tiffin described 'The Author's Bottom Line' in professional dealings with late 19th-century publishers at the fourth.

In September 1996, Ian Willison, one of the General Editors of the Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, spoke on 'The History of the Book and the Cultural History of the English-Speaking World'. On 12 November 1996, Tom Thompson, owner and publisher of ETT imprint spoke on 'Corporate Pressures in the 1990s: Who is winding up the Australian Literary Farm'.

The seventh and eighth lectures were given in 1997: Professor William Baker (De Kalb University, Illinois) spoke on bibliophilia and bibliophiles - 'Brits, the Colonies and Book Collecting', and Mr Victor Crittenden (publisher and scholar) gave a talk on the history of Australian Gardening books.

In 1998 Mary-Jane Edwards (Carleton University) spoke on 'Where? Early Canadian Authors and Their Publishers'; Martyn Lyons (UNSW) gave a talk titled 'Bush Readers, Factory Readers, Home Readers: Expanding the Australian Reading Public', and Richard Stone (National Library of Australia) spoke on the Bleeck Collection in the National Library of Australia.

In the final lecture Bill Bell (University of Edinburgh) discussed the print culture of the Scottish diaspora, in a talk entitled 'Cultural Baggage: The Scottish Colonial Reader in the Nineteenth Century'.

About 40 people attended each time; most were from the wider community. The Bolton and Frank Thompson papers have been published in Publishing Studies, from RMIT (ed. John Curtain).

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