The Iowa Bibliophiles – Previous Meetings

The 2018-2019 Schedule:

September 2018 – “A Garden of Forking Paths: How to Read a Fifteenth-Century Venetian Herbal” with Dr. Sarah Kyle from University of Central Oklahoma

October 2018 – “Before Print: How Paris Became a Major Center for Book Publishing in the 12th-15th Centuries” with Dr. Katherine Tachau from the University of Iowa

November 2018 –“People and the Book: the Voices of Manuscripts from the Middle Ages” with Laura Light of Les Enluminures

December 2018 – The art of script with Cheryl Jacobsen from Center of the Book, University of Iowa

February 2019 –  A talk with Arthur Bonfield

March 2019 – The Tale of Peter Rabbit with Lindsay Moen, Special Collections Librarian

April , 2019 – New Acquisitions Open House with Margaret Gamm and Special Collections staff

May 2019 –  Gallery Tour of the new Walt Whitman exhibit with curators Stephanie Blalock and James O’Neill




The 2016-2017 Schedule:

SepteShakespeare at Iowa August 29-September 25mber 2016 – Shakespeare’s First Folio with Adam Hooks (Shakespeare in Iowa Event)

October 2016 – Shakespeare Book Arts with Emily Martin (Shakespeare in Iowa Event)

November 2016 – Shakeosphere: Visualizing Shakespeare’s Networks with Blaine Greteman (Shakespeare in Iowa Event)

December 2016 – “The Why, How, What, and Result of 60 Years of Rare Book Collecting” with Arthur Bonfield

February 2017 –  Iowa’s Method Man: Himie Voxman and instrumental instruction books with Katie Buehner

March 2017 – Open*Set Gallery Opening & Special Collections New Acquisitions Open House with David Esslemont and Margaret Gamm

April , 2017 – Codex Conquest: The Game of Book History with Amy Chen

May 2017 –  End of the Year Open House


The 2015-2016 Schedule:


Cheryl Jacobsen, Medieval Calligraphy
Iowa City’s master calligrapher and instructor at the Center for the Book will describe the process of creating manuscript letters in the medieval era, drawing on examples from Special Collections as well as her own work.



John Fifield, A Summer at the Recoleta
The newly-appointed Olson Graduate Assistant in Special Collections will recount his experience at the Convent of the Recoleta in Arequipa, Peru, where he assisted with identifying and cataloging early printed books in the monastery’s collection. He will describe the collection and comment on its place in the history of the transatlantic Spanish book trade.


Greg Prickman, The Nuremberg Chronicles

The Head of Special Collections will present a rare opportunity to view three complete copies of the Nuremberg Chronicle, printed in 1493. He will describe the provenance of the three copies and discuss why the copy-specific features of each book are important to our understanding of the book trade.




Arthur Bonfield, English Collections of Travel
The Allan D. Vestal Chair, University of Iowa School of Law, will discuss early printed travel literature and provide examples from his own extensive private collection.






Heather Wacha, Medieval ManuscriptsPhD Candidate in the Department of History and specialist researcher in Special Collections will present her findings from examining medieval manuscript leaves in the collections in a talk titled, “The Mysterious Chain of Psalms: Identifying and Recovering an Otto Ege Manuscript.”




Douglas S. Russell, Book CollectingDouglas S. Russell is a Senior Judge of the Iowa District Court and will address the Bibliophiles on books by and about famous bibliophiles, their book collections and the books they have written about collecting.




Jane Murphy, Bookselling in the 21st CenturyJane Murphy and Mark Brookfield, 36 year partners in Murphy-Brookfield Books, will talk about the enormous changes brought on by Internet bookselling in the last 20+ years.
May 11



Biblio Book Club – “The Millionaire and the Bard”Looking forward to Shakespeare’s First Folio visiting campus in the fall, please read, “The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger’s Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare’s First Folio,” and come prepared to discuss it.



The 2014-2015 Schedule:

September 10, 2014: Maps with H. Dee Hoover

October 8, 2014: English Chronicles with Arthur Bonfield


UI Libraries Conservation Lab 30th Anniversary Celebration

February 11, 2015: Collecting Iowa’s History with Michael Zahs

March 11, 2015: Round table discussion on collecting

April 8, 2015: Science Fiction and Film with Dennis Lynch

May 13, 2015: Holinshed’s Chronicle with Arthur Bonfield

2012-2013 Schedule:

September 11, 2013 – 15th Century Books with Pat Olson

Pat Olson, Special Collections Librarian, presents on fourteen incunables newly-acquired by Special Collections. He will be discussing the antiquarian book market and the process that was undertaken to acquire these books. Attendees will be able to examine the books.

October 9, 2013 – 16th Century Books with Blaine Greteman

November 13, 2013 – 17th Century Books with Adam Hooks

February 12, 2014 – 18th Century Books with Arthur Bonfield

March 12, 2014 – 19th Century Books with Dr. Kendall Reed

April 9, 2014 – 20th Century Books with Lisa Martincik and Kalmia Strong

May 14, 2014 – 21st Century Books with Gary Frost

2011-2012 Schedule:

September 14 – Our guest will be Sarah Horowitz, Special Collections Librarian from Augustana College. She will be presenting a talk entitled The Wig and Powder School: Gender, Empire, and 1890s Illustration. As she writes: The most famous British illustrated books of the 1890s were those of Aubrey Beardsley and William Morris, but there were many other illustrators working at that time. This talk will explore the work of the Wig and Powder School illustrators, who tended to illustrate canonical British novels. The talk will use examples from Special Collections as well as Sarah’s personal collection. It will also look at the question of how these illustrations shape the reader’s experience of these books.

October 12 – An evening at the Herbert Hoover Library & Museum

November 9 – Our guest will be Arthur Bonfield, who will be speaking on Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century English Herbals: Turner; Dodoens-Lyte; Gerard; Johnson-Gerard; Parkinson; Salmon. He will be speaking about these books as a collector, and we are thrilled that he will be bringing his own copies of these books to show us.

February 8 – Paul Juhl will be presenting a program that centers on nineteenth century photography.  Although not a photographer himself, Paul has amassed a large collection of early Iowa images and will share with our group information concerning not only the earliest types of photography but also marketing techniques used by the early photographers to prosper in their trade. Many interesting stories accompany the people who made up this profession and the choices of images that they made during the early decades of the “art.” There will be special emphasis on Paul’s favorite type of photography – stereography – that produced the three dimensional image viewed through the stereoscope that some of us remember from childhood.  Looking carefully at a historical image in whatever form can reveal many things and tell us much about the daily life of the people living at that time.

March 21 (new date) Bibliophile Al Dawson will present “How Sherlock Holmes Turned Me Into a True Bibliophile!” He will give a preview (with behind-the-scenes material) of a paper which will be published this year in Toronto. The bulk of the research, however, was done right here in Iowa. The topic concerns a mystery as to the identity of the recipient of twelve letters written by Arthur Conan Doyle some 116 years ago. Get ready for a Wilde ride that will start in Egypt and end in Los Angeles, with several stops in between. Three first editions are involved in solving the case.

April 11 – Our guest will be Brian Harvey, retired UI staff member and collector and dealer in rare and used books. He will talk about his collection of rare and antiquarian dog books that date from the 16th through the end of the 19th centuries. He will show examples of the earliest breed books, early works where dog stories were used for social satire, and the development of several new genres popularized during the 19th century such as the sentimental dog story and dog biographies and even dog autobiographies. Be prepared for a fun time!

May 9: We will end the 2011-2012 academic year with a field trip to the Masonic Library in Cedar Rapids. This should be a fascinating opportunity to learn more about one of Iowa’s oldest libraries, one with deep connections to the beginnings of the State and the University.


May – Greg Prickman and Special Collections staff discussed the Civil War diaries transcription project

April – Dennis Reese, Program Director for KSUI/IPR talked to a small but hearty band about Iowa’s rich broadcasting history and some of the archives preserving that history. Reese has been collecting ephemeral materials that document Iowa radio history for decades.

March – With Oscar highs and lows (not all costume-related!) in mind, a  small but dedicated band re-directed their focus from books to moving images – at least to the many kinds of debris that result from the making of movies — as Greg Prickman and Jacque Roethler lead a discussion/dissection of examples drawn from the more than a thousand linear feet of archival material, from script outlines and set designs through storyboards to stills, lobby cards, and fan zines — even some surreptitiously taken candids of Gypsy Rose Lee in performance — that come from the perhaps surprising large number of Iowa alumni who are or have been members of the various motion picture academies.

February – Sid Huttner talked about “miniature books,” those small objects purists insist must be (a) books, and (b) no larger than three inches in any dimension.  Ten stalwart Bibliophiles brought their spectacles with them on one of the coldest nights of the year to “read” a bunch of minis gifted to the Library by Charlotte Smith and since acquired through her final generosity.


November – Mary McInroy, Head of the Map Collection, discussed maps as a fascinating and universal method of communication, illustrating her presentation with sample maps, photos, and atlases from the map collection, including a propaganda map from Nazi Germany and shipwreck maps of the five Great Lakes.

October — Nialle Sylvan, proprietor of The Haunted Bookshop introduced and lead a rousing conversaton on “Book Group as Business: Discussion Seven Days a Week.” Particularly on Fridays and Saturdays, she observed, when the shop is busiest, the Haunted Bookshop staff and patrons seem to be engaged in a day-long conversation. One patron’s mention of a gardening fact may trigger a discussion about organic farming that may lead to the history of 19th century utopian movements and on to the Stone City artists, then the WPA, during which all participants share knowledge, book recommendations, and occasionally debates. People join in or move on as their schedules and parking meters permit. On a rainy afternoon or over a card or chess game, some stay for hours. Sometimes they’ve reached outside the shop to bring in more points for discussion, phoning religious leaders, scholars, politicians, and other experts to add opinions and correct facts. Is this really a small business at work? By facilitating the ongoing discussion, the shop sells more books, as patrons and staff recommend things to each other; customer retention increases as patrons feel more like ‘part of the gang’; but there are also more important results: more and better books arrive and depart, the staff learn more about the inventory, discussions of current issues flourish and gain momentum, more formal groups – writers’ workshops, theater readings, and actual book groups – choose this location for meetings, and kids get excited about reading. It’s not a formal program with a timeline or a goal; it’s just life on one node of the vibrant network forming our City of Literature; but there is a purpose and a method.

September — Jeanette Pilak, newly arrived executive director of the organization that will bring meaning to Iowa City’s designation as the third UNESCO City of Literature in the world, the newest chapter in our long tradition of teaching writing, reading, book production, and book collecting. Jeanette described some of the initial programs that are developing as well as her own ideas for the future.

May Our year-ending meeting once again offered a field trip, exercise, plus food and drink in a bucolic location: Stan and Delores Thompson, Ginniff Books and farm. Apart from browsing the bookshop, there was a brainstorming of possible programs for the coming year.

April Gary Frost, Libraries Conservator, unloaded his clay Coptic jar to pass around a number of historial bookbinding models to illustrate the long past and future “History of Hand-Held Reading Devices,” beginning in the era of the papyrus book, looking at the codex innovations of the Medieval era, and ending in 20th century book inventions and adventure in the current technologies of print-on-demand and self-published books plus a sample of electronic book readers from the UI Libraries’ collection.  Attendance was a respectable 22 with a number of not before seen faces to welcome.

March – Jane Murphy, a principal at Murphy-Brookfield Books, and Bibliophile, lead a discussion about the twisting directions her efforts to place a collection of 500 volumes have taken and continue to take.  The books are those of the late professor, printer, and historian of typography, Kay Amert, and are mainly on subject of typography or are prime examples of private press and books arts production.  Jane brought photographs and example in a conversation about “An Ongoing Saga:  Finding Kay Amert’s Books a Home.”

February Meeting at the Center for the Book North Hall facilities, University printers Sara Langworthy and Sara Sauer presented 14 Bibliophiles with a program which started with examination of a number of examples of letterpress printing using multiple techniques, then warmed up a Vandercook Proof Press and allowed each person to print off a copy of a famous Beatrice Ward quote and to set their name in type (and distribute the type back to the case). Attention was rapt, enthusiasm was high; it was a great evening dispite the below-zero temperatures out of doors!


November Bibliophile Jacque Roethler presented on bookplates: types, collectors, designers, methods of creation, bookplate societies, bookplate competitions, and bookplate journals.

October – Iowa Bibliophile Dan Daly and his wife Beth hosted the group at their Eastside Iowa City home.  Dan, and eclectic collector, frequents garage and book sales and regularly haunts used book and second hand shops, over some decades, paying bottom dollar, amassing a loosely organized hoard, spreading to nearly every room of their home. The private library includes many hundreds of Little Golden Books, handsome bindings, books focusing on photography, Iowana, and over 7,000 78rpm recordings. Dan has found an amazing variety of small spaces into which to tuck this item and that!

September – Papermaker (and now McArthur Fellow!) Timothy Barrett discussed his research into the character and composition of historic papers: he has been examining and collecting information on hundreds of dated sheets in books and manuscripts from the 14th through the 18th century using non-damaging techniques to identify the chemistry of the papers, particularly the sizes that were applied after the sheet was formed.  14th and 15th century papers are sized with significantly more gelatin than later papers — which may be a key to these papers durability and longevity.

May – Spring Field Trip: A visit to the Printery of Timothy Fay, Anamosa. Fay does a wide range of job printing for diverse clients and is the publisher of The Wapsipinicon Almanac. Nearly all his work is based on type set with a working Linotype setter.

AprilIowa City book artist Emily Martin discussed “The Critical Relationship Between Form and Content in Movable Sculptural Books,” showing her books and talking about the way both content and form developed to lead their realization. Sometimes her book starts from the content, sometimes from a format she wants to explore.  Martin is proprietor of the Naughty Dog Press and regularly teaches books arts for the University of Iowa Center for the Book as well as frequently giving workshops across the country.

MarchArthur Bonfield, Allan Vestal Chair and Associate Dean for Research at the University of Iowa Law School, Bibliophile and bibliophile, reviewed “The First Major Published Collections In English Of Voyages Of Discovery: Richard Hakluyt and Samuel Purchas, 1589-1626”. This three titles, at the end of Elizabeth I’s reign, arguably launched England’s Age of Empire. Richard Hakluyt’s The Principall Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries of the English Nation, 1589, and The Principal Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation, 1599-1600, and Samuel Purchas’ Hakluytus Postumus or Purchas His Pilgrimes, 1625-1626.

February – David Schoonover and Jacque Roethler presented on THE ALEMBIC PRESS and its archive at the University of Iowa. Jacque processed the archive and prepared its extensive finding aid discussed and demonstrated highlights of this British fine press.  David Schoonover discussed a variety of the Press’ publications, including books on papermaking in the Himalayas and India, and Birds from the Wood, a wood type-specimen calendar for 2000. Alembic has been active since 1972 and published over 130 books. Most of the Press’s titles are on the subjects of paper, type, printing and other aspects of book arts, but it also produced the occasional more ‘artistic’ book and a range of miniature books.


November – A hearty little band gathered at the Boyd Law Building on the UI campus where Biobliophile Noelle Sinclair hosted our visit to the rare book room of the University of Iowa Law Library.  Noelle’s talk revolved around books in the collection that expose the content of the collection, how they came to the Library, and some of the issues she is working on, such as how the collection contributes to the Library’s mission, what these books might give to a legal education, and just interesting stories regarding them. Contributions by Arthur Bonfield added historical depth to Noelle’s remarks!

October – An intrepid nine fieldtripped to the newest bookshop in Iowa City: Greg Delzer hosted a vist to his Defunct Books, opened about a year ago and offering used and rare books in a variety of subjects. Defunct Books, 521 East Washington, is located above the Red Avocado, across Ralston Creek from the New Pioneer Food Cooperative.  More information at

September – Our season opener followed a summer made memorable by the floods in June and July.  Special Collections moved over 13,000 feet of manuscripts and rare books from a basement storage area to the third and fifth floors of Main Library, but, regrettably, many of our Cedar Rapids colleagues had less time to prepare, and their collections sustained far more damage.  David Muhlena, Library Director at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids, joined us to describe the devastating flood that severely affected his institution and the many questions that still must be solved before rebuilding can begin. Bibliophile Terry Pitts, Director of the Cedar Rapids Art Museum, described damage to the Museum, resulting from a failed drain rather than flood waters directly, and the effort to re-open the museum by the end of the summer.

May – Our year-ender offered a field trip, exercise, plus food and drink in a bucolic location: Stan and Delores Thompson, Ginniff Books, invited us to their farm just south of Cosgrove for potluck and program.  Nearly everyone strolled around the pond at least once (with Dan Daly capturing polywogs and bugs for his own small pond). Feasting under the trees and a very brief discussion of potential programs for next year preceded coffee in the book shop and a browse around the Thompsons’ stock of 12,000 books. It was a splendid evening weather-wise, and we are grateful to the Thompon’s for their hospitality!

April – Our own John Mullen, historian, bookseller, and appraiser of books and manuscripts, hit some hot-buttons among a crowd by projecting the decline of reading and hence civilization. There was skepticism in the crowd — but the discussion was lively and the arguments occasionally intense!

March – Lisa Martincik and Daniel Crawford (collectors) and Adam Mix (proprietor of Daydreams in downtown Iowa City), explored with a group of 15 the collecting and vending the many varieties of comic books and graphic novels. We were joined as well by Corey Creekmur (English, Comp Lit, and Film Studies) who brought along newspaper comic pages, comic books, pulp fiction, and other early examples of the “comics” genres that he uses in his courses and which appear in a forthcoming book on comics.  For a genre characterized by images rather than words, there sure was a lot of talk, and the program lasted late into the evening!

February – Historian Kathleen Kamerick repeated a talk she gave in last fall’s series associated with the “From Monks to Masters” exhibition at the Museum of Art. It was the only talk not videotaped on delivery and made available through UITV, and we were able to tape it this time. Look for it on the UITV schedules. “Changing the hours: Praying in manuscript and print” discussed the roles of Books of Hours in medevial life, their production as highly individualized manuscripts prior to the 1400s, and their transition to a more standardized print text after 1450. The small crowd assembled on a chilly night took warmth from close examination of the Libraries’ several examples.


November – A group of 15 rapt Bibliophiles listened to Walt Whitman scholar Ed Folsom talk about the influence of Whitman’s years as printer and editor on the 1855 first edition, and many later editions, of Leaves of Grass.  A census of the almost 200 surviving copies (of 790 printed), is showing that no two copies are entirely alike — as Folsom amply demonstrated by comparing the copy that has long been in the Libraries’ collection with the second copy newly acquired in the collection gifted by Glen Schaeffer (who earlier made the naming gift for the Writers’ Workshop building that now adjoins Dey House). The Schaeffer collection includes a long run of editions of Leaves of Grass and many copies complement holdings with varient printings, bindings, and other features. Whitman was as close to his books physically as their contents were close to him intellectually, a bond Folsom is currently exploring.

October – Nialle [pronounced “Neal”] Sylvan, owner of the the Haunted Bookshop, 520 E. Washington Street in Iowa City (www.thehauntedbookshopcom on the web), mused on “Practical Haunting: Breathing the Spirit of Wonder Back into Retail Bookselling.” Focusing on the bookstore as a community and service centre for book lovers and collectors, and on the duty of booksellers to inspire future generations of bibliophiles, Ms. Sylvan related compelling stories about the help she has received from her resident ghost Claire.

September – Defrocked and Remastered: Behind the Scenes of an Exhibition. Greg Prickman and David Schoonover from Special Collections described the process of curating the exhibition From Monks to Masters: The Medieval Manuscript and the Early Printed Book, installed at the University of Iowa Museum of Art. Some of the splendid books that didn’t make the cut to be included in the exhibit were examined. Attendance was modest (about ten) but combative: the discussion went on to 8:30!

May – Edwin Holtum lead us through an examination of books from the John Martin Collection in the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences. The John Martin Rare Book Room constitutes one of the finest collections of historical medical works in the Midwest. The collection includes approximately 5000 volumes ranging in date from the 15th through the 20th centuries; and we saw the treasures.

April – Despite dire forecasts of wintery mix, Bibliophile Blaine Houmes, long-time Lincoln collector, discussed his interest in the “story behind the artifact” and shared with our group of 20 an amazing — stunning! — array of books, manuscripts, and “realia” (like a set of skeleton keys to a Lincoln bookcase!).  Blaine is also stimulating interest in state-wide recognition and celebration of the two hundredth anniversary of Lincoln’s birth in 2009. Lincoln had surprisingly numerous and deep Iowa connections, owing land in several areas of Iowa and having among his important law cases several rooted in Iowa-related events.

March – Over 20 Bibliophiles made our field trip to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum: “A President & His Books.”  Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover bought books, read books, even translated books, throughout their lives, and during his presidency, Hoover used the Library of Congress as a personal lending library. Director (and Bibliophile) Tim Walch outlined the role of presidential libraries, and Craig Wright and Lynn Smith were on hand to show rare books owned by Hoover and a part of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Papers.

February Holly Carver presented notes on the authors she has collected over 22 years as Director of the University of Iowa Press, talking about a number of series she has developed in that time and how they came about and describing how any press, but particularly an academic press, develops its “collection.”


November – Rachel Sailor, Ph.D. candidate in Art History and the Robert A. Olson Fellow in Special Collections, presented some of her recent work with the Judge James Wills Bollinger Collection of Lincolniana. Bollinger was an assiduous collector of Lincoln material in the 1920s through the 1940s and bequeathed his collection the University of Iowa Libraries in 1951. Working with books, pamphlets, manuscripts, and a great assortment of ephemera (prints and illustrations) and realia (from coins and medallions to plaster life mask and hands), Sailor found that Bollinger’s collection is not only important in its own right but that it illuminates the assumptions and priorities of serious book collectors in the first half of the 20th century.

OctoberKathryn Hodson cheered us with “How I Stopped Frowning and Learned to Love Artist’s Books.” Kathy’s encounter with a box of sand purporting to be a book left her, umm, skeptical; but living for several years with other strange denizens of the world of artist’s books (24 of which she shared — including the box of sand) has (partially) thawed her heart to them.

September Greg Prickman, newly minted Special Collections Librarian, came to Iowa after sojourns in Minnesota (through Macalester College), Indiana (rare books MLS program and work at the Lilly Library), Illinois (Chicago Public Library and the Harold Washington papers), Missouri (SSM Health Care archivist in St. Louis), and Wisconsin (Ebling History of Medicine Collection at Madison). Greg offered “Some Scenic Views on the Road to Iowa,” stories about the collections with which he has worked, exploring byways into his personal bookish interests (illustrated with a selection of new friends he has made in the Iowa collection).

April – Judith Pascoe, Bibliophile and Associate Professor of English, shared some of her research on early 19th-century collectors for her just published book: The Humming bird Cabinet: A Rare and Curious History of Romantic Collectors (Cornell University Press, 2006).

March – The Bibliophiles were invited to an illustrated lecture by Gaylord Schanilec, “British Influences on One Bookish American,” a 2005 presentation he gave in London to England’s Designer Bookbinders and the (London) Double Crown Club. Schanilec has been printing and publishing books since he established Midnight Paper Sales Press in 1981. He has been honored as “the foremost contemporary artist in colored wood engraving” by the Grolier Club of New York. He has a long list of credits as speaker, teacher, and artist in residence, including a six-month residency at the Gregynog Press in Wales in 1991, where he produced engravings for the Gregynog publication of Wrenching Times by Walt Whitman. Today he operates Midnight Paper Sales from his home and studio in the coulee country outside Stockholm, Wisconsin.

February – Again deviating from their usual second Wednesday, the Bibliophiles were invited to a special event at the UI Museum of Art on Saturday, February 3. Dr. Kendall Reed, Dean of the College of Medicine at Des Moines University and one of the world’s preeminent Walt Whitman collectors, talked about his life of collecting books. Materials from Dr. Reed’s Whitman collection form the heart of the exhibition Whitman Making Books / Books Making Whitman which remained on display (for a second look by those who attended the November program). Following Dr. Reed’s talk, Bill Koch, a professional Whitman performer from Cedar Falls, appeared as Whitman to talk about his life and poetry.


November – Deviating from our usual 2nd Wednesday, on November 10 we attended a talk by Ezra Greenspan (Southern Methodist University), “Walt Whitman and U.S. Print Culture: The Medium and the Man,” The Brownell Lecture for the Center for the Book and keynote address for the Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman exhibition and symposium at The University of Iowa Museum of Art. Following Greenspan’s remarks, we toured an accompaning exhibitions of Whtiman’s books with Ed Folsom and David Schoonover.

October – David Herwaldt communicated his considerable enthusiasm for photography books, particularly those in the documentary tradition. “Photograph Books: How and Why to Collect Them” was a lively discussion, illuminated with 50 or more volumes from his collection that included a first edition of Jacob Riis’ How the Other Half Lives, Walker Evans’ American Photographs, Evans’ and James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Paul Strand’s Time in New England, Robert Frank’s The Americans and Lines of My Hand, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s The Decisive Moment, Roy DeCarava’s The Sweet Flypaper of Life, Eddy van der Elsken’s Love on the Left Bank, Wright Morris’ The Inhabitants, Josef Koudelka’s Gypsies, etc. Herwaldt has collected in this area since high school; has worked as a photographer and a mat cutter, among other things; and knows a vast range of photographers. He is currently completing an MFA in the School of Art & Art History with specialization in graphic design — as applied in and to books of photography.

September – We saw an eager crowd of 16 in the Main Library Conference Room where Jane Murphy, co-owner of Murphy-Brookfield Books, 219 North Gilbert, Iowa City, spoke about her 25 years as a bookseller who specializes in scholarly out of print material (the Mealy Bugs of Northern California sort of book, she explained). The internet has dramatically changed the way books are sold and bought, a fact that led to vigorous discussion.

May – The Bibliophiles ended the academic year on May 12, 2005 with a walk under the guidance of Larry Yerkes through of the UIMA exhibtion of design and conservation bookbindings created by William Anthony.

April – Bibliophile Al Dawson explored “People and Paper: Selective Excursions into the History of a relationship” (or “A Dozen Things I’ve Learned Since Paper Got Into My Blood!”). An active genealogist for some time (he invites attention to his website at–Dawson/), his research took unexpected turns when he discovered last August that early 19th century English relatives had been papermakers.

March – About a dozen Bibliophiles found their way to the Mossman Business Services Building on South Riverside drive (despite inaccurate directions promulgated by coordinator Sid Huttner!) and linotyped and printed a number of keepsakes on the Historical Printing Studio’s working hand presses and fully functional Model 31 Linotype line setting and casting machine. Our hosts were Larry (“Mr. Linotype”) Raid and Gary Frost.

February – Featured Julia Leonard, bookbinder and maker of protective (and often decorative!) enclosures for books, who talked about artists’ books created by her students in the Center for the Book and by others and about her own work as a bookbinder.


November – About 15 Bibliophiles took a field trip to the Center for the Book Papermaking Facility on the University’s Oakdale campus. Tim Barrett, a leading expert on Japanese papermaking, showed us through the facility, made sheets in both the western and Japanese styles, and let us handle a variety of the papers handmade in the facility.

October – 15 Bibliophiles and guests gathered in the Special Collections Reading Room where Jonathan Wilcox, Early English scholar, and Denise Filios, Spanish medievalist, talked about medieval manuscript facsimiles and how they use them in their work and with their students. Examples included a richly illuminated 13th century Beatus (Book of Revelations), The St. Louis Bible, and Cantigas from the Royal Library of Monasterio de El Escorial, a collection of songs to Mary.

September – A talk by new Bibliophile Terry Pitts. Terry collects artists’ books and first editions of several contemporary authors, including W.G. Sebald. Sebald presents interesting collecting issues since he was a German who emigrated to England and spent his adult life teaching in an English university and writing in German. Almost all of Sebald’s true first editions were issued in Germany, but there are also first English and first American editions to deal with, as well as  more obscure things, such as programs for the German literature prizes that Sebald won and a German-language CD of the author reading part of one of his novels. Terry is director of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

May – The Bibliophiles met at the home of Sid Huttner to view the 800 copies of Lucile currently assembled in his living room. First published in 1860, Lucile was one of the great best-sellers of the 19th century — now almost entirely forgotten.

April – Robert Wachal, professor emeritus of Linguistics and mystery fiction collector extraordinare, discussed his passionate interest in the sub-genre of culinary mysteries.  Bob has been collecting and writing about them for some time and compiled a bibliography for the period 1930-1999 which was published in Issue #68 of Mystery Scene — a listing that runs six long columns of small type.

March – We featured Iowa Bibliophile (and UI alumnus) John G. Henry, printer and publisher from Mason City, Iowa. John acquired his first press at the age of 8, and his Cedar Creek Press, considerably enlarged with equipment, is lodged in the chapel of a former convent and does job printing as well as pamphlets and books. Two of his recent projects have been miniature books — books less than 3″ tall. Prairie Vision: A View from the Heartland from the Journals of A.W.G. Morse draws on diaries in his family and Evron S. Collins’ Grand Dame (Cincinnati: Miniature Book Society, 2003), an essay on the prominent miniatures collector Ruth Adomeit, was commissioned by the MBS. So far as we know, John is just the third Iowan to tackle miniature book production, the first being Charlotte M. Smith of Newton, Iowa, whose This collection now resides in Special Collections.

February – We saw the gathering of a small number of Bibliophiles to discuss “How to Read a Bookseller’s Catalog,” a discussion led by Mssrs. Bonfield, Huttner, and Schoonover, who came prepared with a few enlightening entries they have gleaned from catalogs or lifted from the Web.


November – The Bibliophiles met in the Conservation Laboratory of Main Library, explored the bookbinding models collection with Conservator Gary Frost, viewed the current work of assistant Melissa Bradshaw, and examined a polyester sealing machine being set up by bookbinder William Minter. Bibliophile, bookbinder and conservator Larry Yerkes (with Gary and Bill) then reacted to books members and guests had brought, including at 16th centry book in a paper binding, a book printed in Philadelphia in 1749 by Benjamin Franklin, and a large, much deteriorated, 19th century family Bible.

October – The Bibliophiles took their first field trip to visit the home, bookshop (Ginniff Books), and sheep farm of Bibliophiles Stan and Delores Thompson. Following a pot-luck picnic, Stan gave a talk (illustrated by books from his collection) on “Pathways in Collecting Children’s Picture Books”.

September – Bibliophile Doug Russell talked about his extensive — and growing — collection of books by and about Winston Churchill, and the complex –and still growing! — bibliography of Churchill’s books, speeches, correspondence, and other writing.

May – Cedar Rapids member Bo Brock talked about his interest in the modern study of information design (ID), a field pretty much created by Edward Tufte, whose work traces the development of design on the printed page over the last 500 years. Brock brought two solid armsfuls of books he has collected which illustrate both good and bad presentation of data in graphs, charts, maps, and other designs.

April – Ann Ziegert shared her collection of the work of printer and wood engraver Gaylord Schanilec — started by a chance purchase of an early book and continued into a lasting friendship. From a base on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, Schanilec works with printers and publishers internationally. He is widely recognized as one of the finest wood engravers working today. His work is showcased on his web site,

March – Shari DeGraw, Director of the University of Iowa Center for the Book Fine Press, talked about and displayed examples of fine press printing that she collects. “Fine press printing” refers these days to the old-fashioned work of setting lead type by hand and printing it on hand-operated presses one sheet at a time. These processes give the printer control at every step of the way — precisely how the finished work will look, from design through inking. But they are time-consuming and require both crafts that can be mastered only with long practice and an artist’s eye for design.

February – David Schoonover, Curator of Rare Books at the University of Iowa Libraries began with biographical appetizers about “Chef Louis” Szathmary, then served up other courses from the Szathmary Collection of Culinary Arts including cookery books from seven centuries, ephemeral pamphlets, carving guides, cannibalism, culinary fiction and mysteries, food and drink art, and concluded with Death by Chocolate (one slice of which contains 1,354 calories).


November Arthur Bonfield, John Murray Distinguished Professor and Associate Dean for Research at the University of Iowa Law School, addressed the Bibliophiles on “Confessions of a Bibliomaniac,” talking about his life-long collecting of books of many kinds and his current infatuation with 17th century English folios.


Iowa Bibliophiles home