New Events

Paper Saver: A Conversation with Mary French '09, Book Conservator. Library Lecture Room, Clapp Library. Tuesday, March 15, 2018 from 4:15-5:30 pm.Mary French '09 was first introduced to the world of book consveration and bookbinding through Katherine M. Ruffin in tthe Book Arts Lab and Emily Bell at the Conservation Facility at Wellesley College's Clapp Library. After graduating with a BA in Medieval & Renaissance Studies from Wellesley College, she earned an MA in Conservation Studies from West Dean College in the United Kingdom. Over the past decade, she has performed conservation treatments on a diverse range of materials, including medieval illuminated manuscripts, Charles Darwin's handwritten scientific notes, Islamic bindings, materials from the World War II Chnagi prisoner of war internment camp, and thousand-year-old Hebrew and Arabic manuscript fragments from the Cairo Genizah. Mary is aProfessional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation and Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and has previously worked for the Cambridge Univerity Library (UK) and Havard Business School's Baker Library; she is currently employed as a book conservator at the Northwast Document Conservation Center in Andover, MA. Sponsored by Book Studies, the Book Arts Program, the Conservation Facility, and Wellesley Career Education.

Contact Katherine M. Ruffin, Book Studies & Book Arts Program Director, at with questions or to be added to the Book Studies Google group. 


Past Events

Folger Shakespeare Library Transcribe-A-Thon. Pendleton Knapp Atrium, Wednesday, March 8, 2017 from 12:30-5:30 pm. Collaborate with experts to transcribe an early modern manuscript.

Experts from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Early Modern Manuscripts Online project will be on hand to introduce participants to the art of transcribing English manuscripts from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries--the age of Shakespeare, Jonson, Spenser, and Dryden! There will be food (lunch and afternoon refreshments), fun, entertaining manuscripts, transcription sprints, prizes, and an easy-to-use online transcription platform called Dromio. Sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Blended Learning Initiative and the Baum Fund.

Heather Wolfe, Curator of Manuscripts at the Folger Shakespeare Library and Paul Dingman, Project Manager for Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO)

About Early Modern Manuscripts Online

The Folger Shakespeare Library aims to make the more hidden world of manuscripts visible and searchable by a wider world of scholars, students, and the public through the Early Modern Manuscripts Online. This resource will provide access to transcriptions of thousands of English manuscripts created from 1500 to 1700, which it collects through a crowdsourced transcription process.

See the beta version of the forthcoming EMMO site at


Tangled Texts in Early Modern England. A Lecture by Heather Wolfe, Curator of Manuscripts at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Founders 120, Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 4:15 pm. 

A lecture about the interplay between manuscript and print and between text and image in Renaissance England, and on the continuity between early modern multimedia and the way we consume text and image today.

Heather Wolfe is an accomplished paleographer and author of numerous articles on early modern manuscripts. She has edited The Literary Career and Legacy of Elizabeth Cary, 1613-1680 (2007), The Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608: A Facsimile Edition of Folger Shakespeare Library MS V.b.232 (2007), and Elizabeth Cary, Lady Falkland: Life and Letters (2001). Dr. Wolfe and her work were recently featured in articles in The Guardian, The Wall St. Journal, and the The New York Times.
Sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Blended Learning Initiative and the Committee on Lectures and Cultural Events (The Baum Fund). Free and open to the public.


ARTH 299: History of the Book from Manuscript to Print. Ruth Rogers, Curator of Special Collections, teaches this course in Special Collections.

A survey of the evolution of the book, both as a vessel for the transmission of text and image and as evidence of material culture. Through close examination of rare books in Clapp Library's Special Collections, we will explore the social and political forces that influenced the dissemination and reception of printed texts. Lectures will cover the principle techniques and materials of book production from the ancient scroll to the modern codex, including calligraphy, illumination, format and composition, typography, illustration, papermaking, and bookbinding. Weekly reading, discussion, and analysis of specimens will provide the skills needed to develop a critical vocabulary and an investigative model for individual research. Additional sessions on the hand press in the Book Arts Lab and in the Pendleton paper studio. 

What to Do With a Humanities Degree: Finding (and Funding) Post-Wellesley Studies in the Book. An Informal Lunch and Discussion with Meredith Santaus '16. Library Lecture Room, Clapp Library, Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 12 noon-1:30 pm.

Meredith graduated from Wellesley in 2016 with a BA in English and Classics, three years of experience in Clapp Library's Special Collections, and zero formal education in book studies or bibliography. She is now studying for her Master's in Book History at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, entirely paid for through scholarships. The process from points A to B relied on identifying the programs best suited for her - and for you. Learn how best to tell your story and find a niche in the book world, ask questions of why, where, and how at an informal lunch and discussion.

Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections, Thursday, November 3 - Saturday, November 5, 2016, Boston College, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Harvard University. 

"Beyond Words" will be the first exhibition to display the extraordinary highlights of illuminated manuscripts in the Boston area. It will showcase more than 260 outstanding manuscripts - some from Wellesley's Special Collections - and will be supplemented by an extensive catalogue, a three-day symposium, and significant public programming. Wellesley's own Lilian Armstrong will be speaking on Friday, November 4th, at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

View more here.

Graphic Design in the Digital Future: Lessons from the Renaissance Book, Saturday, September 10, 2016, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm, Library Lecture Room, Clapp Library, Wellesley College. 

Our media landscape is changing radically. New technologies offer new ways of reading and new modes of presenting texts. But how completely can we really break with old paradigms? Do the design principles of the printed book have a place in our digital future? To find an answer, this conference compares our ongoing technological revolution with an earlier one: the invention of the printed book itself in Renaissance Europe. Lectures, workshops, and discussions by historians and practitioners of printing, web design, and typography will enable the audience to apply lessons from the Renaissance to the design challenges of the present.

Speakers and workshop leaders include Simran Thadani, '05 (Letterform Archive); Russell Maret (printer/type designer); Ken Botnick (Washington University in St. Louis and emdash design studio); Soe Lin Post (Public Affairs, Wellesley); Sohie Lee (Computer Science, Wellesley); Katherine M. Ruffin (Book Studies & Book Arts, Wellesley); and Ruth R. Rogers (Special Collections, Wellesley).

Symposium organized by Sarah Wall-Randell, Associate Professor of English, and Simon Grote, Assistant Professor of History. 
Sponsored by Book Studies, the Program in Medieval-Renaissance Studies, the Departments of English, History and Computer Science. Generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Critical Bibliography at Rare Book School.

Rachel Bartgis, The National Archives, "Writing by Hand in the Eighteenth Century," Friday, April 15, 2016, 4:15-6:15pm, Book Arts Lab, Clapp Library. Sponsored by Long Eighteenth Century Working Group, the History Department, and Book Studies.

Nick Wilding, Associate Professor of History, Georgia State University, "Forging the Moon; Or, How to Spot a Fake Galileo," Wednesday, February 3, 2016, 12:30 pm, Science Center 277. Co-sponsored by Book Studies, the CLCE's Edwards Fund, and the Science Center.

ARTS 222: Introductory Print Methods: Typography/Book Arts, Spring 2016. Katherine M. Ruffin, Book Studies and Book Arts Program Director, taught this course in the Book Arts Lab.

Kristina Milnor, Professor of Classics, Barnard College, "Faustilla the Pawnbroker: On Gender and Finance in the Early Roman Empire," November 11, 2015, 5:00 pm in FND 120.

Sylvia Sellers-Garcia, Assistant Professor of History, Boston College, "Distance and Documents at the Spanish Empire's Periphery," April 27, 2015, 4:00 pm. Sponsored by Book Studies, the History Department, and the Long 18th Century Working Group.

William Noel, Director of the Kislak Center and the Schoenberg Institute, University of Pennsylvania Libraries, "The Archimedes Palimpsest and Truly Open Manuscript Data," Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 12:30 pm. Sponsored by the Science Faculty Seminar Series, Wellesley Wednesdays, Book Studies, and the Wilson Fund, with co-sponsorship from the Art Department, Classics Department, the Media Arts and Sciences Program, and the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program.

ARTH 299: History of the Book from Manuscript to Print, Spring 2015 - Ruth Rogers, Curator of Special Collections, taught this course in Special Collections.

Kenneth Carpenter, Former Curator, Kress Library of Business and Economics, Harvard University, "How Economic Ideas Travel: The Incredible Journey of Benjamin Franklin's 'Way to Wealth'," Thursday, December 4, 2014, 5:00 pm, Library Lecture Room.

Simran Thadani, PhD in English from University of Pennsylvania, 2013, and BA in Spanish and English from Wellesley College in 2005, "Authorship and Anonymity in Renaissance Writing-Books," Monday, November 10, 4:15 pm; and "Post-Wellesley Careers for Humanities Majors," Sunday, November 9, 2014, 4:00 pm, Lulu Wang Center 415.

Rie Hachinayagi, Professor of Art, Mt. Holyoke College, "Artist's Presentation," Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 12:30 pm, Library Lecture Room; and "Japanese Papermaking Demonstration," Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 4:00 pm, Papermaking Studio, Pendleton West 114.

Kelly Whitmer, Assistant Professor of History, Sewanee: the University of the South, "How to Build an Imaginary Cabinet of Curiosities: Lessons in Entrepreneurship for Gallant Youth, ca. 1700," March 12, 2014, 5:00 pm, Library Lecture Room.

ARTS 222 Introductory Print Methods: Typography/Book Arts, Spring 2014
Katherine M. Ruffin, Book Arts Program Director, teaches this course in the Book Arts Lab.

2014 Book Studies Faculty Seminar: Teaching & Conducting Research with Books and OtherText-Technologies: Book History, the Book Arts, and Book Studies at Wellesley College Sponsored by the Provost’s Office and Library & Technology Services and made possible by the generous support of The Friends of the Wellesley College Library’s Innovations in Reading and Scholarship Fund. Tuesday, January 14, through Thursday, January 16, 2014

ARTH 299 History of the Book from Manuscript to Print, Spring 2013 Ruth Rogers, Curator of Special Collections, taught this course in Special Collections.

Ann Blair, Henry Charles Lee Professor of History at Harvard University "Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information Before the Digital Age" Saturday, November 10, 2012, 4 pm Collins Cinema

Peter Stallybrass, Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English and of Comparative Literature and Literary Theory, University of Pennsylvania Newhouse Center for Humanities Elizabeth Turner Jordan '59 Lecture Lecture and Seminar Lecture: “What is a letter?” (letter as in correspondence) Monday, December 3, 2012: 4:30 pm Seminar: “What is a book?” Tuesday, December 4, 2012: 12:30-2:00, Newhouse Center

Pfortzheimer Learning and Teaching Center Luncheon: "The Book Studies Concentration at Smith College" Lecture by Martin Antonetti, Curator of Rare Books, Smith College Wednesday, October 24, 2012, 12:30 Library Lecture Room

2012 Book Studies Faculty Seminar: Teaching with Books and Other Text-Technologies: Book History, the Book Arts, and Book Studies in the Wellesley Curriculum.” Sponsored by the Provost’s Office and Library & Technology Services and made possible by the generous support of The Friends of the Wellesley College Library’s Innovations in Reading and Scholarship Fund Monday, June 4-Wednesday, June, 6, 2012