Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing (SHARP) Records

Overview: Originating in 1991, the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) was established "to create a global network for book historians working in a broad range of scholarly disciplines." With more than 1,000 members, research interests include the composition and reception of books as well as their survival and transformation over time.

Records cover the earliest days of the organization's development, including founding documents, and document a variety of their activities from hosting conferences and publishing a newsletter to promoting scholarship.

See similar SCUA collections:

Books and book history
Literature and language

Background on Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing

Conference program, 2011.

Conference program, 2011.

At the beginning of August 1991, during a weekend conference on "Masterpieces in the Marketplace" sponsored by the Dickens Project at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Simon Eliot and Jonathan Rose proposed founding an international organization devoted to global book history and print culture, to be called the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing, or SHARP. Those in attendance enthusiastically endorsed the proposal, and a volume of essays from the conference, Literature in the Marketplace (edited by John Jordan, Director of the Dickens Project, and Robert L. Patten), was subsequently published by Cambridge University Press, a prototype for subsequent SHARP publications. During the next eighteen months Jonathan Rose established SHARP as a not-for-profit organization eligible to receive grants and exempt from US income tax. Simultaneously Simon Eliot recruited members and helped to organize conferences in Britain and Europe. Meanwhile Patrick Leary, already unofficial webmaster, designed, initiated, and managed the invaluable communication facility, SHARP-L, which went on-line March 17, 1992.

The first annual SHARP conference was held in New York City in the summer of 1993. At the first Annual General Meeting an Executive Committee and a Board of Directors were elected. Subsequent conferences eventually established a rhythm of meeting in alternate years in North America and elsewhere.

The annual meetings were in time supplemented by smaller gatherings, at first called "regional" conferences, but later changed to "focused conferences", in part because the focus of these gatherings need not be geographic. Such gatherings have been held in Sydney, Australia; Kolkata, India; Cape Town, South Africa; Venice, Italy; and Copenhagen, Denmark.

From the start SHARP attracted attention. Its first publication, the quarterly SHARP News, initially edited by Jonathan Rose, communicated information about programs in book history, reviewed publications and exhibitions, and informed members of upcoming events. SHARP launched an annual volume, Book History, in 1998; the Council of Editors of Learned Journals named it “Best New Journal” in December 1999. The CELJ awards committee commended its "impressive range" and "sustained engagement with the subject" and predicted "real staying power on the academic landscape." The SHARP website, also initiated and conducted by Patrick Leary, debuted at the 1995 Edinburgh conference. It received high praise from Edward Tenner in the 9 March 2007 Chronicle of Higher Education: "The goal in the next decade or so should be to prepare students to be discerning users of, and contributors to, all media. An excellent starting point on the Web is the site of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing."

Outside support for SHARP’s activities has come from many sources. Especially generous has been the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, which has provided funds to support students and independent scholars attending annual conferences, has partially underwritten expenses incurred in holding a focused conference on the book trade in Venice in 2007 and publishing its proceedings, and most recently has contributed to SHARP’s funding for an annual conference held in Helsinki in August 2010. A prize for the best book in book history was generously endowed by the DeLong family: from 2004 it has been known as the George A. and Jean S. DeLong Book History Book Prize. Book History has itself funded a prize for the best essay by a graduate student submitted to and accepted for publication in the journal. And for many years a portion of the registration fee for each annual conference has been set aside to support student and independent scholar travel to the subsequent year's conference.

Furthermore, the SHARP Award for Distinguished Achievement has been presented twice, in 2004 to Bibles imprimèes du XVe au XVIIIe siècle conservèes à Paris, a catalogue of the early modern printed bibles that survive in the main Parisian libraries, edited by Martine Delaveau and Denise Hillard; and in 2006, to the Archive of Publishers’ Records at the University of Reading (England) Library supervised by Michael Bott, and to the Waterloo Directory of English Newspapers and Periodicals, 1800-1900, general editor John North.

SHARP also has established affiliations with other learned societies and associations, including the Modern Language Association, the American History Association, the Bibliographical Society of America, American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Renaissance Society of America, the Library History Group, and a dozen or so others. More recently, it has created a network of international liaisons. These country representatives introduce scholars within their home countries to SHARP, its activities, and the many benefits of being a member; SHARP's current network of representatives extends from Australia to South Africa and includes representatives in Japan, Denmark, Germany, India, Canada, Israel, France, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Slovenia. The American Printing History Association chose SHARP as the winner of its Institutional Award for 2001. This award is given each year to an institution that has made “distinguished contributions to the study, recording, preservation, or dissemination of printing history.”

By 2006, SHARP had outgrown its original institutional structures. Over the next four years it adopted a new Constitution, making provision for more democratic electoral procedures and a wider range of administrative responsibilities and international representation. It also moved all its business management and publications to the Johns Hopkins University Press, and completely redesigned its website. Efforts are underway to make SHARP materials available in several languages and to interact more extensively with international learned societies in history, library sciences, and literature. Membership continues to grow from all parts of the world.

Contents of Collection

The records of SHARP date back to the organization's formal establishment in 1992. Materials document every aspect of the group's activities including: conference materials, both planning and program; their newsletter, SHARP News; membership reports and directories; and founding documents, such as the certificate of incorporation and various versions of the by-laws. Much of the history of the organization is preserved in emails to and from Robert L. Patten, who served in various leadership positions over the years.

Collection inventory
Belanger, Terry: retirement
2009
Box 1: 1
Board of Directors
2005-2008
Box 1: 2
Board of Directors
2014-2015
Box 4: 1
Book History
1996-2009
Box 1: 3
Book History: JSTOR
2009
Box 1: 4
Book prize
2003-2008
Box 1: 5
Book prize
2010-2015
Box 4: 2
Book prize: certificate
2013
Box 1: 6
Brochures
ca. 2013
Box 4: 2
Coasters
ca. 2005
Box 3
ComitéInternational des Sciences Historiques (CISH)
2008-2010
Box 1: 7
Conference: 1993 (New York, N.Y.)
1993
Box 1: 8
Conference: 1994 (Washington, D.C.)
1994
Box 1: 9
Conference: 1995 (Edinburgh, Scotland)
1995
Box 1: 10
Conference: 1996 (Worcester, Mass.)
1996
Box 1: 11
Conference: 1997 (Cambridge, England)
1997
Box 1: 12
Conference: 1998 (Vancouver, Canada)
1998
Box 1: 13
Conference: 1998 (Vancouver, Canada)
1998
Box 1: 14
Conference: 2000 (Mainz, Germany)
2000
Box 1: 15
Conference: 2000 (Mainz, Germany)
2000
Box 4: 14
Conference: 1999 (Madison, Wisc.)
1999
Box 1: 16
Conference: 2001 (Williamsburg, Va.)
2001
Box 1: 17
Conference: 2002 (London, England)
2001
Box 1: 18
Conference: 2006 (Den Hague/Leiden, The Nertherlands)
2006
Box 1: 19
Conference: 2006 (Den Hague/Leiden, The Nertherlands)
2006
Box 1: 20
Conference: 2006 (Den Hague/Leiden, The Nertherlands)
2006
Box 1: 21
Conference: 2006 (Den Hague/Leiden, The Nertherlands), t-shirt
2006
Box 3
Conference: 2007 (Minneapolis, Minn.)
2005-2006
Box 1: 22
Conference: 2007 (Minneapolis, Minn.)
2007
Box 1: 23
Conference: 2007 (Minneapolis, Minn.)
2007
Box 1: 24
Conference: 2007 (Minneapolis, Minn.)
2007
Box 1: 25
Conference: 2008 (Oxford, England)
2007
Box 1: 26
Conference: 2008 (Oxford, England)
2007
Box 1: 27
Conference: 2008 (Oxford, England)
2008
Box 1: 28
Conference: 2008 (Oxford, England)
2008
Box 1: 29
Conference: 2009 (Toronto, Canada)
2007
Box 1: 30
Conference: 2009 (Toronto, Canada)
2007
Box 1: 31
Conference: 2009 (Toronto, Canada)
2008-2009
Box 1: 32
Conference: 2010 (Helsinki, Finland)
2008
Box 1: 33
Conference: 2010 (Helsinki, Finland)
2009-2010
Box 1: 34
Conference: 2010 (Helsinki, Finland)
2010
Box 4: 5
Conference: 2011 (Washington, D.C.)
2009-2011
Box 1: 35
Conference: 2012 (Dublin, Ireland)
2012
Box 1: 36
Conference: 2013 (Philadelphia, Penn.)
2009
Box 1: 37
Conference: 2014 (Antwerp, Belgium)
2014
Box 4: 6
Conference: 2015 (Montreal, Canada)
2015
Box 4: 7
Conference: 2016 (Paris, France)
2015-2016
Box 4: 8
Conference: 2017 (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)
2016
Box 4: 9
Conference: Forgotten Books and Cultural Memory
2016
Box 4: 10
Conference: policies
2005-2006
Box 1: 38
Conference, regional: 2008 (Copenhagen, Denmark)
2006-2008
Box 1: 39
Conference, regional: 2008 (Copenhagen, Denmark), posters
2008
Box OS
Conference, regional: 2011 (Brisbane, Australia)
2011
Box 1: 40
Constitution
2007
Box 1: 41
Co-sponsorship
2006
Box 1: 42
Country liaisons
2008-2009
Box 1: 43
Electronic files
2013-2016
electronic files

Files include conference planning materials, correspondence, and photographs.

Email, general: Patten, Robert L.
1998-1999
Box 1: 44
Email, general: Patten, Robert L.
2000-2002
Box 1: 45
Executive Committee
2000-2009
Box 1: 46
Executive Committee
2002-2003
Box 1: 47
Executive Committee
2002-2004
Box 2: 1
Executive Committee: Publications and Awards annual report
2010-2014
Box 4: 11
Finances
2003-2004
Box 2: 2
Finances
2007-2009
Box 2: 3
Finances: Delmas Foundation
2000-2001
Box 2: 4
Finances: Delmas Foundation
2016
Box 4: 12
Finances: financial forecast
1998-1999
Box 2: 5
Finances: tax returns
2001-2004
Box 2: 6
Founding documents: budgets
1993-1999
Box 2: 7
Founding documents: Certificate of Incorporation
1992
Box 2: 8
Founding documents: constitution and by-laws
ca. 1993
Box 2: 9
Founding documents: non-exempt status
1993-1997
Box 2: 10
Fundraising
2004-2007
Box 2: 11
Fundraising: donors
1999, 2004
Box 2: 12
Governance
2000-2007
Box 2: 13
International book history
2005-2006
Box 2: 14
Listserv: SHARP-L
1999-2001
Box 2: 15
Membership
2007
Box 2: 16
Membership
2007
Box 2: 17
Membership
2008
Box 2: 18
Membership
2008
Box 2: 19
Membership
2008
Box 2: 20
Membership
2009
Box 2: 21
Membership
2009
Box 2: 22
Membership database
2004
Box 3
Membership directory
1993
Box 2: 23
Membership and Periodicals Directory
1994
Box 2: 24
Membership: report
1998-2000
Box 2: 25
Membership secretary
2007-2009
Box 2: 26
Nominating Committee
2006-2009
Box 2: 27
Officers, External Affairs Director
2005-2008
Box 2: 28
Officers, President: Lucy, Beth
2004-2005
Box 2: 29
Officers, President: Patten, Robert L.
2005-2009
Box 2: 30
Officers, Vice-President: Howsam, Leslie
2005-2009
Box 2: 31
Officers, Vice-President: Patten, Robert L.
2003-2004
Box 2: 32
Oral history interview: Frengel, Elizabeth
2015
Electronic file
Oral history interview: Frost, Simon
2015
Electronic file
Oral history interview: Greenberg, Susan
2015
Electronic file
Oral history interview: Gerson, Carole
2015
Electronic file
Oral history interview: Rose, Jonathan
2015
Electronic file
Oral history interview: Shevlin, Eleanor
2015
Electronic file
Oral history interview: Farrington, Lynne; Pollack, John; Thadani, Simran
2015
Electronic file
Oral history interview: Eliot, Simon
2016
Electronic file
Oral history interview: Gross, Robert
2016
Electronic file
Oral history interview: Gupta, Abhijit
2016
Electronic file
Oral history interview: Hochman, Barbara
2016
Electronic file
Oral history interview: Leary, Patrick
2016
Electronic file
Photographs: SHARP members
2016
Box 4: 13
SHARP history: general
1994-2013
Box 2: 33
SHARP history: CD-ROM
ca. 1993-2006
Box 3
SHARP News
1991-1992
Box 2: 34
SHARP News
1992-1993
Box 2: 35
SHARP News
1993-1994
Box 2: 36
SHARP News
1994-1995
Box 2: 37
SHARP News
1995-1996
Box 2: 38
SHARP News
1996-1997
Box 2: 39
SHARP News
1997-1998
Box 2: 40
SHARP News
1998-1999
Box 2: 41
SHARP News
1999-2000
Box 2: 42
SHARP News
2000-2001
Box 2: 43
SHARP News
2001-2002
Box 2: 44
SHARP News
2002
Box 2: 45
SHARP News
2003
Box 2: 46
SHARP News
2004
Box 2: 47
SHARP News
2005
Box 2: 48
SHARP News
2006
Box 2: 49
SHARP News
2007
Box 2: 50
SHARP News
2008
Box 2: 51
SHARP News
2009
Box 2: 52
SHARP News
2010
Box 2: 53
SHARP News
2012
Box 2: 54
SHARP News
2013
Box 2: 55
SHARP News
2014
Box 2: 56
SHARP News: digitization
2009-2010
Box 2: 57
SHARP News: editor
198-2001
Box 2: 58
SHARP News: emails
2004-2009
Box 2: 59
Syllabi: Gross, Robert; book history
1992, 2008-2013
Box 4: 14
Translations: articles on book history, translated into English
2016
Box 4: 15
Website Committee
2008-2009
Box 2: 60
Website: Webmaster
2001-2008
Box 2: 61

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Language:

English

Provenance

Acquired from SHARP, 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by Silas M. Weinblatt, May 2015.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing Records (MS 868). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms

Subjects

  • Authors and readers
  • Authorship
  • Books--History
  • Publishers and publishing

Link to similar SCUA collections

Names

  • Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing