Skip to main content

Researching Early Modern Manuscripts and Printed Books

Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 4, 2013

A four-week seminar for sixteen higher education faculty to study the history of manuscript production and bookmaking during the early modern period.

Co-directors Clare Carroll, professor of Comparative Literature at the City University of New York, and Marc Caball, senior lecturer at University College Dublin, lead a seminar to introduce participants to the basic skills underlying the study of manuscripts and printed books and to connect the skills of book history to interpretation. According to the co-directors, the skills required to pursue research in early modern studies are not widely taught in American universities and American scholars often lack access to early modern manuscripts and books. These skills are necessary, however, the co-directors argue, because "the ability to access, handle, describe, and analyze early modern manuscripts and printed books" makes possible a range of research questions concerning the "interpretations of major authors, intellectual traditions, and historical movements of the early modern period." Furthermore, "the sorts of information about the past embedded in the particular material realities encountered in the physical book create new ways of looking at the early modern period and our relation to it." The seminar therefore aims to accomplish several goals: 1) it brings together some of the foremost practitioners of the study of the material book, 2) it builds a conversation between curators and academics, and 3) it shows academics how their research depends upon a relationship with skilled and knowledgeable curators. The focus of the first week is on the basics of codicology; the second week, the persistence of manuscripts in the Renaissance; the third week, printed books; and, during the last week, presentation of participants' work. Guest lecturers for the seminar include curators Matthew Baker (Burke Library), John Bidwell and Roger Wieck (Morgan Library), Consuelo Dutschke (Columbia University), Earle Havens (Johns Hopkins University), John O'Neill (The Hispanic Society of America), and Heather Wolfe (Folger Shakespeare Library); librarians Meghan Constantinou (Grolier Club) and Giles Mandelbrote (Lambeth Palace Library); and scholars Monica Calabritto (Hunter College, City University of New York), Grace Ioppolo (University of Reading, UK), Lia Schwartz (The Graduate Center, City University of New York), and Alexandra Walsham (Cambridge University, UK).


Dates: June 15—July 11 (4 weeks)
Director(s): Clare Lois Carroll, City University of New York, and Marc Caball, University College Dublin
Grantee Institutions: City University of New York
Location: New York, NY

About NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study a variety of humanities topics in Summer Seminars and Institutes. Each NEH Summer Seminar includes sixteen participants working in collaboration with one or two leading scholars. Participants have access to a major research collection, with time reserved to pursue individual projects.

Amount of Award

NEH Summer Scholars are awarded fixed stipends to help cover travel costs, books and other research expenses, and living expenses. Stipend amounts are based on the length of the NEH Summer Seminar or Institute: $2,100 (2 weeks), $2,700 (3 weeks), $3,300 (4 weeks), $3,900 (5 weeks), or $4,500 (6 weeks).


NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes are designed primarily for teachers of American undergraduate students. Qualified independent scholars and those employed by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other organizations may be eligible to compete provided they can effectively advance the teaching and research goals of the project.

You may request information about as many projects as you like, but you may apply to no more than two NEH Summer Programs (seminars, institutes, or Landmarks workshops) and you may attend only one.

Please note:

Adjunct faculty, community college faculty and first-time participants are encouraged to apply.

Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are reserved for current full-time graduate students in the humanities.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.