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History of the Book: Further Research

This guide provides introductory resources to learn about the History of the Book.

Where do I go from here?

This guide provides some starting points for learning about the History of the Book, but there is so much more out there! If you're interested in pursuing this topic, consider expanding your search outside of the sources included in this guide. On this page you'll find links to sites for professional organizations, suggestions for searching more on your own, and other ways you can pursue further research on book history.

 

A few interesting topics within book history:

  • paleography (the study of handwriting)
  • marginalia (handwritten additions to books, often found in the margins or on the inside cover)
  • provenance (tracing the history of a particular copy of a book throughout its existence)
  • typography (the styling of printed materials)
  • history of cartography (the history of the production, styling, and use of maps)

Boston-Area Special Collections

If you're a Simmons student and/or in the Boston area, there are many special collections to visit that house old, rare books and other materials relevant to the study of book history:

Miscellaneous Resources

Professional Organizations and Resources for Book History

Further Search Options

While this guide has introduced several of the basic areas of study within the history of the book, there are many more areas of research that warrant attention. For one, this guide has looked at book history mainly from a Western perspective; other cultures have a long history of books as well. Diversity is a major discussion among book historians and there are a number of resources detailing initiatives to make the field more inclusive. If you found a particular aspect of book production intriguing, such as papermaking or woodcut prints, try searching for literature looking at the subject more in depth. The history of bookselling also is extensive and well-documented. Below are just a few possible search terms to get you started:

history of the book

book history

bibliography

printing 

printing press

bookbinding

codex

incunabula

illuminated manuscript

bookseller 

woodcut print

 

Since book history is such an interdisciplinary field, searching with a tool that looks through a wide variety of subjects, like Google Scholar, can help you find sources you might otherwise overlook.

Google Scholar Search