From Manuscript to Print: Evolution or Revolution? | Newberry

From Manuscript to Print: Evolution or Revolution?

Luca Pacioli, Somma di aritmetica . . ., 1494. Newberry Inc. 5168.

Luca Pacioli, Somma di aritmetica …, 1494. Newberry Inc. 5168. Click image to enlarge.

Adam Hooks, University of Iowa

Michael Johnston, Purdue University

Research Methods Workshop for Early-Career Graduate Students
Saturday, October 24, 2015

9 am to 5 pm

Room 101

Led by Adam Hooks, University of Iowa, and Michael Johnston, Purdue University
The application deadline has passed
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Renaissance Graduate Programs

This workshop will examine the transition from the manuscript to the printed book, focusing in particular on the period 1300-1650 in England.


Participants will explore the connections and the divisions between manuscript and print cultures, and between the medieval and the early modern periods. Our purpose is to approach a crucial problem in the field by asking this guiding question: was the transition from the hand-copied book to the book produced by moveable type an evolutionary one—marked by broad continuities in the ways books were made, used, and conceptualized by readers—or revolutionary—marked by a sharp break between these practices?


The workshop will provide an introduction to the theoretical and methodological issues in the field of the history of the book, and demonstrate the advantages of collaborating across disciplinary and period boundaries.


We encourage participants to come a day or two early to pursue personal research in the Newberry reading rooms.


Learn more about the workshop directors:
Adam Hooks, University of Iowa
Michael Johnston, Purdue University


Download a PDF flyer for all this year’s methods workshops, to post and distribute.


Preliminary schedule


8:30: Coffee and introductions


9 - 12:15: Session 1


  • manuscript production and theoretical issues involving manuscript production and reception, with Michael Johnston
  • material and typographical features of early printed books, and the ways the technology of print and the business of publishing shaped interpretations, with Adam Hooks

12:15 - 12:30: Obtain Newberry reader cards


12:30 - 2: Lunch break


2 - 4:30: Session 2


  • Brief tour of and orientation to the library
  • Hands-on session with manuscripts and early printed books

4:30 - 5: Concluding discussion


We encourage students to arrive early to work on personal research in the Reading Rooms; they are open 9 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Friday and 9 am to 1 pm Saturday.


Eligibility: This workshop is open to graduate students in a terminal master’s program and those who have not yet completed comprehensive exams in a PhD program, at Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies consortium member institutions. No language prerequisites.


Travel funding: Faculty and graduate students of Center for Renaissance Studies consortium institutions may be eligible to apply for travel funds to attend CRS programs or to do research at the Newberry. Each member university sets its own policies and deadlines; contact your Representative Council member in advance for details.

Cost and Registration Information 

The application deadline has passed.