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Please join the ABAA Gender Equity Initiative on Zoom on February 14th, 2024, at 2 PM ET for a Brown Bag Lunch Series with Alexandra (Allie) Alvis, Curator of Special Collections, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library.   

Rare books and manuscripts are more than historical objects, they are potent – and elastic – symbols. Shifting cultural values emphasize (and de-emphasize) parts of history to suit their goals, with books frequently being caught up in the mix, but rarely a focal point. Despite being relegated to supporting roles, the material forms of books in popular culture specifically tell us a great deal not only about how non-specialists conceptualize historical periods, but of how they understand book history in general. 

Enter Pop Bibliography. The most common place people encounter book history is not in the library, but through popular media. Pop Bibliography is the study of the production and reception of bibliography through this media lens, to reverse-engineer the popular concept(s) of the "Old Book" in Western pop culture. This talk will delve into the origins of some of the historical sources of these concepts, and address how they speak to the fetishization of the book as an object in the digital age. 


Allie Alvis

February 14th @ 2pm
Alexandra (Allie) Alvis - Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library 
Pop Bibliography: Finding Book History in Popular Media


Allie Alvis (she/they) is the Curator of Special Collections at the Winterthur Library. They are also a facilitator of the Rare Book School Mellon Fellowship for Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Heritage, as well as the editor of the SHARP News Features section. Allie has formerly worked as a rare book cataloguer for Type Punch Matrix, and as the special collections reference librarian of the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives. Their research is diverse and far-reaching, and includes publications on the reuse of type ornaments in 16th and 17th century England, the work of bookbinders Douglas Cockerell and Son, and the use of arsenical green pigments in bookbinding. Allie is particularly interested in the use of social media for communicating book history, and maintains popular accounts across various platforms as Book Historia. They received their MScs in Material Culture and Book History, and Information Management from the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow respectively, and a BA in Linguistics from the University of Kansas. They will be teaching a course on Pop Bibliography for CalRBS in August.


Buffy & Giles

Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) consult the source of all wisdom, an "old book," before ridding Sunnydale of vampires in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.