Pre-Conference Activities

“Opening of Mass Aggie”
[Massachusetts Agricultural College, the forerunner of the University]
mural in UMass Campus Center

Sunday, 14 July

Pre- pre-conference
Behind the Scenes at the American Antiquarian Society (AAS), Worcester, Massachusetts

late afternoon, Sunday, 14 July

We realize that relatively few SHARPists may choose to arrive as early as the 14th, but both we and the AAS wanted to offer this rare opportunity for those who are here (we may be able to adjust details of timing depending on your needs).

The American Antiquarian Society is the preeeminent institution for all resources on early America, including the history of the book. It has just undergone a major expansion and modernization.

This tour would introduce SHARPists to the collections as well as the renovation of the facilities.



If you are interested in participating in this excursion, please write us at sharpamherst at gmail dot com .

(tentative time; we may be able to adjust depending on your schedules

[* * *]

Monday, 15 July

I. Limited Space Available

• 1. Frost Library Special Collections, Amherst College

(note: application process–see below; estimated 16-20 participants)

c. 12:30-4:30 p.m. (tentative time)

(transportation from UMass provided; check this site for details and updates)


An Introduction to the Native American Book with Michael Kelly, Head of Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College 

The focus of this seminar is the The Kim-Wait/Eisenberg Native American Literature Collection. The Archives & Special Collections at Amherst College holds perhaps the largest collection of Native-authored books in the United States. After purchasing the private collection of 1,400 Native-authored books assembled by Pablo Eisenberg, Amherst has added more than 1,000 additional items, and continues to acquire very actively in this field. The collection includes nearly 150 items published before 1900, including extremely scarce books from the close of the eighteenth century. Recently published works include children’s books, comic books, card games, and artists’ books. For example, the collection includes five different printings of Samson Occom’s (Mohegan) A Sermon, Preached at the Execution of Moses Paul, An Indian (1772–1827); the only surviving copy of Gertrude Bonnin’s (Lakota) The Constitution and Bylaws of the National Council of American Indians (1926); extremely scarce poetry chapbooks by Gerald Vizenor (Anishinaabeg), Joy Harjo (Creek), Maurice Kenney (Mohawk), Cheryl Savageau (Abenaki), and many dictionaries and indigenous-language resources. The focus of the collection is Native authorship regardless of topic, format, or intended audience.

In this workshop, Mike Kelly (Head, Archives & Special Collections) will survey more than 350 years of Indigenous engagement with print in North America. Participants will view dozens of rare books and periodicals that illustrate the range and variety of “the Native Book.”

Application process: Send a brief biographical statement and expression of interest (the latter, no more than 500 words) to Mike Kelly: mkelly at amherst dot edu .

Preparation: Participants should read Removable Type: Histories of the Book in Indian Country, 1663-1880 and be prepared for a lively conversation about indigenous intellectual sovereignty and the role of the press in Native North America.






2. Behind-the-Scenes Tours at the Book Historical Institutions
on the Hampshire College campus Yiddish Book Center and Eric Carle Museum

c. 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. (tentative time)
(transportation from UMass provided; check this site for details and updates)

(limited space: estimated 16-20 participants)

Curators and other staff will explain the missions and histories of these two pioneering institutions and take participants on behind-the-scenes tours of collections and facilities.

• Yiddish Book Center 

The Yiddish Book Center is a nonprofit organization working to recover, celebrate, and regenerate Yiddish and modern Jewish literature and culture.
The million books recovered by the Yiddish Book Center represent Jews’ first sustained literary and cultural encounter with the modern world. They are a window on the past thousand years of Jewish history, a precursor of modern Jewish writing in English, Hebrew and other languages, and a springboard for new creativity. Since our founding in 1980 we have launched a wide range of bibliographic, educational, and cultural programs to share these treasures with the wider world.

Note: If you are planning on visiting the Yiddish Book Center on your own while attending SHARP, please be advised that it is closed from late Friday afternoon through Saturday for the Jewish sabbath. [hours]
Free guided tours are available Sundays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Tuesdays at 2 p.m.

• Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art 

The Eric Carle Museum 

The mission of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a non-profit organization in Amherst, Massachusetts, is to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. A leading advocate in its field, The Carle collects, preserves, presents, and celebrates picture books and picture book illustrations from around the world. In addition to underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form, The Carle offers educational programs that provide a foundation for arts integration and literacy.

The Carle houses more than 11,000 objects, including 7,300 permanent collection illustrations, three art galleries, an art studio, a theater, picture book and scholarly libraries, and educational programs for families, scholars, educators, and schoolchildren. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country and four onsite graduate programs in Children’s Literature in collaboration with Simmons College.

[hours and admission information for those intending to visit on their own time while attending SHARP 2019.

II. Open to All

Amherst Walking Tour/Literary Sites 
(Conference Co-Chair Jim Wald; Georgia Barnhill, Past Curator of Graphic Arts, American Antiquarian Society; Cynthia Harbeson, Curator, Jones Library Special Collections)

tentative time c. 1:00-4:00

1730 West Cemetery,
This “burying ground,” carved out of the original royal highway, contains a piece of the old hilly Colonial topography hidden away behind a gas station, shops, and apartments in downtown Amherst. Among notables buried there are poet Emily Dickinson, past presidents of Amherst College, including Edward Hitchcock and his wife and intellectual collaborator Orra White Hitchcock, and Civil War soldiers (some, African-American, among them, veterans of the Massachusetts 54th Volunteer Infantry, made famous by the film, “Glory”).

Many of these individuals, as well as other local literary figures such as poet Robert Frost, were depicted on the community history mural. The building on which it was painted was recently demolished to make way for a new structure, and artist David Fichter is in the process of recreating his work here this summer.


Jones Library: Centennial Exhibit & Special Collections highlights

Teacher Caroline Phebe Dutch Hunt (1799-1861) holding a book
Part of the exhibit on Mabel Loomis Todd
Emily Dickinson’s famous white dress


Amherst History Museum 
Permament exhibits include
• a room dedicated to the career of  founder Mabel Loomis Todd: civic activist, author, lecturer, artist, and first editor of Emily Dickinson’s works 
Emily Dickinson’s famous white dress)
Among items




[Further details to come. We are looking into transportation arrangements.]

John Lovell (1825-1903), Morgan Library, Amherst College
from Digital Amherst, Jones Library Special Collections