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Lisman Lecture in Early American Book Culture

Date: 
Monday, April 1, 2024

Engraved portrait of a young woman with curls on her forehead.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 at 4:00 PM
Marsh Room, Billings Library, 48 University Place, University of Vermont

Desiree Henderson, "Susanna Rowson, The Original Multihyphenate" and Betsy Klima, "Susanna Rowson's Third Act"

For some months, a team that includes Silver Special Collections librarians Chris Burns and Prudence Doherty, English professors Elizabeth Fenton and Mary Lou Kete, and UVM alumnus and book collector Bruce Lisman ('69) has been working on an Early American Literature project at UVM. The project involves significantly expanding our holdings of late 18th and early 19th century American literature to support UVM classes, research projects and events. Bruce Lisman has generously started the project with a donation of books from his collection as well as funds for additional purchases and a lecture series, the Lisman Lectures in Early American Book Culture.

Lisman’s initial donation includes a substantial number of early printings of works by Susanna Rowson (1762-1824). Rowson was a writer, actress and educator who wrote novels, poems, plays, music and textbooks. Special Collections is excited to add the first American edition of Rowson's popular novel, Charlotte Temple, published in Philadelphia in 1794. The gift also includes several other novels, her geography and spelling textbooks, a play and sheet music for her song, Orphan Nosegay Girl.

The first Lisman Lecture in Early American Book Culture will be held on April 17, 2024 and will include presentations and discussion that center on Rowson’s work. The event will open with an introductory discussion of the new collection. Two Rowson scholars, Desiree Henderson (University of Texas at Arlington) and Betsy Klima (University of Massachusetts Boston) will speak about their work on Rowson and her importance to American book culture. UVM professors Kete and Fenton will join the presenters in discussion. There will be time for audience questions and conversation.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Silver Special Collections at uvmsc@uvm.edu or 802-656-2138.