• Lecture

Toward a History of Black Print 

Elizabeth McHenry, New York University

In this series of three lectures, Elizabeth McHenry turns her attention to several overlapping areas of Black print culture studies that have yet to be sufficiently explored: the business of printing, the history of Black printers, and the extension of African American literary and print culture.

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March 11 - 14, 2024
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Hybrid event: Class of 78 Orrery Pavilion, Kislak Center, 6th Floor Van Pelt-Dietrich Library; and virtual (via Zoom)
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Open to the Public

Hosted by: Kislak Center

A group of Black men and women operate printing presses

Registration information: all three lectures will be held in person and also streamed virtually, via Zoom webinar. Please register separately for each lecture (see below).

In this series of three lectures, Elizabeth McHenry turns her attention to several overlapping areas of Black print culture studies that have yet to be sufficiently explored: the business of printing, the history of Black printers, and the extension of African American literary and print culture. 

McHenry is particularly attentive to the capacity of small printing offices to experiment with different print formats and the impact of the rapid rise in printing as a course of study at Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the South around the turn from the 19th to the 20th century. Scholars of African American literature have largely overlooked the products of student-run printing offices and small job printing businesses during this time, which included single-sheet publications, leaflets and pamphlets. 

These textual objects confound bibliographic interpretation, and the story of their production, distribution and use will be difficult to tell. But it is critical to our efforts to expand our knowledge of African American literary history and in particular, our understanding of literary and print cultures of the Black South.   

Event Series

Man standing in front of wall of bookshelves holding open book

The A.S.W. Rosenbach Lectures in Bibliography

The Rosenbach Lectures are the longest continuing series of bibliographical lectureships in the United States. Rosenbach Fellows typically present three lectures over a period of one-two weeks.

Featured image: Printing with printing presses at Claflin University, Orangeburg, S.C., ca. 1899. Library of Congress.