Rosenbach lectures uncover the first mass media campaign to abolish slavery

By Robin Goldstein

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Photo Credit: fotosipsak/iStock Photo

When did the first humanitarian mass media campaign begin, and what did it accomplish? Who were the social media influencers of the time? In what forms was this message transported through print? Can echoes of this campaign still be heard today?

Rare Book School at the University of Virginia is pleased to announce that Michael Suarez, will deliver the 90th annual A. S. W. Rosenbach Lectures on March 16, 17, and 19 at the University of Pennsylvania. “Printing Abolition: How the Fight to Ban the British Slave Trade was won, 1783-1807” will offer a fresh perspective on British abolition, richly informed by political prints and personal correspondence, newspapers and pamphlets, account books and committee minutes, parliamentary reports and private diaries.

Through this series of highly illustrated lectures, Suarez will trace the production and distribution of abolitionist print, revealing the hidden networks that variously sustained the first humanitarian mass media campaign. Creating ties to the humanitarian campaigns of our time, Suarez considers forced migration, human trafficking, and modern-day slavery, and what the drive to stop Britain’s shameful trade can teach us today.

See www.library.upenn.edu/about/exhibits-events/rosenbach2020

About Michael Suarez

In addition to serving as Executive Director of Rare Book School and University Professor at the University of Virginia, Suarez is a Jesuit priest. The Editor-in-Chief of Oxford Scholarly Editions Online, he recently completed his term as a Distinguished Presidential Fellow of the Council on Library and Information Resources in Washington, DC, and was nominated by President Obama to the National Council on the Humanities. In 2015, he delivered the Lyell Lectures in Bibliography and Book History at Oxford University. Since 2008, three of Suarez’s publications have been named Books of the Year by the Times Literary Supplement. The Sunday Telegraph (London) said his Oxford Companion to the Book was “colossal… a paradise for book lovers,” while the Wall Street Journal called it “a fount of knowledge where the Internet is but a slot machine.”

About Rare Book School

Rare Book School (RBS) at the University of Virginia, is a non-profit institute that engages in advocacy, education, and outreach for the study, care, and uses of written, printed, and born-digital materials. Each year, the School offers continuing education opportunities for adult students to study with leading scholars and professionals in the fields of bibliography, librarianship, book history, manuscript studies, and the digital humanities. The School’s courses run at UVA and at the Morgan Library and Museum; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library; the Thomas J. Watson Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library; the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Lillian Goldman Law Library, and Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University; the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania; the Library Company of Philadelphia; the Free Library of Philadelphia; Amherst College; Indiana University Bloomington; the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library; the Harvard-Yenching Library, and the Houghton Library at Harvard University.

About the A. S. W. Rosenbach Lectures in Bibliography

Begun in 1931, the Rosenbach Lectures are the oldest and most prestigious series of book-historical lectures in the United States. Over the years, lecture topics have ranged from medieval manuscripts to reading in the digital age. Among recent lecturers are Paul Needham (Princeton), Ann Blair (Harvard), William Zachs (Edinburgh), and Mary J. Carruthers (NYU).


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