The production, distribution, and reception of books, newspapers, and other printed materials in colonial and early national America up to the 1820s. Among the specific topics to be considered are: the role of imported books, the factors limiting the spread of printing, the proliferation of newspapers and circulating libraries, the press in the Revolutionary era, the shift from printing to publishing in the 1790s, the reprint trade, copyright legislation and practice, author-publisher relations, the decentralized nature of the book trade, the rise of cooperative interregional book distribution systems, the structural flaws in the book trade, its near-collapse during the War of 1812, and its recovery and reorganization in the 1820s.
Rare Book School (RBS) is an independent, non-profit institute supporting the study of the history of books and printing and related subjects. Founded in 1983, it moved to its present home at the University of Virginia in 1992. At various times during the year, Rare Book School offers about 30 five-day courses on topics concerning old and rare books, manuscripts, and special collections. The majority of courses take place in Charlottesville, but courses are also offered in New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, DC. Most courses are limited to twelve or fewer students, who make a full-time commitment to any course they attend, from 8:30 or 9 am through 5 pm, Monday - Friday.