For Book Collectors
The No. 44 Society
In 2006, The Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois established a book collectors’ club for acquisitive book lovers who have a book collection or would like to begin one.
Inspired by the fine collection of American wit and humor, including broad Twain holdings, at the University of Illinois, The No. 44 Society takes its name from the hero of Mark Twain's last novel, No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger, a fantastical, but little-known Twain story set in a fifteenth-century print shop. The only requirements for membership are to have read Twain’s novel and to love books.
The club attracts a lively mixture of undergraduates, graduates, faculty members, and local and regional collectors. Members offer advice to beginning collectors, share tips and tidbits about dealers and collectors, and regale one another with tales of the chase. Members also make formal presentations on their collections.
In short, it is a convivial club for mysterious strangers united by a shared affliction called bibliophilia.
The No. 44 Society meets at 3:00 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month in The Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Room 346 of the Main Library.
2012/2013 Schedule of Meetings of
The NO. 44 SOCIETY,
a Convivial Confab for Book Collectors
September 12, 2012, 3:00PM in RBML
The Emblems Portal: A presentation by Tom Kilton, Mara Wade, Tim Cole, and M.J. Han. This multi-media presentation will bring us up-to-date on an important online project to link digital emblems resources.
October 10, 2012, 3:00PM in RBML
Daniel Traister, the Curator of Research Services, Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library, at the University of Pennsylvania will deliver the third annual Joan Friedman Lecture in Book History, Circulating a Copy of Thomas Gray's "Poems" (1775) in 1776. He has written extensively on the history of books and printing and on topics in English and American literature.
November 14, 2012, 3:00PM (Venue to be determined)
Library Conservators will lead hands-on demonstrations about box-making for books. Registration for the event is now closed.
December 12, 2012, 3:00PM in RBML
Come join us for a Holiday Cheer Party and Book Brag. Kolb-Proust Archivist Caroline Szylowicz will also present an update on the RBML "biblioTECH" our new center for new technologies and special collections. Club members are invited to bring highlights from their collections to display.
February 13, 2013 AT 3:00PM in RBML
Names Swallowed by the Cold: Uncovering Hidden Histories of Arctic Explorations. Exhibtion tour with special presentation by Adam Doskey, Curator.
March 13, 2013, 3:00 PM in RBML
Art historian Stephen Scher will speak on; Collecting Art in the Italian Renaissance: Rome, Florence, Mantua. Scher is a collector and contributing curator of exhibitions at the Frick, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York.
April 10, 2013, 3:00PM in RBML
Please join us at the April No. 44 Society meeting for a stimulating round-table discussion of the tension between collecting and scholarship.
Led by No. 44 Society members John Dussinger, Bart Clark, and Clay Dean, the talk will focus how private collecting impacts, for better or for worse, the accumulation of scholarly resources.
May 8, 2013, 3:00PM in RBML
Travis McDade, Curator of Rare Law Books at the University of Illinois Law Library, will present on his new book, Thieves of Book Row (Oxford University Press, May 2013). Hot-off-the-press copies of his book will be available for purchase.