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.

MEINE_813C59my1916a_Mysterious_001Inspired 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.

Click here to learn more about "Book Valuations."

2013/2014 Schedule of Meetings of
The NO. 44 SOCIETY,

a Convivial Confab for Book Collectors

September 11, 2013, 3:00PM in RBML

Graham Arader, New York gallery owner and book dealer on getting primary source material into the hands of students. We will also honor the winners of the 2012-13 Fletcher and Baldwin Essay Contests.

October 9, 2013, 3:00PM in RBML

Marten Stromberg, RBML Curator of Rare Books to lead tour of "Life on the Moon" exhibition. (NB: Originally scheduled for November 13)

November 13, 2013, 3:00PM in RBML

Christian DuPont, Aeon software developer and former director of the Small Library at the University of Virginia. His talk is titled: "To Hell and Back: Illustrating Dante's Inferno." (NB: Originally scheduled for October 9)

December 11, 2013, 3:00PM in RBML

Come join us for a Holiday Cheer Party and Book Brag. We will also celebrate John Milton's birthday.

February 12, 2014 AT 3:00PM in RBML

Henry Hébert, the Rare Book Conservator at the University of Illinois Library will talk about conservation and care of rare materials. Winners of the 2013 Fall Semester Fletcher and Baldwin Essay contests will also be announced.

March 12, 2014, 3:00 PM in RBML

J. Kevin Graffagnino, Director of the Clements Library at the University of Michigan will give a talk entitled; "All the Good Books: Further Confessions of an Unrepentant Bibliophile." The talk is based on Graffagnino's two volumes of book-quotes about books; Only in Books: Writers, Readers & Bibliophiles on Their Passion (1996) and All the Good Books: Quotations for Bibliophiles (2006).

April 9, 2014, 3:00PM Field Trip!

Please join us for a field trip to the Fresh Press! Pull a piece of paper and find out more about what's happening in the book arts in our area.

May 14, 2014, 3:00PM in RBML

Paul Gehl, Custodian of the John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing at the Newberry Library in Chicago will talk about the University of Illinois Cavagna Collection.