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.

Click here to learn more about "Book Valuations."

 2015 Fall Schedule of Meetings of

a Convivial Confab for Book Collectors

September 2, 2015, 3:00 p.m. in RBML

Anna Chen, Curator of Rare Books & Manuscripts, will speak about four centuries of fashion plates and her exhibition, "Poplin & Paper: Four Centuries of Fashion in Print."

September 8, 2015, 3:30 p.m. in RBML

Professors Elaine Hobby and Claire Bowditch from Loughborough University will present on their project, the new Cambridge Edition of the works of Aphra Behn. 3:00 p.m. in RBML.

October 1, 2015, 4:00 p.m. at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, Levis Center

"Critical Digital Humanities@llinois: Women in Print, Value-added E-books, and New Digital Collaborations" (co-sponsored by Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities). Come learn about the collaboration of RBML and the University of Illinois Press on this new e-book series.

October 7, 2015, 3:00 p.m. in RBML

Lori Newcomb (Associate Professor of English) and Adam Doskey (Curator of Rare Books & Manuscripts) will introduce their new exhibit: "Pirates of the Press: Case Studies in the Prehistory of Copyright."

October 12, 2015, 12:00 p.m. in RBML

Noontime Concert: "Works Inspired by Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus." Performers: Claire Happel, harp; Karisa Werdon, oboe; Emily Alcorn, mezzo soprano. Pieces by J. S. Bach, Elliott Carter, Harrison Birtwistle, and a premiere by Douglas Fisk.

November 4, 2015, 3:00 p.m. in RBML

Caxton Club member Susan Hanes will speak on "Wilkie Collins in America."

December 9, 2015, 3:00 p.m. in RBML

Milton’s Birthday Celebration & the traditional No. 44 Society "Book Brag."