Winter Speaker Series: The Great Monopolist of Books: Henry Stevens, Jr., of Vermont with Denise Gigante
This talk will discuss the role of Henry Stevens, Jr. (son of the elder Henry Stevens who founded the Vermont Historical Society) in the American antiquarianism that raged in the transatlantic book world in the 1840s. That role included the purchase of a small but sensational collection of association copies from George Washington’s library at Mount Vernon, which highlighted differences between British and American collecting habits and perspectives.
Denise Gigante, the Sadie Dernham Patek Professor of Humanities at Stanford University, is the author of Book Madness: A Story of Book Collectors in America (Yale UP, 2022). The book examines the bibliomania that raged in the transatlanic world in the mid-nineteenth century through a circle of collectors, publishers, editors, antiquarians, bibliophiles, and others who gathered around the sale of Charles Lamb’s library in New York in 1848. It is a sequel of sorts to The Keats Brothers: The Life of John and George (Harvard UP, 2011), a dual biography of the English poet and his younger brother who emigrated to Illinois (ultimately Kentucky) in 1818.