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  • Kathleen Comerford

Silver linings, progress, and exciting things to come

At the end of last year, I noted that I had been unable to secure a graduate assistant for the coming academic year (Fall 2020-Spring 2021). Unfortunately, that hasn't changed. Fortunately, I've found another way to continue work on the Project. The Office of Research Services and Sponsored Programs at Georgia Southern, on behalf of the Provost, approved funding for undergraduate research assistants via a competitive process. Well, readers, I was approved! Rachel Oliver began work last week on a new angle: studying the women printers in the database.


For those of you who haven't looked deep into the data, this may be a surprise, but I've identified at least 1,500 separate printers of the now-4,500+ books published covering the 2.25 centuries in the database. Of these, at least 84 were women, and I have my suspicions about at least another 19--in other words, something like 6% of the printers were women. Most are identified as "widow of," but we've had some luck in finding actual names for a significant chunk of these, and we're still looking. One of the requirements for funding this project was a public presentation, so stay tuned for more information, and photos from the University Undergraduate Research Symposium in April. We are hoping to fill in some big gaps in the information that is available about women who worked in print shops in early modern Europe--as publishers (that is, as those who financially supported the publication of a given work), printers, printer's assistants, etc. The size of the data set also allows us to explore the kinds of books women published or assisted on. In general, the history of printing has been dominated by our information about a few large print shops named after the men who founded them--but quite often, women ran the shops, and we want to make their stories known.


I've updated the "About Us" page with Rachel's photo and a brief bio, and added information about Jeff Mortimore, who has been an invaluable support with Digital Commons and related issues. Alas, I realized while writing this that I haven't updated the spreadsheets available via the website. I have added a LOT of data since the last update, and have also worked on transcribing some of the MS inventories, so I apologize for the delay. I will put this on the to-do list ASAP!

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