The L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library presents a mini-conference:

The Gentle Madness of Book Collecting
October 24, 2003

Conference Overview

Program Schedule

Register Now!

Download the conference pamphlet (PDF)

Download the conference poster (PDF)


To register, please call 801.378.2568
Register online at Registration
(No longer Available)

Conference Overview

L. Tom Perry Special Collections will be hosting a special conference entitled "The Gentle Madness of Book Collecting" in room 1130 of the Harold B. Lee Library on October 24, 2003. Speakers will include administration and curators of the department. Featured activities will include small group seminars with hands-on opportunities; interaction with book collectors, curators, and conservators; as well as behind the scenes tours of the special collection vaults.

We take the title of our conference from Nicholas Basbanes' wonderful, 1995 book on bibliophiles and bibliomania. As he posits, one irony of the modern internet age is that the passion to possess books is as pervasive today as ever in recorded history. It is still a Gentle Madness. There are those of us who work in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections of the Harold B. Lee library at BYU that have been smitten by this marvelous disease for some time. We, however, collect our books with the intention of sharing them with all who wish to come. Hence, the purpose of our series of seminars is to invite you to take an afternoon and evening to join with us as you indulge your own gentle madness for books. Don Quixote de la Mancha, you recall, addicted himself to the reading of books of chivalry. If you suffer from a book addiction, we promise we will not cure you when we see you on October 24.

Registration Information

The cost of registration is $45.00, which includes an evening meal and entertainment.
To guarantee space, please register before October 1, 2003.
To register, please call BYU conferences and workshops at 801.378.2568. Please have your credit card ready.

To register, please call 801.378.2568
Register online at

Program Schedule

1:00 p.m. Conference Welcome
Randy J. Olsen
University Librarian

1:05-1:15 “Collecting in the 21st Century"
Brad Westwood
Chair, L. Tom Perry Special Collections

1:15-1:45 "The Madness Within Me: My Passion for Building Book Collections"
Rex Maughan- Chairman of the Board and President of Forever Living Products International

1:45-2:30 (Concurrent Seminars)

No. 1 "Mormon Incunabula: The Infancy of Mormon Publishing"
Larry Draper
Curator, American Collection, L. Tom Perry Special Collections

View, examine, and discuss the rarity, influence, and significance of the foundational publications of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Mormonism’s first scriptures, periodicals, hymnals, missionary tracts and theological treatises. Understand the influence of these publications on the growth on the new religious movement called Mormonism.

No. 2 “Back in the Saddle: Collecting Western Fiction.”
Russ Taylor
Reference Services Librarian, L. Tom Perry Special Collections

Beadle’s Dime Novels, Munro’s Nickel Books, and series like “The Adventures of Buffalo Bill” were forms of popular entertainment in the late nineteenth century. From these cheap paper-covered novelettes to the original manuscripts and first editions of Zane Grey, we explore the world of the Western. (Did you know we own six original Zane Grey manuscripts?)

No. 3 “The Top 40: The Most Influential Books Ever Printed.”

Scott Duvall
Assistant University Librarian for Special Collections

Elizabeth Eisenstein has stated that no political, ecclesiastical, economic, scientific, philosophical, or literary movement can be completely understood without taking into account the influence of the printing press. In this seminar we will examine the books that have underscored the rise of western civilization since Gutenberg first printed with moveable type.

2:30-2:45 Break

2:45-3:30 (Concurrent Seminars)

No. 4 “It’s My Press and I’ll Print What I Want to: Collecting Modern Fine Printing”
Robert Maxwell
Rare Book Cataloger, L. Tom Perry Special Collections

Unlike other types of rare books, it is still possible to acquire modern fine printing, hot off the press, for reasonable prices. The private press movement has flourished during the last several decades. Books produced by private/fine presses are typified by high quality, often by hand, workmanship. The seminar will show highlights of our fine press collection and discuss how collectors can acquire these books.

No. 5 “Conservation and Preservation: The Art of Preventing Dilapidation”

Mark Pollei
Chair, Conservation Department

Books have the ability to survive. Nonetheless, they need care and attention. In this seminar we will outline some basic steps by which collectors can ensure the long term “survival” and “fitness” of their collections.

No. 6 “Street Literature: Common Reading, Uncommon Times”

Brad Westwood
Chair, L. Tom Perry Special Collections

The democratization of reading during the 19th century led to far reaching changes in English and American cultures. Printed material (newspapers, leaflets, broadsides, gift goods and a sea of colorful print ephemera) became increasingly aimed at a mass audience. In this seminar we will examine the world of “street literature” and other printed works generated for a growing consumer society. This material is often affordable and in some ways is the most interesting to collect.

3:30-4:15 (Concurrent Seminars)
Repeat of three most requested seminars.

4:15-4:30 Break

4:30-5:15 Concluding Keynote Speech
Speaker to be announced.

5:15-6:00 Tour
Three concurrent tours of the facilities (including vaults) of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections.

7:00 p.m. Dinner and Entertainment