About David Whitesell

David Whitesell is a curator in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at UVa and a faculty member at Rare Book School, where he teaches courses in pre-1800 printed books and descriptive bibliography.

Lafayette at U. Va.

This summer the French frigate Hermione—a reconstruction of the vessel which, in 1780, brought the Marquis de Lafayette back to the United States with welcome news of French aid, and which then helped to secure final victory at Yorktown in … Continue reading

This Just In: Problematic Provenance

My previous post on the acquisition of U.Va.’s first papyrus manuscript has been a popular one, made more so by a subsequent U.Va. news release. Two readers have since contacted me with a question unaddressed in the blog post and … Continue reading

This Just In: Please Welcome P. Virginia 1!

Please note: This post has been updated by a follow-up post. The Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library’s collections span over 4 millennia, from Babylonian clay tablets dating to ca. 2000 BCE, to poetry published only this spring via … Continue reading

This Just In: Mapping with Movable Types

This week we feature an acquisition made many years ago, but one whose true significance was discovered only this month. The Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library has long possessed a copy of Tableaux historiques & topographiques, ou Relations … Continue reading

William Blake, Visionary

A new exhibition, “William Blake, Visionary / Envisioning William Blake,” is now on view in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library’s 1st floor exhibition gallery. William Blake (1757-1827) died in obscurity, the genius of his visionary art only … Continue reading

This Just In: We Welcome The Day of Doom!

Today’s post actually concerns an important acquisition made nearly two years ago. At that time the item was too fragile for reader use. But after extensive conservation treatment, it is now ready and available. Please join us in welcoming to … Continue reading

The Book in Tibet

U.Va. has long been a world leader in advancing our understanding of the Western book through bibliographical scholarship. Happily, U.Va.’s considerable bibliographical expertise is now being applied more broadly, as scholars take an increasing interest in adapting the techniques of … Continue reading

This Just In: New in the McGregor Library

Every autumn the U.Va. Library hosts the annual Tracy W. and Katherine W. McGregor Distinguished Lecture in American History. This year the speaker was Edward L. Ayers, President of the University of Richmond and formerly professor of history at U.Va., … Continue reading

This Just In: Perspectives on Publishing

Followers of “This Just In” will know of the Small Special Collections Library’s deep interest in primary sources relating to all aspects of publishing, whether from the perspective of author, publisher, bookseller, reader, or even censor. Here we present a … Continue reading

This Just In: Jacket Required!

Yes, you read that correctly: the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library has implemented a dress code. Um, for books, that is. Henceforth all future book acquisitions from, say, 1880 to the present are requested to arrive suitably attired … Continue reading