Next week we are excited to begin our new series called Collections at the Center. Each quarter we will be inviting a faculty expert on campus to intimately interact with historical items from our collections, including rare books, archival materials, and manuscripts. The faculty member will present a brief lecture to contextualize, question, and reflect on these items for a public audience. Attendees will be invited to get “up close and personal” with the materials, looking closer to find new details and new discoveries. We’ll conclude with a discussion between presenter and audience, and together uncover captivating new ways of thinking about the collections in SCARC.
Our first presenter will be Dr. Rebecca Olson, Associate Professor in the Department of English at OSU. Professor Olson will discuss the manicule, the hand-drawn pointing index finger commonly used by readers throughout the early modern period to signify passages of interest in a text. While this mark would seem to adapt the highly social gesture of pointing for personal and solitary book use, it also draws our attention to the way that early modern readers regarded the book itself as a collective social space.