Upcoming Events


Upcoming Events: 

Please email us for the location or, if necessary, a Zoom link for these events.

February 10, 2022 Program

David Weaver

Ohioana: Celebrating Ohio Literature 

David Weaver became Executive Director of the Ohioana Library in 2013 after eight years as its first Development Director. Before that, David held senior development positions with the WOSU Stations and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. He also served as executive director of Malabar Farm Foundation and managing director of Columbus Light Opera, which he co-founded. David is the author of Black Diva of the Thirties: The Life of Ruby Elzy, published in 2004 by University Press of Mississippi. He attended Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati, majoring in voice.


March 10, 2022 Program

Jolie Braun

American Book Canvassing Samples from The Ohio State University’s Rare Books & Manuscripts Library

During the latter half of the nineteenth century, canvassers traveled throughout American small towns and rural communities, selling books in places where there were limited opportunities to acquire them. The publications they peddled were designed for broad appeal, often featuring decorated bindings and lavish illustrations. The Rare Books & Manuscripts Library has more than 100 book canvassing samples—an abbreviated version shown to potential customers to pique their interest. Although these items were not intended to be saved, they can provide a fascinating window into American publishing and reading habits of the era. This talk will take a closer look at some of these items as well as related materials in the collections. 

Jolie Braun is the Curator of Modern Literature and Manuscripts at The Ohio State University Libraries, where she oversees the modern literature holdings and provides special collections-based instruction. Her research interests include women publishers and booksellers, literary archives, zines, and self-publishing. Her recent writing has appeared in American Periodicals: A Journal of History, Criticism, and Bibliography and Fine Books & Collections. She can be reached at braun.338@osu.edu and found on Twitter at @joliebraun.

April 14, 2022 Program

Frank Mowery

A Conservator’s Journey Through History

Frank will discuss 35 years of improvements in book and paper conservation, covering a wide range of conservation issues, and finish with a presentation of some of his exquisite fine bindings. 

John Franklin Mowery trained as a fine bookbinder at the National Academy of Fine Arts, Hamburg, Germany, from 1971-75, under the instruction of Kurt Londenberg. During that time he also began training in book conservation at the National and University Library, Hamburg. In 1975, upon graduation, he was granted the title Master Bookbinder. He went on to train in Vienna, Austria for several years at the National Arts Academy in art and paper conservation, and went on to an internship at the Bibliotheca Nationale Centrale in Florence, Italy. He returned to the States and took his first job at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, but shortly thereafter was offered the position of Head of Conservation at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, a position he held for 35 years. Upon leaving the conservation department, he spent the next couple of years as the Rare Bindings Specialist, photo documenting most of the important volumes in the collection and writing detailed aesthetic and technical descriptions as only a bookbinder could—thus establishing the Library’s historic binding’s database, Luna.Folger.edu. 

Frank served as President of the Guild of Book Workers for 10 years and participated in numerous exhibitions displaying his Fine Bindings, most notably a one man show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1982, and numerous international exhibitions. 

For more than 40 years, he has maintained a private practice. His clients include galleries, museums, libraries, dealers, and private collectors in the United States and abroad. He specializes in particularly difficult paper conservation problems such as stain reduction (mold stain, foxing, acid burn, adhesive stains, ink stains), severe paper loss, and distorted vellum documents. He built the first American Leafcaster (miniature paper making machine) used in filling in losses in paper using toned paper pulp. This has led him to teach his techniques in numerous countries around the world. 

He currently lives in Venice, Florida where he still maintains a busy conservation studio, working on historical documents and rare books, but mostly fine art on paper.

May 12, 2022 Program

Jeffrey Gress

The Work of Mathias Armbruster: Research and Resources Regarding the Study of Armbruster’s Theatrical Scenic Design Work in Columbus and the Midwest 

Matthias Armbruster was a pivotal figure in the growth of theater production not only in Columbus but throughout the Midwest after the Civil War through into the early 20th Century. He and his family operated a scenic studio on the bank of the Ohio Canal and German Village. After immigrating to this country in the late 1830s he served in the military, and painted stained glass before moving to Columbus from Cincinnati. The company he founded outlasted his life as his children carried on after his death. In the 1920’s the Schell family bought out the business and has run the painted background and theatrical lighting company ever since. 

Jeffrey Gress is a professor at Capital University in Columbus. For 15 years he has taught courses for theater technology while researching and publishing articles about the history of scenic design through the growth in the Midwest. 


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