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Seminar ‘How to work with Sammelbände? Understanding the van Buchell collection’ (1 ECTS)

How to work with Sammelbände? Understanding the van Buchell collection.

UCMS Seminar on Premodern Reading Cultures

11 October 2019, Special Collections, Utrecht University Library

Huizinga members can participate for 1 ECTS.


Sammelbände, that is to say volumes of printed texts created at the request of their buyers, were a ubiquitous phenomenon in in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Europe. Surprisingly, they have not been studied as such yet. Because they can be studied from many angles, Sammelbände are of interest for scholars of many disciplines, from Antiquity to the early modern period. They touch on topics as diverse as the reception of Ancient authors in later periods; the material features of the Sammelbände that inform us on medieval and early modern binding practices; the rescue of medieval fragments preserved in the bindings; premodern reading practices (annotating books, claiming ownership, circulating books in a network of readers)… Another crucial question lies in the way we can use digital humanities to make these items more accessible to a large audience, with a system of digitisation and of description of the volumes in library and research databases.

The one-day seminar will consist of papers around one specific collection of Sammelbände kept at Utrecht University Library, the van Buchell collection, as well as other examples and perspectives that will allow reflecting on the new methodologies and tools we can use to study these objects. There will also be a presentation of books from the van Buchell collection.

RMA students and PhD students can receive 1 ECTS via the Huizinga Institute for attending the Seminar and writing a synthesis of what they will have observed and learned during the day.

The workshop is free of charge (lunch and coffee breaks included) but is limited to 35 participants. Please register before October 7, 2019, via this link:


Organisation: Katell Lavéant ( & Ann-Marie Hansen (


More information on the workshop (see PDF)



Friday 11 October 2019 – Bucheliuszaal, Utrecht University Library (Uithof Science Campus, 6th floor)


9:30-10:00: welcome and coffee


Morning session: (re)discovering the van Buchell collection

10:00-10:10: Opening – Bart Jaski: The van Buchell collection: a tale of misers and cheaters

10:10-10:50: Malcolm Walsby: Analysing the riches of the van Buchell Sammelbände

10:50-11:10: Bart Jaski: From manuscript to maculature: the unique testimony of van Buchell’s books

11:10-11:50: Katell Lavéant & Ann-Marie Hansen: Traces of use: how readers left their marks in the Van Buchell volumes


12:00-13:00: lunch

13:00-14:30: book presentation (two groups for better access to the books)


Afternoon session: beyond van Buchell

14:30-15:10: John Tholen: Reading classical mythology: a case study of an early modern Sammelband

15:10-15:50: Arja Firet: Old books and new technologies: the challenges and potential of digitisation and digital humanities

15:50-16:00: conclusions