Calligraphy to Comics: The A. Dean Larsen Book Collecting Conference Expands its Reach

The A. Dean Larsen Book Collecting Conference for 2014, which will be held March 13-14, is reaching out to a new generation of collectors. The conference will feature sessions on collecting Victorian peepshows and panoramas. There will be a session looking at the work of the author Orson Scott Card, from the short story Ender’s Game through its retelling in novel form and the recent motion picture. And as always there will be a number of sessions on collecting Mormon materials. Rachel Wadham, author of This Is My Life: A Guide to Realist Fiction for Teens, will present a seminar on contemporary Mormon children’s fiction, while Gregory Seppi will present a seminar on the print culture of Mormonism.

New this year will be a special speaker, Father Eric Hollas, OSB, who will talk about the Saint John’s Bible. Hollas is one of the key people behind the Saint John’s Bible project, a hand-written and hand-illustrated illuminated Bible. The L. Tom Perry Special Collections will have their heritage editions of the Bible on display at one of the sessions along with other devotional works including medieval texts.

At the other extreme, Trevor Alvord, a new curator at Brigham Young University, will present a session on collecting Mormon comics and pop culture. His seminar will include comics about Mormons and by Mormons, as well as board games and role playing games. Alvord is the Curator of 21st Century Mormonism and Western Americana. He is representative of a new generation of curators who are taking on the challenge of collecting new forms of media.

The annual A. Dean Larsen Book Collecting Conference is sponsored by the L. Tom Perry Special Collections in the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Thanks to the kind support of a donor, the cost of the conference is largely underwritten and registration is only $35.00. There is also a day of pre-conference workshops. This year Joan Merrell, past president of the International Association for Calligraphic Arts, will teach a half-day workshop on illumination, Judy Sommerfeldt will teach an introduction to calligraphy, and Kohleen Reader, the library’s Head of Conservation, along with Christina Thomas, Conservator of Rare Books, will teach a workshop on preserving family papers and photographs. The workshops are also $35.00.

Full information, including descriptions of the seminars, the workshops, biographies of the presenters, and online registration can be found at

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