A photo of Martha Graham dancing
About the image

Yousuf Karsh, Martha Graham, 1948 © Yousuf Karsh, Gift of Estrellita Karsh in memory of Yousuf Karsh. National Portrait Gallery

Beyond Brontë: The Essential Act of Collecting Books by Women

With some notable exceptions, the story and history of the rare book trade has historically been defined and narrated by its bookmen, rare book dealers and collectors whose interests have centered primarily on a white, male, and western literary canon and who have had limited shelf space for work by women.

As a result, both bookwomen and books by women have been overshadowed in the trade. Work by women is significantly less represented on the shelves in rare bookstores and at rare book fairs, as well as in auction and trade catalogs, and the prices for their work are not equivalent to their male contemporaries.

Devers will explore these historic imbalances, as well as imbalances in the publishing industry, and suggest how collecting work by women can redress gender imbalance not only in the trade, but in the literary canon, and how it can and has already begun to directly impact the cultural conversation around what deserves to be collected and preserved.


Lectures & Discussions


Smithsonian Libraries


Natural History Museum

Event Location

Q?rius Theater

Related Exhibition

Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collect