New Projects Include John Barth Signed Limited Edition, Eastern Shore Travel Guide
Chestertown, MD, November 14, 2003 — At a College that attracts writers young and old to itsO'Neill Literary House and boasts the Sophie Kerr prize—the nation's largest undergraduate literary award—it seems only fitting that book arts flourish here as well. After a brief hiatus, the Literary House Press, a small publishing venture launched by creative writing professor Bob Day with two friends of the College will start rolling again, thanks to a revitalized board of directors and a $200,000 endowment.
Founded in 1992, the Literary House Press was directed in its early years by the late Richard Harwood, former ombudsman of The Washington Post, and the late Maureen Jacoby, who served on the board of the Press and as managing editor after a career with the Smithsonian Institution Press. After her death in 2002, Jacoby left the College a $200,000 endowment. Matched by The Hodson Trust, her bequest will be used in part to support future publishing projects. In line with its original mission, the Press will continue its focus on the heritage of the Eastern Shore and its writers, said Adam Goodheart, a freelance writer, historian and C. V. Starr Fellow at Washington College, now serving as director of the Press.
“We think the Press has the potential to be a real asset to many different parts of the College community,” said Goodheart. “We'll be giving students, faculty, staff and alumni opportunities to do everything from writing books, to designing and illustrating them, to learning about the business side of publishing. This will be not just a creative venture, but an entrepreneurial one.”
The revived Press' first two projects will bring together local and national talent. The first book, to be released in 2004, will be a limited-edition printing of author John Barth's Browsing, an essay he delivered as a speech at Washington College in 1992 to mark the shelving of the 200,000th volume in Miller Library. The monograph, designed by alumnus and graphic artist James Dissette '71, is being printed by hand on the College's antique letterpress and bound in Minnesota, using handmade paper. Washington College senior Heidi Atwood '04 worked with Barth and Dissette to prepare the text for publication, while Chestertown artist Mary Rhinelander created several linoleum cuts to illustrate the book. The Press will produce 150 limited edition copies of Browsing, 50 of which will be signed by the author.
“This will set a high benchmark for the type of work we do in the future,” Dissette said. “It will be marketed specifically to universities with special collections and to bookstores that sell limited editions.”
Also in the works is a revised edition of Maryland's Eastern Shore: A Guide for Wanderers, which the Press first published in 1997, with text by travel writer Mary Corddry. For the new edition, Goodheart is soliciting short essays on Eastern Shore locales written by members of the Washington College community, turning the book into a collegiate publishing venture in the tradition of the Berkeley Guides and Harvard's Let's Go series. Students in Goodheart's spring course on travel writing will also contribute to the volume.