Teaching an Upper-Level French Class

Written by: Andrew Lundeen

Primary Source: The Special Collections Provenance Project at MSU, September 25, 2015

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Last week I had the privilege of teaching an upper-level French class here at MSU all about special collections, rare books, and rare book provenance.  It was a blast!

The students got a chance to work with some very old books (the earliest was printed in 1551 and the latest in 1845), transcribing and translating French annotations and marginalia left by previous owners, readers, and booksellers.

Many of the students were surprised to learn that they could actually touch the books.  Of course I went over the rules for handling the material beforehand, and everyone was very respectful and gentle with these old volumes.

The whole experience was really a win/win: Everyone seemed to have fun playing biblio-detective, and now Special Collections knows a little bit more about the ways in which these books were read and used in the past.  I can’t wait until we can do something like this again!

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Andrew Lundeen
Andrew Lundeen, a Special Collections Librarian at MSU, is a recent master’s graduate in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (‘14). Since September 2013, Andrew has spearheaded the MSU Provenance Project, an effort to document marks of ownership and marks of use in rare books at MSU.
Andrew Lundeen

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