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Stephanie Stillo from the Library of Congress to Host Discussion on the History of Book Illustrations Stillo’s lecture will be held March 15 in the Harte Center Gallery.

Stillo-600x400 Stephanie Stillo from the Library of Congress to Host Discussion on the History of Book IllustrationsStephanie Stillo, Library of Congress

Stephanie Stillo, chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division (RBSCD) at the Library of Congress, will deliver a lecture titled “The Alchemy of Illustration: Process, Perception, and Pitfalls in the History of Book Illustration” at 12:15 p.m. on Friday, March 15, in the Harte Centre Gallery.

The lecture is free to the public and is sponsored by the Dean of the College Teacher-Scholar Book History Cohort. Free cupcakes will be available to those in attendance.

Stillo’s discussion will center on her forthcoming publication, “Wood, Metal, and Stone: Five Hundred Years of Book Illustration in the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection.” Heir to the Sears, Roebuck and Co. fortune, Rosenwald collected illustrated books that captured seismic events in the history of the Western world. These included books on the emergence of printing, religious reformation, scientific empiricism, enlightenment, industrialization, mass media, the private press movement and artistic modernism.

Stillo’s talk will explore examples from the Rosenwald Collection that exemplify the complicated and varied practice of combining text and images over the last 500 years. She will also discuss the RBSCD’s efforts to diversify the content and creators represented in legacy collections that have defined the field of modern book collecting.

Stillo has been with the Library of Congress since 2016, initially serving as curator of the Rosenwald Collection and the Aramont Library, before assuming her current role in October 2023. From 2014-16, Stillo served as the Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at W&L, teaching classes on digital storytelling, public history and virtual exhibitions.

“I am delighted to be able to bring Stephanie Stillo back to campus with the Book History Cohort,” said Mackenzie Brooks, associate professor and digital humanities librarian. “Stephanie was such a force during her time on campus; she was an innovative teacher, a generous collaborator and a true advocate for our new digital humanities initiatives. I know our community will appreciate hearing what she’s been up to these last eight years at the Library of Congress. It’s incredible, though not surprising, that she’s now leading the Rare Books and Special Collections Division ­– the largest collection of rare books in North America. Even if you haven’t met her before, I am certain you will enjoy the stories Stephanie will tell about the fascinating and important collections under her stewardship.”