Curator tour of “Do It Yourself! Self-Publishing from Letterpress to LaserJet”

April 4, 2023, 5:30-6:30pm, Houghton Library, Harvard University

On Thursday, April 4th, Ticknor members and friends enjoyed a tour of Houghton Library’s exhibition “Do It Yourself!”, let by co-curators Christine Jacobson, Assistant Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts, and Kristine Greive, Head of Teaching and Learning. What immediately struck this visitor is that while modern technology has vastly expanded the ability to self-publish, successful efforts to produce texts, literature, propaganda and opinion, and news of all kinds, and to get it out to one’s readership with little or no use of formal publishing processes, existed long before the age of the Internet. Writers always found a way!

The goals of these efforts, and the major themes of the exhibition, included finding your community, bypassing gatekeepers, defying censorship, and taking full control of one’s work. Assembled were materials from the Houghton collection dating from the eighteenth century to the present day, all insightfully illuminating the many reasons why people self-publish and the tools they used.

The curators, along with the exhibition designer Zoë Pulley, have created a zine to accompany “Do It Yourself!” Read it online or download it from DASH (Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard), Harvard’s digital repository by clicking here.

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