About the Paleography and the Book Visiting Scholar Program

Visiting Scholars Teach a Course, Offer Workshops, and Give a Public Lecture One Quarter Each Year

Renowned scholar David Ganz is giving the Paleography and the Book Lecture 2023 about how newspaper typefaces evolved.
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Renowned scholar David Ganz is giving the Paleography and the Book Lecture 2023 about how newspaper typefaces evolved.

About the Paleography and the Book Lectures

The University of Chicago Paleography and the Book Visiting Scholars Program aims to bring to campus an outstanding guest professor for a quarter each year who specializes in one or more areas, which may include manuscript history and reception, paleography, epigraphy, philology, codicology, the history of the book and readers, and the evolution of print culture. The Visiting Scholar teaches a course and offers workshops to UChicago students, as well as giving a lecture open to the public through both in-person and virtual registration.

The University of Chicago and the Division of the Humanities have long been committed to the proposition that a thorough understanding of original sources, the languages in which they were communicated, the means through which they were presented, and the contexts in which they arose are the indispensable tools of humanistic inquiry. This commitment is reflected throughout the division and its history—in its production of outstanding critical editions, its belief in the importance of studying and preserving languages from across history and the globe, and its insistence that scholars and students must have deep command of and respect for the primary sources and the conditions in which they were created.

Understanding the history of what is called the “visible world” in all its forms is integral to this conception of humanistic learning and research. Unfortunately, nowadays these aspects of study are often downplayed in the university curriculum. This history encompasses scholarly fields such as manuscript studies of the Bible and its reception, papyri in ancient Mediterranean civilizations, illuminated manuscripts of the medieval era, the development of printing and the flowering of print culture, and the practices of readers, among many others.

Studying this history enriches human beings’ understanding of a wide range of humanistic themes, including how ideas take shape and are transmitted over time, the development and circulation of religious beliefs and practices, and the social conditions in which science develops.

About Hanna Holborn Gray

Hanna Holborn Gray provided the funding to establish the annual Paleography and the Book Visiting Scholars Program in the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago. She is the Harry Pratt Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History. Mrs. Gray is a historian with special interests in the history of humanism, political and historical thought, and church history and politics in the Renaissance and the Reformation. She was president of the University of Chicago from July 1, 1978, through June 30, 1993.

Mrs. Gray is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Renaissance Society of America, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Education, and the Council on Foreign Relations of New York. She holds honorary degrees from more than sixty colleges and universities, including Brown, UChicago, Columbia, Duke, Harvard, Michigan, Oxford, Princeton, Rockefeller, Toronto, and Yale.

Mrs. Gray currently serves as a trustee of the Newberry Library, the Marlboro School of Music, the Dan David Prize, and several other nonprofit institutions. She has served on the boards of Bryn Mawr College, Harvard University, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and Yale University, and among others.

Mrs. Gray was one of twelve distinguished foreign-born Americans to receive the Medal of Liberty from President Reagan at ceremonies marking the rekindling of the Statue of Liberty's lamp in 1986. In 1991, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, from President George H.W. Bush. Among a number of other awards, she has received the Jefferson Medal of the American Philosophical Society and the National Humanities Award in 1993. In 1996, Mrs. Gray received the University of Chicago's Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and in 2006 the Newberry Library Award. In 2008, she received the Chicago History Maker Award of the Chicago History Museum.

Mrs. Gray’s most recent publications are Searching for Utopia: Universities and Their Histories (2011) and An Academic Life: A Memoir (2018).



About the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago

The Division of the Humanities is one of the University’s five graduate divisions. With 200+ faculty members, 100+ staff members, and about 650 graduate students housed within 20+ departments, centers, institutes, and programs, the Division of the Humanities supports innovative humanistic research through vigorous inquiry. Learn more about our faculty, staff, students, and graduate programs at humanities.uchicago.edu.