Ronald and Mary Zboray Publish with University of Toronto Press
Ronald J. Zboray, professor of Communication, and Mary Saracino Zboray, Visiting Scholar in Communication have just published an essay, “Beyond the Market and the City: The Informal Dissemination of Reading Material during the American Civil War,’ in Print Culture Histories beyond the Metropolis, ed. James J. Connolly, et. al. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016). The essay looks at the many ways ordinary civilians and soldiers obtained and exchanged reading material despite the war that disrupted retail sales, book delivery, and indeed the greater publishing industry. Much of the exchange took place informally, by sending newspapers through the mail system, but also through borrowing and lending, and gift giving. In this way Americans recycled whatever reading materials they had at hand, and invited a community of readers to share these printed items. The essay argues that vital reading cultures can be maintained outside of urban channels of distribution and production.
The essay is the product of a National Endowment for the Humanities funded conference held at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, in March 2013, “Print Culture Histories Beyond the Metropolis.” The conference attracted scholars worldwide—from New Zealand, Australia, the U.K., and the United States. As a result, the conference volume is global in its considerations of print culture.
For more on the volume and its table of contents, see