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The Society: Our Mission & Values

The Bibliographical Society of America (BSA) is the oldest scholarly society in North America dedicated to the study of books and manuscripts as physical objects. It was organized in 1904 and incorporated in 1927 with the principal objectives of promoting bibliographical research and issuing bibliographical publications. These objectives have been and continue to be accomplished through a broad array of activities, including meetings, lectures, and fellowship programs, as well as the publishing of books and the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America (PBSA), North America’s leading bibliographical journal. The Society is open to all those interested in bibliographical problems and projects, and its membership includes bibliographers, librarians, professors, students, booksellers, and collectors worldwide.

The Council and Officers of the BSA voted unanimously on 31 October 2020 to approve the Equity Action Plan. Visit that page on our website, and read this announcement, for further details.


The Bibliographical Society of America is an international, interdisciplinary scholarly organization that fosters the study of books and other textual artifacts in traditional and emerging formats. BSA pursues this mission by hosting public programs, funding scholarly research, conferring awards, issuing publications, and collaborating with related organizations. The Society is committed to adopting policies and procedures that support and promote equity and inclusion in all of our programs, and to providing equal access to our events and electronic resources to people with disabilities and other access needs.


We are committed to the field of bibliography as a critical interpretive framework for understanding books and other textual artifacts, and to bibliography’s enduring relevance to textual analysis.

We value the study of bibliography and the integration of bibliographical knowledge in a variety of academic, professional, and public settings.

We respect the legacy of bibliographical scholarship, while embracing new methods and new approaches. We encourage the application of bibliographical theory and principles to diverse materials and media.

We pursue collaborative, interdisciplinary relationships with cognate professional, scholarly, and bibliophilic organizations.

The Bibliographical Society of America seeks to build a community that embraces academic and non-academic constituencies, students, junior scholars, and senior researchers and all those interested in material texts. All are welcome as members of the Society, on its Council, committees, and working groups, and as beneficiaries of or participants in its varied programs regardless of (in alphabetical order) ability, age, citizenship status, ethnicity, gender, gender expression and identity, income level, nationality, physical appearance, race, religion, sexual orientation, or technical experience.


The majority of the Society’s members are from the United States and Canada, but most European countries, Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand are also represented, together with institutions in Brazil, India, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Zimbabwe.

Annual membership dues (January to December only) are $80 for Partner membership, $125 for Sustaining membership, $250 for Leadership membership, and $500 for Advancing membership. Emerging membership is available to bibliographers under 35 years of age, and costs $25 annually; memberships for residents of Latin America age 36 and older are available at an annual rate of $50.

All members receive a subscription to our quarterly journal, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, and discounts on the Society’s other publications, as well as a 30% discount on all books published or distributed by the University of Chicago Press. Members’ subscriptions include the latest issues in print and e-Book formats, as well as online access to the full run of the journal. Further information about the Society may be obtained from:

Erin McGuirl, Executive Director
Bibliographical Society of America
67 West St. Suite 401 Unit C17
Brooklyn, NY 11222

Join online and pay by credit card today! To print out a membership form for mailing, click here.


The Society holds its annual meeting each January in New York City. The meeting consists of a session of three papers delivered by New Scholars on their current research, a business meeting, an address by an invited speaker, and a reception. Learn more about the Society’s Annual Meetings.

The Society sponsors its own conferences, as well as joint meetings with allied organizations, and panels and speakers at other societies’ conferences, in the United States and abroad. Learn more about BSA Events.

Fellowships & Prizes

The Society funds short-term fellowships of one or two months to support bibliographical projects as well as research in the history of the book trades and in publishing history. In addition, it sponsors the New Scholars Program, which funds early-career scholars to deliver papers on bibliographical topics at a forum immediately preceding the BSA annual meeting. The Society also awards the William L. Mitchell Prize for Bibliography or Documentary Work on Early British Periodicals or Newspapers; the Justin G. Schiller Prize for Bibliographical Work in Pre-20th Century Children’s Books, and the St. Louis Mercantile Library Prize in American Bibliography. Further information on fellowship programs and prizes is available on the website.


The Society maintains an active publishing program and is responsible for many landmark bibliographical publications. Among these are Joseph Sabin’s Bibliotheca Americana, continued by Eames and Vail (1936), Margaret Stillwell’s second and Frederick Goff’s third census of Incunabula in American Libraries (1940, 1964), as well as the Supplement to Goff (1972), and C. U. Faye’s and W. H. Bond’s Supplement to the Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada (1962). The Society also supervised preparation and publication of the Bibliography of American Literature (1955–1991).

Most recently it has published Karen Nipps’s Lydia Bailey: A Checklist of Her Imprints (2013). A full list of titles in print is available on the website; a growing number of these publications can be found online through the ACLS Humanities E-Book. Society members receive a discount on monographs and on subscription to HEB.


Since 1907 the Society has published the distinguished quarterly journal Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America. PBSA features articles and reviews on a rich variety of bibliographical and book history topics, including printing, binding, publication, distribution, collecting, and textual analysis. Individual subscriptions to the journal are available only through membership in the Bibliographical Society of America.

Institutional subscriptions and back issues are available from the University of Chicago Press, Journals Division, PO Box 37005, Chicago, IL 60637. Telephone: (773) 753-3347, or toll-free in the United States and Canada (877) 705-1878. Fax: (773) 753-0811, or toll-free (877) 705-1879. Email: More information is available at