Dr. Alan D. Boehm

Head, Special Collections
Co-Director, MTSU Printing Press Project
Mailing Address:
Dr. Alan Boehm
Special Collections
Walker Library
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, TN  37132
Phone: 615.904.8501
Fax: 615.904.8505
Email: aboehm (at) mtsu (period) edu
Campus Mail Box: 13

Job Responsibilities:

I direct and supervise Special Collections in all its myriad aspects.  This includes the acquisition, cataloging, and conservation of rare books; the provision of specialized reference services; the creation and revision of department policies; research for and preparation of rare book exhibitions; and other responsibilities.  As co-director and project historian for the MTSU Printing Press Project, I preside over typesetting and presswork operations involved with the Library's replica of an early-modern wooden hand press.  I give numerous public printing demonstrations and guest lectures on the history of printing and publishing and other matters of print culture.  Along with these activities, I am involved in numerous aspects of faculty self-governance here in Walker Library.

Current Committees:

Walker Library External Relations Committee
Walker Library Promotion and Tenure Review Committee


Ph.D in English Literature, 1660-1825, Indiana University-Bloomington
MLS, University of Missouri-Columbia
MA in English and American Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison
BA in English and American Literature, Indiana University-Bloomington


My research lies within the realm of scholarship known as "print culture studies"--a phrase, once respectably obscure but now, alas, regarded as jargon.   I've been interested in the relationships that obtained between eighteenth-century English booksellers (i.e., publishers) and those authors of the period who shaped the printing and publication of their texts, and I've also been interested in the literary as well as the "bookish" experience of the readers who bought those texts.  My most recent research has focused on the everyday social world of London printing houses in the late 1600s and 1700s and the network of traditional cultural practices circulating among journeyman printers who worked there. 


Eleanor M. Garvey Fellow in Printing and Graphic Arts, Houghton Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Harvard University.  1993.

Visiting Scholar, Institute for Advanced Study, Poynter Center, Indiana University-Bloomington, 1992.

 Ball Brothers Foundation Fellow, Lilly Rare Book Library, Indiana University-Bloomington.  1992.

Selected Publications:

"Ordinary Books:  Typographic Composition and Traditional Culture in the Late Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century London Printing House." 45-page typescript. Submitted to Studies in Bibliography (2013)

“'The Well and Good Government of the Chappel’:   A Note on Printing-house Customs, ca. 1680-1750.”  Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 103 (2009):  89-97.

 “The Bagford Chapel Rules:  A Set of English Printing House Regulations, ca. 1686-1707."  Studies in Bibliography 58 (2007-2008):  135-143.

 “Some Unrecorded Tennessee Imprints in the Special Collections  Department of James E. Walker Library, Middle Tennessee State University."  Tennessee Libraries 57 (2007).  <http://www.tnla.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=165>.

 "A Julian Wehr Miscellany: Unrecorded Animated Books, Foreign-Language Animated Books, and Other Works."  Bulletin of Bibliography  59 (2002): 87-92.

 “The 1798 Lyrical Ballads and the Poetics of Late Eighteenth-Century Book Production." English Literary History 63 (1996):  453-487.

 “Was Joseph Cottle a Liberal Bookseller?” English Language Notes 32 (1995):  32-39.

Professional Accomplishment:

A few years back, when my research began encompassing eighteenth-century printers, I pretty quickly realized I needed a better understanding of the period's printing houses and printing procedures.  This, in part, led to the MTSU Printing Press Project, which involved the construction of a fully operational replica of a "common press" of the sort used by printers from the late 1500s to the early 1800s. 

Personal Interests:

Throw me in a kayak and put a split-bamboo fly rod in my hands.