Barry Moser Delivers J. Ben Lieberman Memorial Lecture in Iowa City
APHA Newsletter, No. 138, Winter, 1999
BARRY MOSER, LONG TIME FRIEND of many Iowa City book people, visited the University of Iowa the weekend of November 11–14, 1999. Mr Moser’s most recent work, the very special livre d’ artiste version of the King James Bible published by the Pennyroyal Caxton Press, was the focus of many of his appearances.
Students in Library Science, Art, and the Center for the Book had two classroom sessions and one social opportunity to hear his stories, learn about his engraving technique, and ask questions about the different aspects of creating such a monumental work. Of special interest was a demonstration of engraving on Resingrave, the polymer material used by Moser to craft the illustrations for the Pennyroyal Caxton Bible. Students were also curious about the design process from downloading the text to typesetting, to printing, and binding, as well as the differences between the trade and limited editions.
On Friday night Moser gave a talk entitled “Tanakh and Testament: A Reprobate Tinkers with the Holy Writ”. The audience was moved and amused, perhaps owing to Moser’s background in evangelism, and his account of how he came to take on such a massive proect. He explained that he is not a sprinter, but a long-distance runner, and was searching for work that would fulfill that requirement. Much contemplation, along with relentless late night and early morning visionary dreams, led him to choose the Bible as his text. With slides of the illustrations, he showed the process of erecting images that are modern, yet timeless, reverent, yet expressive of his interpretation of the sacred Christian text.
Curtis and Betsy Stuckey, Friends of the Libraries, who donated funds to purchase a limited edition Bible for the UI Main Libraries Special Collections, were in attendance at all of the weekend events. The Pennyroyal Caxton Bible was on display during a social gathering following the Friday evening presentation. Moser generously signed copies of the trade edition, which was available for sale by local independent bookseller, Prairie Lights.
Moser delivered the J. Ben Lieberman Memorial Lecture to a crowd of 90 students, book lovers, artists, faculty, and librarians on Saturday evening. His talk, “After the Bible, Dreams Money and Reality”, has sparked discussion around town about the book arts calling, and the mechanics of making a life out of it. Artifacts from the creation of the Pennyroyal Caxton Bible are on display in the UI Main Library North Exhibition Hall through January 2000, as part of “Open Book: The Book Studies Community at the University of Iowa”.
The UI Center for the Book too thanks APHA for the opportunity to host the 1999 J. Ben Lieberman Memorial Lecture. The program was extremely well received by our thriving book arts community.
—Suzanne Micheau, University of Iowa Center for the Book