Conference on Communication and Exchange

From 19-20 July 2011, the Early Modern Research Centre at the University of Reading will be hosting its annual Conference in Early Modern Studies. The informal theme this year is ‘Communication & Exchange’. The ALCS has generously agreed to sponsor the Dutch presence at this conference, which has been growing steadily over the past few years. This year, the conference will be accompanied by an exhibition with material from the University’s Special Collections and Typography & Graphic Communication collections.

The University of Reading’s Special Collections contains a wealth of material from the Low Countries as well as texts relating to these parts. The Cole Library of printed books and scientific papers on the history of early medicine and zoology and the Overstone Library, a collection of nearly 8000 printed volumes in the humanities and social sciences, are especially strong on Dutch printed books. The majority of material in this exhibition has been brought together to illustrate the role of the Dutch Republic as a hub of knowledge and exchange in the early modern period. Choice pieces include Les voyages de Jean Sruys (Amsterdam, 1681), the travel account of Jan Struys, sail maker employed by the VOC , which was reprinted in many languages in the later seventeenth century, Jan Swammerdam’s Bijbel der Natuure (1737-1738), and Georgius Rumphius’ D’Amboinsche Rariteitkamer (Amsterdam, 1741), as well as works by Junius, Vossius, Huygens, De la Court, Boxhorn, Boerhaave and many others.

In addition to Dutch material, books relating to Anglo-Dutch exchange and competition, cultures of knowledge and printed material from the Ephemera and Otto and Marie Neurath Isotype collections will be on display. The latter is especially rich in early modern material, most notably the extensive series of (continental) battle plans and (Dutch) maps and town plans. This will be a unique opportunity for students of the early modern period to have a first look at this material, which is normally used for typographic research.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a ‘featured item’ on the Special Collections website, which will give an in-depth insight into Les voyages de Jean Sruys and which will be accompanied by photographs of this richly illustrated work. The featured item will be available shortly on the University of Reading’s Special Collections website: For more information on the conference, exhibit or any of the collections mentioned please contact