Professor John Bender Awarded the 13th Warren R. Howell Award
We are delighted to congratulate the recipient of the 13th Warren R. Howell Award, honoring John Bender, the Jean G. and Morris M. Doyle Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies at Stanford University and former Director of the Stanford Humanities Center. His research and teaching focus on the eighteenth century in England and France; his special concerns include the relationship of literature to the visual arts, to philosophy and science, and to the sociology of literature and critical theory. He is a member of the Stanford faculty in both English and Comparative Literature.
In receiving the Howell Award for service to the Stanford University Libraries, John Bender noted, in warm appreciation, that this award, named in honor of the great San Francisco dealer in rare books and manuscripts, is "meant to underscore the strong bond between and interdependencies of the author, book designer, book publisher, book trade, librarian, book collector, student, professor, and other scholars.”
Professor John Bender
Bender received his B.A. from Princeton University in 1962, and his Ph.D. in English from Cornell University in 1967. He joined Stanford in that same year, rising to the rank of Professor in 1985. In 1998 he was appointed the Jean G. and Morris M. Doyle Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies, a position he still holds, and from 2001 to 2008 he served as Director of the Stanford Humanities Center. In 1987, he received the Gottschalk Prize, awarded annually by The American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, for his book Imagining the Penitentiary: Fiction and the Architecture of Mind in 18th- Century England. Bender later served as President of that society from 2002-2003. He has also received awards from the Bing Fund for Teaching (1994) and the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching (1995).
In addition to Imagining the Penitentiary, Bender is the author of Spenser and Literary Pictorialism (1972). He has served as editor for several books, including The Ends of Rhetoric: History, Theory, Practice, ed. with David Wellbery (1990); Chronotypes: The Construction of Time, ed. with David Wellbery (1991); The Columbia History of the British Novel, associate editor with John Richetti (1994); and Regimes of Description, ed. with Michael Marrinan (2005). Along with Michael Marrinan, he co-authored The Culture of Diagram in 2010, and saw it translated into German in 2014. Bender has also published articles on Shakespeare, Piranesi, Hogarth, Hume, Goldsmith, Blake, Godwin, Laclos and on theoretical issues including fictionality and scientific inquiry. Many of his essays are collected in Ends of Enlightenment (2012).
John has always been committed to writing in collaboration with his colleagues across diverse fields, including Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht (Comparative Literature), David Wellbery (German Studies) and Michael Marrinan (Art History). In the 1990s, he founded the Seminar on Enlightenment and Revolution, an interdepartmental group of scholars working on the Enlightenment that remains among the most active such groups on campus. He was codirector in 2006-07 of a year-long seminar sponsored by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that explored the history of visualizing knowledge from Renaissance perspective to computer displays. John is the embodiment of a scholar who understands that the essential tool for truly interdisciplinary work is a library of deep and broad holdings in many fields. Colleagues visiting his office are immediately struck by the stacks of books from every part of the Library of Congress classifications piled around his desk. In John’s case, personal research habits have been the driving force behind his dedication to ensuring the excellence of the Stanford Libraries.
Throughout his tenure at Stanford, John Bender has been a good friend to the Libraries, perhaps because he spent every afternoon and evening for five years in Green Library study carrel 51-A writing Imagining the Penitentiary. John served as member and chair of the Faculty Senate Committee on Libraries (C-LIB) a total of eight times, demonstrating truly exceptional commitment to this important group. As part of his work on that committee, he chaired a subcommittee examining the crisis in scholarly communications whose work is still impacting library acquisitions policy today, and has supported the Libraries through several significant facilities changes. His advocacy for the Libraries in the annual budget process has been critical in the maintenance of the Libraries’ ability to collect broadly and deeply.
In addition to the above, John has proven himself to be a strong supporter of the Stanford University Press, and of academic presses generally. He served for several years as an Editorial Board member for the Stanford University Press, during which time his advice and influence were invaluable. Even after completing his formal role on the Editorial Board, he has continued to provide the Press with valuable advice, and information on potential new publications. His advocacy for the Press has overlapped with his work on C-LIB where he has been a strong voice for the Stanford Libraries.
Warren R. Howell of John Howell–Books
The Warren R. Howell Award was initiated in the spring of 1982 on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of John Howell–Books and in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Warren Howell’s entry into the bookselling profession.
The award exists for Stanford University to give public recognition to an individual or a couple who have made outstanding and exemplary contributions to the local world of books and libraries. The intent is, upon occasion, to honor a writer, book designer, publisher, collector, antiquarian dealer or other such professional specialist who has distinguished himself or herself through exceptional contributions to the development of Stanford’s libraries and its special collections, and to the world of letters and its world of books as connected with the Stanford University Libraries.
Warren R. Howell (1912–1984) was educated at Stanford in the early 1930s and was associated with John Howell–Books in San Francisco for over 50 years. From 1956 until his death Warren was president of this internationally renowned antiquarian firm, founded by his father, that specialized in fine and rare books, manuscripts and works of fine art, and also published works in these fields.
Warren Howell was a figure of extraordinary stature in San Francisco and in the field of book collecting and the book arts. He nurtured book collections in private and institutional hands throughout the west. The offices he held in a variety of bookish clubs were recognition of the vast contributions he made because of his personal expertise, recognized authority and qualities of leadership.
Warren served several terms as a member of the Stanford Libraries Visiting Committee, and he collaborated with Norman Strouse and James D. Hart in founding the Associates of the Stanford University Libraries of which he became a life member. His wife, Antoinette, maintained an enjoyable engagement with Stanford’s libraries after Warren’s death and her estate added generously to the Howell bequests to Stanford.
In 1968 Warren Howell presented Stanford with its three-millionth book: a copy of the first edition of John Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Seven years later, Warren and Antoinette Howell and the Hewlett Foundation donated to Stanford the Libraries’ four-millionth book: John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row archive, comprised of the manuscript, press proof and other material, including Steinbeck’s personal copy of his novel’s first edition.
It was indeed most accurate when Kevin Starr described Warren Howell as “a man of places, books, clubs, cities and universities. As a businessman, as a connoisseur, as a person, he flourished within a context of tradition and institutions.” The man whose name is perpetuated by this Stanford University award did, indeed, achieve extraordinary stature in the world of books.
Previous Howell Awards
2012 – David Rumsey of San Francisco
Collector, author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist David Rumsey is an early and pioneering spokesperson and practitioner of innovative geospatial techniques and visualization technologies that have granted global scholarly access to his more than 150,000 maps, atlases, globes, school geographies, and maritime charts. His extraordinary combination of curatorial and technical expertise has beneffited many libraries, foundations, companies and organizations. David has been honored by numerous prestigious awards and appointments. His donation of the David Rumsey Map Collection is the greatest benefice in the Libraries’ history and forms the nucleus of the David Rumsey Map Center in Green Library.
2008 – David M. Kennedy of Stanford
The Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, emeritus, David Kennedy is an American historian of the first rank and Pulitzer Prizewinning author. He has long diverted royalties of The American Pageant and The American Spirit, textbooks he coauthored with Thomas Bailey, to the Annie Nelson Bailey Memorial Book Fund, which honors Prof. Bailey’s mother. As Chair of the bookstore’s Board of Directors during its sale to Follett in 1999, David created a major library book fund from a portion of the sale funds.
2000 – Margaret M. Furbush of Los Altos Hills
A Stanford Library friend whose work in the Special Collections department, as well as her work on the board of the Library Associates, had an extraordinary positive impact on the Stanford University Libraries. As the primary force behind the revival of the Associates’ journal Imprint, she earned a reputation as a meticulous editor of “compelling persuasiveness.”
1997 – Byra Wreden of Atherton
Bibliophile, founding member and longtime board member of The Associates of the Stanford University Libraries, and an inspired organizer. With her husband, Bill Wreden, Byra supported the growth of library collections, and gave ceaselessly of her time and energy to nurture the Stanford library community.
1995 – W. B. Carnochan of Palo Alto
Scholar of the eighteenth century and Richard W. Lyman Professor of the Humanities, emeritus. As teacher, author, decision-maker and institutional leader he exemplifies the Enlightenment ideal of civic responsibility. A distinguished academician whose advocacy and support of the Stanford University Libraries is multifaceted.
1993 – Charles J. and Mary M. Tanenbaum of New York and San Francisco
Exceptional supporters of the world of libraries and book collecting. Mary Tanenbaum, Stanford class of ’36, is donor of the Mary M. Tanenbaum Fund for acquisitions in the field of Chinese Art. Charles Tanenbaum, noted collector, has shared his expertise in presentation of exhibitions. Jointly they created the Weber Fund to support scholarly work of Stanford University Libraries staff.
1989 – Irving W. Robbins Jr. of Atherton
Avid and knowledgeable book collector and long-time Honorary Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, who for more than a third of a century was the generous consultant for and supporter of Stanford’s special collections. Donor of, among others, collections of the Ashendene Press, William Everson and Herman Melville.
1988 – Norman H. Strouse of St. Helena
A lifelong book collector and passionate advocate of fine printing and book collecting. Donor to various university libraries in Northern California and donor of the endowed directorship of the Bancroft Library at the University of California-Berkeley.
1987 – Samuel I. & Cecile Barchas of Sonoita, Arizona
Devoted long-time students and collectors of materials in the history of science and scientific discovery. The Barchas Room of the Stanford University Libraries houses the gift to Stanford of their large and exceptional library, including almost all of the Grolier Club list of “One Hundred Books Famous in Science.”
1986 – Frances and Charles Field of San Francisco
Stanford supporters par excellence, as evidenced by the Field Hemingway Collection, the Field Family Book Endowment, the Field Room for scholars, the Field Curatorship for Special Collections and two endowed professorships, one in history and one in cardiovascular surgery. Mr. Field graduated from Stanford in 1933.
1984 – Wallace E. Stegner of Los Altos
Exemplary Stanford teacher and admired writer, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, founder of the Stanford Creative Writing Program, poetic advocate for nature conservation and keen supporter of academic libraries at Stanford and elsewhere.
1982 – Warren R. Howell of San Francisco
Member of the Stanford class of ’34 who became a world-renowned antiquarian book dealer, publisher and stimulator of private book collectors. He served on the Stanford Library Visiting Committee, helped form its Library Associates and was a staunch lifelong benefactor of the Stanford University Libraries.
Republished from ReMix, June 2016 - Issue 101