Monday, February 9th, 2015...9:00 am

The “Incomparable” Katharine F. Pantzer (1930-2005)

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Kitzi Pantzer with Volume II of the <i>STC</i>, 1976.The legacy of our late and much lamented Houghton Library colleague Kitzi Pantzer continues to live on in the Pantzer Fellowships awarded annually by the Houghton Library and by the Bibliographical Society which funds the research of new scholars of descriptive bibliography.  We have also had a recent and poignant reminder of her work on A Short-Title Catalogue of Printing in England, Scotland and Ireland and in English Books Printed Abroad, 1475-1640 (Bibliographical Society, 1976-1991). Peter W. M. Blayney has dedicated his two-volume The Stationers’ Company and the Printers of London, 1501-1557 (Cambridge University Press, 2013) “To the memory of  / Katharine F. (“Kitzi”) Pantzer  / Friend, Mentor, and Role Model / She always spelled my surname correctly / and put my initials in the right order. / Go and do thou likewise.”

In the Preface to his work (p. xix), Blayney elaborates on his debt to Kitzi:

When acknowledging the help of colleagues and correspondents, historians often thank one or more predecessors upon whose shoulders they profess to stand – conceding that, without that pioneering work, their own research could not have been undertaken. I readily acknowledge that mich of the research for this book would have been difficult or impossible had it not been for the incomparable achievements of the revisers of the Short-Title Catalogue, especially the late and sadly missed Katharine F. Pantzer, whose death deprived this book of the most expertly critical reading it could have had.

Kitzi’s life and achievements are discussed more fully in Nicolas Barker’s obituary notice which appeared in The Independent on 14 October 2005 and which was repeated in The Book Collector 54.4 (2005), 603-605, and in David McKitterick’s which appeared in The Library 71.1 (2006), 87-89. One can get a real sense of her intellectual rigor and distinct sense of humor by reading her “The Serpentine Progress of the STC Revision,” in the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 62.3 (1968), 297-311.

This post was contributed by William P. Stoneman, Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts.

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