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Simran Thadani

2013 Ph.D. Graduate
Dissertation Advisor(s): Peter Stallybrass
"Penmanship in Print: English Copy-Books and their Makers, 1570-1763"

Executive Director, Letterform Archive, San Francisco

(B.A., summa cum laude, English and Spanish, Wellesley College, 2005; M.A.​/​Ph.D., English, University of Pennsylvania, 2009​/​2013)

Simran​ is Executive Director of Letterform Archive, a San Francisco-based center for inspiration, education, and research in the letter arts (including typography, calligraphy, and graphic design).​ The Archive shares its world-class collection with a global community by organizing courses and workshops; hosting lectures by visiting artists and designers from all over the world; issuing publications; curating exhibitions; putting on public events such as brunches and receptions; and digitizing its materials in high fidelity.

Throughout Simran's professional career she has focused on ​the written word in all its forms​. ​She ​has worked extensively with special collections—rare books, manuscripts, fine press, and the book arts—and​ is​​ a trained calligrapher and paleographer. Throughout her time at Penn, Simran ​was an active participant in the weekly History of Material Texts seminar​, and served as the Brizdle-Schoenberg Fellow in the History of Material Texts​ in 2012-13​.​ ​​Her dissertation, "Penmanship in Print: English Copy-Books and their Makers, 1570-1763," explored the connections between text and image; manuscript and print; and cultural, literary, and economic value, through ​the ​close examination of hundreds of surviving copies of printed handwriting textbooks.

​Simran has been a frequent attendee of and summer staff member at Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. She ​is co-editor of The ABC for Book Collectors (Oak Knoll Press)​, and is the Bibliographer of the Arion Press in San Francisco​.​ ​She​ has​​ worked on content and community initiatives for​ the e-reading app​ Pocket, and ​has undertaken a variety of curatorial, research, and event-related projects at Penn's Kislak Center for Special Collections and the Library Company of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, Pa.), the Boston Public Library (Boston, Mass.), the Wellesley College Library (Wellesley, Mass.), the Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington, D.C.), and the Pierpont Morgan Library (New York, N.Y.). She ​is a member of the Grolier Club of New York.