Matt Poland Book Historian / Librarian



My work is driven by a love of libraries and collections, both physical and digital. I received my BA in English as a Humanities Scholar at UMBC, and subsequently completed an MA at the University of York focused on English Renaissance drama and book history. This work particularly focused on the experimental theater produced at the turn of the seventeenth century by children’s acting companies and the effect these plays had on Shakespeare’s contemporary drama.

Subsequently I pursued an MLIS at UNC Chapel Hill, where my interests turned to theoretical and practical aspects of archives, information organization, and digital humanities. My interest in digital interfaces led to a spell as a user researcher in the tech industry, and still informs my thinking about ways not only to “digitize” the humanities but to use digital tools to extend the type of inquiry that can be performed, especially using rare and archival materials.

Now at the University of Washington, my focus is on weaving these disciplinary strands together. Currently, I am developing a project that examines how the Victorians read and used books printed in the early modern period. I am particularly interested in how rebinding early books affected their literary status (and the theoretical implications of these material texts for historical periodicity), and how nineteenth-century historicisms and “library science” continue to inform our understanding of literary culture.

I have presented my work at the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals and the North American Victorian Studies Association, amongst others.


Matt Poland CV 01092017