Archive: "History of Printing and Fine Press" Category

Medieval Bookbindings exhibit

This month, the Special Collections reading room is hosting a student-curated exhibit. “Medieval Bookbindings: Methods, Materials and Oddities” looks at examples of medieval binding structures from Special Collections’ holdings of early printed books and manuscripts dating from the 13th through 16th centuries. The exhibit was curated by Louisa Eastley, a student employee in the Lee …

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Edna Beilenson and The Distaff Side

To celebrate International Women’s Day, the L. Tom Perry Special Collections shares the work of 20th century bookmaker Edna Rudolph Beilenson (1909-1981). Edna Beilenson’s husband Peter founded the Peter Pauper Press, and after their marriage, she worked alongside him as a typesetter. Her career expanded into printing, publishing, and book design. In the 1930s, Beilenson …

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New Acquisitions in Renaissance printing

The L. Tom Perry Special Collections has a long history of collecting the output of the major French humanist printers of the 16th century. Our vaults hold extensive collections of the work of the Estienne (Stephanus) family, Simon de Colines, Josse Badius Ascencius, and Christophe Plantin. These printers helped spread Renaissance and humanist learning throughout …

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Student exhibit on Books of Hours

Dr. Elliott Wise’s Fall 2021 Art History 490/540 class are guest curators of the newest exhibit in Special Collections. “The Book and the Body” showcases the students’ original research using images from Special Collections’ printed and manuscript Books of Hours. The exhibit examines how early readers would have interacted emotionally, spiritually, and physically with these …

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A Halloween exhibit

From October 13-31, Special Collections reprises the “Thrills and Chills in Cloth” exhibit for Halloween. It features some particularly spooky 19th and 20th century books from our Rare American Literature and Victorian and Edwardian collections. The exhibit demonstrates how British and American book designers took advantage of new technologies to stamp full-color images into cloth …

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Celebrating Dante Alighieri

Today marks the 700th anniversary of the death of the Italian poet, Dante Alighieri. His Divine Comedy (completed in 1320) is considered both one of the greatest works in Italian literature and one of the greatest literary works of the European Middle Ages. Dante’s poetry and prose works were copied widely in Medieval Italy—around 800 …

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New exhibit: Making the Kelmscott Chaucer

125 years ago this month, William Morris and his compatriots at the Kelmscott Press finally published the book which had occupied them since 1892. The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer Now Newly Imprinted, also known as the “Kelmscott Chaucer,” was the most elaborate – and significant – work issued by the press. Morris was a lifelong …

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Modern Fine Press Collection exhibit

This winter, the L. Tom Perry Special Collections salutes the work of modern fine printers and artists working with the book as a medium with a small case exhibit titled “A Printer Wonderland.” It has been common practice for many modern fine printers to produce small keepsakes at Christmas or New Year’s, including cards, broadsides, …

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Beautiful bindings: the vellucent binding

In the 1890s, English bookbinder Cedric Chivers (1853-1929) introduced a new book decoration process which he called the “vellucent” binding. First, an artist would create a painting on a very thin medium. The design might include mother-of-pearl inlays, gold leaf, or other decoration. It would then be overlaid with a specially-treated sheet of vellum — …

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New acquisitions: Printing proofs for the Kelmscott Chaucer

Special Collections recently acquired five printing proofs of wood engravings from William Morris’ masterpiece, the 1896 Works of Chaucer. The illustrations were designed by Victorian artist Edward Burne-Jones, and then would have been transferred to blocks of wood by Robert Catterson-Smith and then engraved by William Harcourt Hopper. These proofs would have been created as …

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