Opening today in the galleries at Bridwell Library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas is an exhibit of the Ruth and Lyle Sellers Collection. The collection includes works on the History of Medicine, Natural History, and Famous Literature. When viewing the exhibit in person, use your smart phone to scan the QR Codes on the wall in order to see more images from each book. The gallery is open from 8am-6pm weekdays, 10am-6pm Sat., and 2pm-6pm Sun.
Follow this link to the view the online exhibit: Sellers Collection
After you follow the link to this very well done digital copy, check out the conservation project conducted on the bible in 2011.
No matter what you think of this religiously the Jefferson Bible is an interesting study in bookbinding and the history of one of America’s founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson essentially “edited” passages from the first four books of the new testament, eliminating all the parts he didn’t agree with (miracles and the resurrection) and putting everything else back together in a single volume focused entirely on Jesus, the man, and his teachings on morality. In the end it was only 84 pages long. He did this for his own purposes and kept it to himself throughout his lifetime without any intention of publishing. (Although now you can buy a facsimile copy.)
This is very much an artist’s book, painstakingly created long before X-Acto knives were a thing and put together with who knows what adhesive. Be impressed people.
Two of the source bibles.
Illustration from Supplement to the Lithographer’s Journal -Feb 1940 Vol. xxiv. No.111
Before getting into binding I was a printmaker and I’ve always loved old presses and the Rube Goldberg level of complexity they sometimes achieved. Look at the size of these things. That’s a whole lot of machine just to print 4 colors.
Interesting article in Archival Products recently about the history and use of insect-resistant paper in China. Author Jody Beenk is the Head of Preservation & Conservation at University of Hong Kong Libraries. In the article she describes each of the different types of traditional insect-resistant paper: Yellow, Wax Burnish, Pepper, Blue, and Orange Red.
Here’s the pdf: ChineseInsectPaper_apnewsvol19no4
Link: Art of the Marbler
or copy and paste the url (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vyga8VMWXKg)
Super-retro video of Cockerell Marbled Papers. Can’t find the original date of production but the original film and the youtube video were both published by the Bedfordshire Archives: Bedfordshire Archives
There is an excellent show up at Bridwell Library right now called The Shape of Content. The main focus of the show is the varied presentation of manuscript and printed media. Featured works include manuscripts, books, broadsides, and readable objects. I recommend taking a look at the heart shaped prayer book. In it’s unbroken form it would have “bloomed” open like a flower in order to be read.
Check out the online exhibit here: The Shape of Content