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From the collections of the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library


What's happening with momma?

What’s Happening with Momma?

Clarissa T. Sligh

Sligh produced this bookwork at the renowned Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale NY. The bookwork, constructed from a single cardstock sheet, presents images of the various rooms of the artist’s childhood home. The text, printed on “staircases” of accordion-folded paper, recollects the artist’s childhood terror as her mother went into labor and gave birth to a younger sibling. As the title conveys, she was too young to understand what was happening to her mother. Read more...


Leaves of GrassLeaves of Grass

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman revised his poems throughout his life, compiling and publishing revised and expanded versions of his masterpiece, Leaves of Grass, from 1855 to the “Deathbed edition” in 1892.  The poem “As Consequent, etc.” shown here begins a sequence called “Autumn Rivulets,” which first appeared in the 1881-82 edition of Leaves.  As a young man, Whitman had worked in the printing trade; he marked up this pre-publication copy of the text with instructions for the printer, as well as revisions and added poems in manuscript.  As in many of his poems, Whitman celebrates America and its embodiment in himself, the American.  Read more...


Ethiopic manuscriptEthiopic Manuscript 11-2-94

The leather cases on this Ethiopian necklace probably contain what are commonly called “magic scrolls,” talismanic illustrations and prayers that would be worn to help heal sickness, protect from danger, and increase piety.  Probably made in the nineteenth or twentieth century, the scrolls are connected to traditions in Ethiopian Christianity, but may also have roots in Jewish and Islamic traditions, as well as in animistic religions.  Scrolls are often made by unordained healers called dabtaras in response to a request for help.  They typically consist of combinations of prayers or scriptural passages with either talismanic designs or figurative religious illustrations.  Read more...


Beauty in Use

Beauty in Use

Sandra McPerson, author; Claire Van Vliet, book artist

Poet Sandra McPherson’s collection of African-American quilts inspired her—“spoke to her,” as she tells it—to write the thirteen poems contained in this volume. The poems are complemented by quilt squares constructed from leaves of interlocking paper engineered by Janus Press owner and pioneering book artist Claire Van Vliet. Read more...

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Last modified November 18, 2011 10:45:08 AM EST