Illuminated Italian ms. on vellum, ca. 1530.
Devotional book belonging to Marie de Medicis,
in miniscule script.
With eighteen large and ten small miniatures,
many with elaborate borders in
Arabesque and naturalistic motifs.
(All Images Courtesy Of Bowdoin College.)
Bowdoin's Hawthorne-Longfellow Library holds an impressive one million volumes, but for a recent online exhibit the Rare Book Department held to the College's tradition of offering the world nothing but the creme de la creme. The 50 Books exhibit features a prime selection of rare books from classical texts printed during the Renaissance to 21st-century artists' books. These works are masterpieces of publishing, scholarship, and literature, as well as elegant examples of fine printing, bookbinding, and illustration. An even smaller sampling appears below, just enough to whet the appetite for the rare book feast Bowdoin's appropriately first-class librarians have cooked up.
Northampton, Mass.: Gehenna Press, 2001.
Special Edition limited to twenty-six copies.
Mostly copperplate etchings printed in color.
(by Michael Kuch).
3 pieces. Portland, Me.: R. Goodale, 2003.
Artist's book; edition limited to ten copies;three flexagons,
hand colored silkscreen prints with collage.
Experiments and Observations on Electricity,
Made at Philadelphia in America ...To which are added,
letters and papers on philosophical subjects.
The whole corrected, methodized, improved,
and now first collected into one volume,
and illustrated with copper plates.
London: For David Henry,
and sold by Francis Newbery, 1769.
Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron
to the China Seas and Japan ...
New York: D. Appleton, 1857.
Lausanne: Grosclaude, Éditions de Gaules, 1949.
Original lithographs by Fernand Léger
(most are colored by hand or stencil);
preface by Henry Miller;
edition limited to 395 copies.
Fifty rare books, fifty fascinating stories, fifty chances to (virtually) dip into Bowdoin's amazing treasure trove of books. A million reasons why, when it comes to library collections, bigger is most definitely not always better.