September 6 – October 7, 2018

Kresge Library’s Special Collections include magnificent, unusual, and obscure books, including the Hicks Collection of books by and about women from the 17th to 19th century and the Springer Collection of Lincolniana. This exhibition explores these books’ allure: their intellectual significance, historical importance, visual power, and emotional impact. Curated by Andrea Eis, Professor of Cinema Studies, the exhibition centers around the participation of university faculty who chose books from the Special Collections that spoke to them uniquely – ones that generated an unexpected realization, or delighted with an unconventional narrative, or fascinated with a lush materiality. Among the works chosen for the exhibit: a first edition of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with hand-colored illustrations; intelligent, sometimes raucous women’s writings from the 1600s and 1700s; a mammoth book from 1605 and a tiny one from 1607. Faculty commentaries accompany their chosen books, and are included in the exhibition catalogue. In our digital world, we have fewer and fewer chances to directly experience the rare through books that are physical manifestations of thought. Encountering the Rare Book offers that opportunity, along with photographs, a film made in the book vault, large-scale prints on fabric, and interactive iPad displays, offering diverse encounters with the tantalizing essences of rare books. Full-color catalogue available.


Rebecca Baumann: “Haunted Pages: Rare Books and Their Ghosts,” Sunday, September 16 at 2 pm; Rebecca Baumann is Head of Public Services at the Lilly Library, Indiana University Bloomington.

Emily Spunaugle: “Book Brawn and Book Smarts: Recovering the Labors of the Book Object, Wednesday,” September 19 at noon; Emily Spunaugle is Assistant Professor and Humanities Librarian at Kresge Library, Oakland University.

Andrea Eis: “Curatorial Talk,” Wednesday, September 26 at noon; Andrea Eis is Professor of Cinema Studies, Department of English, Oakland University.

Encountering the Rare Book

September 2018

by Andrea Eis

66 Pages