For Researchers

Collection Guide and Virtual Tour

The Brizdle-Schoenberg Special Collections Center is an on-campus resource located on the second floor of the Alfred R. Goldstein Library. Our Center functions as a reading room, classroom, print study center, and gallery. Our educational mission is to introduce our publics to diverse voices and ideas that challenge staid constructions of the canon and the master work. The Center routinely juxtaposes the familiar and widely recognized with the lesser known and the underrepresented. Through our work, we hope that the next generation of thinkers and makers will draw inspiration from a nuanced web of references. Visit our website.

This guide is designed to help researchers and educators engage primary sources with a tour of our twelve main Subcollections, as well as with introductions to our Distincitive Collections, Popular Research Categories, and Thematic Exhibitions.

Subcollections

Tour selected works from Special Collections through video, item descriptions, and questions for self-reflection or discussion.

In our collection of contemporary artists’ publication projects, you’ll find a diverse range of works by book arts practitioners and printers (e.g. handmade editions, altered books, fine press) as well as works by conceptual and post-conceptual artists who make books (e.g. democratic multiples, exhibition-publications-as-artworks, media interventions).

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Marshall Weber and Lawrence Weber
My Brother’s Keepsake
Brooklyn: Booklyn Artists Alliance, 2005

My Brother's Keepsake is a one-of-a-kind work, capturing the fragmented correspondence of two brothers during the 1990s, while one serves eight years in the San Quentin State Prison. The book as artifact is heavy with resonances of place and circumstance--the Tupperware prison cup is embellished with a macrame shoelace handle and etched with a hot needle and cigarette ash. The scroll therein--a collage of original letters, envelopes, photocopies, photographs, and ephemera--gives a rare glimpse at male vulnerability, the work of reconciliation, and the emotional toll of family trauma.

Questions for self-reflection or discussion
My Brother's Keepsake is a personal archive and a commemoration of the lives of two brothers. How does the prison experience effect familial relationships both for those that are incarcerated and for those on the other side? How might the act of cutting up and collaging correspondence offer catharsis or healing?

While broadsides & posters today have much in common--a large single sheet printed on one side--broadsides were originally intended to be read unfolded or posted, bearing a royal proclamation or official notice. Later the form was used to disseminate news or political views. Posters, on the other hand, were allied to advertising and publicity. In our modern and contemporary collection of broadsides and posters, you’ll find examples of visual poetry, typographic specimens, activist-driven broadsides, exhibition posters, and protest posters.

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Ingrid Schindall
Selikoff Poster Subscription Series
Fort Lauderdale, FL: IS Projects, 2018-- [ongoing]

The Selikoff Poster Subscription Series typesets a pangram, a sentence that contains all of the letters in the alphabet, in a different typeface from the Jon Selikoff wood type collection at IS Projects. This particular poster featuring the slab serif Aldine stretches the pangram form (which usually results in a nonsensical sentence) to list an abecedary of emotions and an affirmation, "it's okay to feel." It was hand printed from March to May 2020 amidst a chaotic state of affairs that included a pandemic lockdown.

Questions for self-reflection or discussion
As a piece meant for public display, interpret the language on the poster and its political significance. In what ways might this work be considered a feminist artwork?

The exhibition catalogs and exhibition-related printed matter in special collections are unique in some way--e.g. containing multiple pieces, having an unconventional format or size, and/or functioning as spaces for artist interventions.

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Riva Castleman
Technics and Creativity II: Gemini G.E.L.
New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1971

In the first five years of Gemini G.E.L. (founded in 1966), the Los Angeles-based artists' workshop and fine printer had already produced prints and multiples with the likes of Josef Albers, Man Ray, Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, Ed Ruscha, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, and Robert Rauschenberg. In 1971 the atelier was recognized with a major museum exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. A special publication encased in a vacuum-formed plastic box marked the occasion. It includes an essay by the show's curator Riva Castleman, color illustrations of works in the exhibition, a catalogue raisonné of Gemini's complete production, and a multiple by Jasper Johns, Target 1970, commissioned for the publication. Target 1970 consists of a two-color lithograph made to look like a graphite and ink drawing, three watercolor cakes, and a small paint brush, inviting you to finish the work.

You can view photos of the exhibition, a scanned version of the publication, and more on MoMA's website.

Questions for self-reflection or discussion
The multiple has enabled artists to make and disseminate their work to broader audiences. Think about Jasper John's piece Target 1970. In what ways does it disrupt notions of a one-of-a-kind work of art? What creative decisions were made to make it portable--i.e. a work on the move?

Facsimile editions duplicate as closely as possible the appearance and content of original editions and allow researchers to page through rare and unique materials not held locally. The facsimiles in our collection include illustrated scrolls, illuminated manuscripts, incunabula (early printed books), avant-garde publications, and artists' sketchbooks.

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Leonhart Fuchs
The New Herbal of 1543
complete coloured ed., Köln: Taschen, 2016

The New Kreüterbuch (1543), a rare herbal by the German doctor and academic Leonhart Fuchs builds upon the medicinal treatises of classical Greeks (which he had shortsightedly privileged over Arabic works), adding to them his own observations and discoveries. Written for a general audience and illustrated with over 500 botanical woodcut illustrations, The New Kreüterbuch details the medicinal uses of plants including how to find, identify, and grow them. Fuchs worked closely with three artists--a painter, a draftsman, and a block-cutter--who included their names and portraits at the back of the book. The illustrations did double-duty, many appearing in Fuchs's scholarly edition De Historia Stirpium...(1542). The New Kreüterbuch was offered for sale as both an inexpensive black-and-white edition and as a deluxe colored edition.

This Taschen facsimile is created from Fuchs's personal hand-colored copy, currently held in Ulm. Even in facsimile, the hands of the makers are present throughout this volume--visible in inky fingerprints, watercolor splashes, and variances in the type impressions.

Questions for self-reflection or discussion
Describe the scientific illustrations in Leonhart Fuch's book. Would you be able to use these woodcuts to accurately identify plant species? What approaches do you think the artists took to convey information?

The illustrated books in our collection span from the 1700s forward and include a variety of forms and genres--e.g. social commentary, mythology and epic literatures, geographic and travel books, poetry, children’s literature, wordless books & proto-graphic novels, comics, pattern books, and scientific works.

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Miné Okubo
Citizen 13660
New York: Columbia University Press, 1946

Okubo, an artist with a masters in art and anthropology from UC Berkeley was on an art fellowship in Europe studying with Fernand Léger when WWII broke out. She left all her belongings and narrowly escaped back to the United States in 1939. Just three years later, she would again leave all her belongings behind as her and her brother were swept up into the forced evacuation and relocation of Nisei (Japanese American citizens) and Issei (Japanese-born immigrants denied naturalization by American law) in California, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona.

Citizen 13660 was the first personal account of U.S. internment camps to be published by an internee. Through 206 ink drawings and a steady poignant prose, Okubo details her journey from living in a horse stall at the Tanforan assembly center in San Bruno, CA to enduring extreme weather swings at the Topaz concentration camp in Utah. She had made the sketches and drawings to in her words, illustrate "the humor and pathos" of "camp life." She relays details that could only be gleaned from lived experience while also observing the ways in which internees learned to function, organize, and cope.

The copy in Special Collections is unique in that the front flyleaf includes a signed self-portrait of Miné sitting on a pail, barefoot with a sketchbook in her lap.

Questions for self-reflection or discussion
What dominant narratives shaped public perception of Japanese internment in the U.S.? Who gets to define what histories are told? How does Miné Okubo use subjectivity and objectivity in Citizen 13660?

Miniature books are books conceived on a very small scale, traditionally measuring no more than three inches high or wide, and usually printed in tiny type with appropriately scaled images. Our collection of miniature books demonstrates skill and craft and includes Bibles, dictionaries, printing histories, books of humor and oddities, keepsakes, and more.

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Flip Movies Packed in Post’s Grape-Nuts Flakes
CA: Lowes, 1949

Post's Grape Nuts made a series of 12 flip movies in 1949 with animator Walter Lantz. Each is both a miniature book (only 2.5 x 1 in.) and an amusing example of thumb cinema. Printed as double-sided hijinks in color and black and white, Special Collections has flipbooks 8, 11, and 12 starring Lantz's characters Woody Woodpecker, Charlie Chicken, Andy Panda, Buzz Buzzard, and Oswald the Rabbit.

Questions for self-reflection or discussion
What comparisons and contrasts can you make between these flip books and current approaches to animation and the frame?

Our optical toy collection contains visual devices and amusements that tie in to the histories of photography, film, animation, motion design, game design, and virtual reality. Includes examples of phenakistoscopes, stereoscopes, flip books, praxinoscopes, thaumatropes, tunnel books, and toy and moveable books.

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Copper Praxinoscope
Budapest: Manufaktor, 2000

Invented by Emile Reynaud (1844-1918), the praxinoscope is the successor to the zoetrope. It has a lower drum and a multi-faceted mirror placed around the central axis. A strip of images is fixed on the inner side of the drum. When spun, the mirrors and the drawings rotate simultaneously producing the illusion of motion.

This praxinoscope is a modern recreation from a Hungarian toy maker. It comes with eight interchangeable illustrated slips in vintage motifs: a flying dove, two fencers, two boxers, an elephant, a whale and bird, a dancing couple, a two-wheeled cart, and a horse and rider.

Questions for self-reflection or discussion
The praxinoscope is a form of technology that utilizes a repeating loop. Historically what other kinds of media, by design, are configured on a loop?


praxinoscope.mov

Current journals in artists’ publishing, book arts, and print activism. Plus historic periodicals in art, design, lifestyle, and travel, as well as artists’ magazines.

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Fleur Cowles
Flair
New York: Cowles Magazine, 1950-1951

Flair came on the scene in 1950 with panache. Although short-lived, this title remains one of the most exceptional American art and culture magazines to have ever been produced. At the helm was visionary editor Fleur Cowles--herself a well-networked artist, author, and philanthropist--and her publisher-financier-husband Gardner Cowles. Fleur created an innovative platform combining the work of avant-garde artists and literary figures (e.g. Saul Steinberg, Alexander Calder, Salvador Dali, Colette, Jean Cocteau, Tennessee Williams, Simone de Beauvoir) with high editorial design. She spared no expense to execute the finest detail. Each issue of Flair features a die cut cover and the interiors open up to an array of panoramic gatefolds, peek-a-boo windows, booklet inserts, specialty printing, and changes in paper stocks. The Rose Issue (shown in the video) was even rose scented. The magazine went under after just one year and twelve issues. In an attempt to revive the publication, the Flair Annual came out in 1953 (see the video from the Mary Evans Picture Library).

Special Collections has eight of the twelve issues (no. 1-7, 9). The first eight were art directed by Louis-Marie Eude with graphic design and illustrations by Federico Pallavicini; Hershel Bramson art directed the last four. Special Collections also has a copy of the 1953 Flair Annual signed by Fleur Cowles.

Questions for self-reflection or discussion
Who is the audience for Flair? What does the editorial design convey to the reader? What elements do you see to support your view?


flair-magazine.mov

International photo-bookworks with a focus on the 1960s to the present.

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Helen Douglas and Telfer Stokes
Clinkscale
Yarrow, Scotland: Weproductions, 1977

Clinkscale is one of many photobooks in Special Collections from Scotland's Weproductions. The front and back covers set the scene, showing a pair of cracked, dirty hands and a peek of flanneled torso playing a bright red accordion. Photographed straight on and printed approximately to scale, the reader too, upon picking up the book, has a visual sensation of their hands on the accordion's keys and switches. When the book expands, itself an accordion-fold structure, it is filled with a stretch of the greenest lawn. The anticipated conceptual wheeze of the musical instrument is replaced with the unexpected sounds of nature.

The juxtaposition of imagined noise and visible color is carefully keyed. The reverse of the accordion-folded lawn is printed a solid silent gray, matching the real color of the bellows.

Questions for self-reflection or discussion
How does the format of the book relate to the concept of the book? In what ways does the photographic imagery create dissonance with the form? What other types of image pairings might you make to surprise the viewer?

Handmade pop-up books for adult audiences.

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Kara Walker
Freedom, A Fable: A Curious Interpretation of the Wit of a Negress in Troubled Times, with Illustrations
Los Angeles: Peter Norton Family, 1997

As part of an annual tradition, the Peter Norton Family commissioned a different artist's edition each year to gift to their friends and members of the art community to celebrate the Christmas season and holidays. In 1997 they chose Kara Walker who was the newly minted recipient of a MacArthur "Genius Grant" and just 28 at the time. She created Freedom, A Fable, a pop-up book of intricate silhouettes made with the help of David Eisen, paper engineer. The production of the book is novel as an early adopter of laser cutting technology which was able to burn or cut complex paper shapes. The allegory Walker tells on the pages is original and layered too. Set in the 19th century, a "soon-to-be emancipated" African female slave has a vision. She is adrift on a captain-less ship in the Atlantic trying to understand both the grave uncertainty of her comrades--that is the formerly enslaved or the newly free--and the mystery and pointed trajectory of her life-giving gender.

Questions for self-reflection or discussion
Fables are fictions that impart a useful truth or a moral lesson. Kara Walker's fable warns that emancipation doesn't guarantee freedom for the oppressed. Why do you think Walker used the form of the silhouette to represent the characters in her fable?

Consider today's discussions and debates on race in America. How would you define freedom? What would freedom for all look like?

Historic and contemporary prints and printed matter from the 1450s forward, primarily American and European in scope, that showcase a range of relief, intaglio, and planographic processes. You’ll find portraits, landscapes, history scenes, still lifes, architecture, and naturalist representations of flora and fauna, as well as contemporary works that draw on abstraction, expression, chance, collage, and digital production.

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J. A. Atkinson, drawing; M. Dubourg, etching
Prince Blucher Under His Horse at the Battle of Waterloo
London: Edward Orme, 1815
Hand-colored aquatint

This hand-colored aquatint illustration and accompanying sheet of letterpress is for a larger work, Historic, Military and Naval Anecdotes, of Personal Valour, Bravery and Particular Incidents Which Occurred to the Armies of Great Britain, 1803-15, and Her Allies (London: Orme, 1819). The title of the print itself is a tad misleading as it actually documents an episode two days before the battle of Waterloo during the battle of Ligny on June 16, 1815. At Ligny, Field Marshal Blucher's Prussian army sustained a loss against Napoleon Bonaparte's French forces. During a charge, a musket shot hit Blucher's horse who "far from being stopped in his career by this wound, began to gallop more furiously, till it dropped down dead" (19). Blucher was trapped beneath his horse, narrowly escaping unseen as the French cavalry sped right past him. With haste, he got out of danger with his infantrymen on another horse and was able to resume command of his corps in time to help lead the Allies to victory at Waterloo.

The illustrated plate had been drawn, etched, and printed for British buyers by August 20, 1815, roughly two months after the military rally. The copy in Special Collections has a faint gilt edge, a good indication that this particular print had been bound in a deluxe book rather than sold as an individual sheet.

Questions for self-reflection or discussion
Think about the context (geography, time period, publishing platform, etc.) in which this aquatint was created and circulated. What moment does the artist choose to illustrate from Blucher's story? How do you think Allied audiences would have reacted to seeing this scene? Is it meant to be informative or entertainment? Are there any parallels that you can draw with contemporary media consumption?


atkinson_prince-blucher2.mov
J. A. Atkinson, Prince Blucher Under His Horse at the Battle of Waterloo

Our growing zine collection represents a range of dynamic voices. Derived from "fanzine" and pronounced "zeen." The term came into use during the 1980s to refer to a small, low-circulation magazine or newspaper, self-published for the love of the subject rather than for personal gain. Usually produced by mimeograph, xerox, risograph, or other democratically-available print technologies.

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Daniel Gorostiaga
Somewhere Btw, no. 10, 26, 37
Stuart, FL: Marginalmanworks.com, 2015-2016

Somewhere Btwn is a visual zine series layered with the kind of images that make your teeth itch. Each issue reinvents itself, becoming a space of frenetic experimentation and material risks. Gorostiaga, a South Florida artist and musician, and his collaborators cut through the humidity of DIY art making--with linocuts, spray paint, stencils, xerox prints, crayon rubbings, and hand drawing--to land somewhere on the other side.

Questions for self-reflection or discussion
What are some of the composite images and motifs in Daniel Gorostiaga's work that you can identify? What associations do these have for you? What kind of mood is evoked through the mediums he uses?


Distinctive Collections

Explore the distinctive collections that reside across different locations in the Library, Special Collections, and the Letterpress and Book Arts Center.

Markowitz Collection on the Holocaust. Collection of books, DVDs, children’s literature, and special collections with a focus on Jewish art and culture and Holocaust studies given by Rudolph and Florence Markowitz.

Louise Neaderland Collection of copy art. Collection of artists’ books, source materials, xerographic process copies, archival materials, xerographic prints, and trade books from the working library of American artist and founder of the International Society of Copier Artists (I.S.C.A.) Louise Neaderland.

Adrienne Vittadini Collection of design inspiration. Collection of books with a focus on textiles, decoration, and fashion from the personal library of American fashion designer Adrienne Vittadini.

Harold and Judilee Sterne Collection of book and printing history. Collection of books, journals, miniature books, and special collections with a focus on printing arts, bookbinding, and typography from the library of printers and letterpress specialists Harold and Judilee Sterne.

Brizdle-Schoenberg Collection. (cataloging in process) Collection of books and prints with a focus on 19th and 20th century Modern Art in France, plus European prints from different geographic regions and centuries.

Collection of Soviet Union photography. Contains the Hoffe, Selby, and Johnston photographic collections of black-and-white prints capturing historical political moments, military events, and genre scenes of people and places by well-known photographers working in the Soviet Union from the 1920s-1950s.

Popular Research Categories in Special Collections

See a range of popular subjects and formats at a glance.

Activism

Advertising

African American Studies

Alphabet Books

American History

Ancient Cultures

Animals & Bestiaries

Architecture

Art

Artists' Books

Asian Art

Astronomy

Autobiography/Biography

Book and Printing History

Books on Books

Broadsides

Calligraphy

Children's Literature

Classical Literature

Cooking

Decorative Arts

Decorated Paper

Drama

Environmental

Ephemera

Exhibition Catalogs

Facsimiles of rare editions

Fashion

Feminisms

Film

French Language

Furniture

Games

Genders & Sexualities

Genealogy

Handwritten Books

Holidays

Holocaust

Illustrated

Interior Design

Japanese Language

Literature

Maps

Military Service, Conflicts, and Wars

Miniature Books

Myths & Legends

Music

Nature

Occult & Magic

Optical Toys

Performance

Periodicals

Philosophy

Photography

Photobooks

Plants

Poetry

Politics

Pop-up Books

Portraits

Posters

Prints & Engravings

Religion

Satire & Humor

Science & Technology

Sketchbooks

Social Justice

Soviet Studies

Spanish Language

Sports

Travel & Exploration

Transportation (Automotive, Aviation, Maritime, Railroad)

Typographic Specimen Books

Zines

Thematic Exhibitions

Visit past exhibitions through our publication series, Exhibition Takeaways. The series serves as a guide to the collections, a starting point for a topic, an archive of an event, a catalog of after thoughts, and an opportunity for design. With any luck, this counter-punctual project will accumulate a body of ideas related to the studies and histories of art, design, communication, media, leisure, and publishing.

Note for educators: Exhibition Takeaways can be utilized to direct class activities, develop discussion questions, and create pull lists. To adapt for a class session, please contact the Special Collections Librarian in advance.

The Artistic World of Colette: Paris 1900-1930
Discover period illustrated books, livre d'artiste, prints, and ephemera to peek inside a network of illustrators, writers, designers, and editors affiliated with Colette.

Your Day & Your World
Print materials by artists interested in challenging the grossly simplified minority identities and narratives that have been imposed on them.

The Kitchen Is Now Open
Contains a selection of artists’ cookbooks, recipes, and food scores from 1945–2019.

Process-ing History: The Photobook and the Archive
The artists in this exhibition utilize the photograph and the form of the photobook to encroach on possibilities of the archive and the power of the archivist.

Step and Repeat: Pattern in Artists' Publications
Excavates the pleasures of pattern in the coverings, interiors, linings, and details of thirty artists’ publications.

an untitled show about Trump, the alt-right, and the state of things
Recent ephemera, publications, and politically-engaged art.


Drawn In: Wordless Stories & Mises-en-scène
New and recent graphic novels, alternative comics, zines, and artists’ books that communicate by other means.


Every miniature book in the collection, measuring no more than three inches, arranged in various states of attention and repose
Considers the enduring fascination of the miniature book vis-à-vis scholarship on the exaggeration of scale and the affects and aesthetics of cuteness.


Encoded &&&&&&&&& Encrypted
Entangles the visual and linguistic possibilities of the alphabetic, the ideographic, the algorithmic, and the enigmatic.


*More* is More: Xerographic Exchange and the I.S.C.A. Quarterly
Aims to show a representative sample from the thousands of xerographic experiments submitted during the first ten years of the I.S.C.A. Quarterly, as well as to map a few connections to Ringling College’s recent past.


Special Collections Staff

Janelle Rebel
Digital Curation and Special
Collections Librarian

jrebel@c.ringling.edu
(941) 359-7583

Alexandra Vargas-Fournier, CA
Archivist
avfourni@ringling.edu
(941) 309-4055