Altered books

Selected Examples

Charrière, Gérard. Prison book. ([New York? : the artist], 1989).

Consists of an altered book and a tied bundle of newspaper clippings in a wooden cigar box. The book is a Russian translation of A. J. Cronin’s Citadel, in a library binding. The artist has cut a large rectangle from the book, through the covers and text block, and has placed the remaining part of the book in a Royal Jamaica cigar box; the bundle of newpaper clippings, tied with twine, is placed in the cavity of the book.

LOCATION: Special Collections | Folio+ | N7433.4 C4387 P7x 1989


Child, Abigail. Flesh : poems for Sarah Shulman. (Amsterdam ; New York : ZET, 1990).

Printed on double leaves; alternative readings of the text show through cut-outs in the upper leaves.

LOCATION: Special Collections | 26 cm | N7433.4 .C55 F58x 1990


Cohen, Claudia. Chasing paper. (Vancouver, B.C. : Heavenly Monkey Editions, 2007).

            Primarily constructed from paper samples and other found objects.

LOCATION: Special Collections | 28 cm | N7433.4 .C63 C48 2007


[Expurgated books]. Rodrigues, Manuel. Obras morales en romance. ([Salamanca] : A costa de Juan Garcia mercader de libros, Año de MDCX [1610] ; En Salamanca : En la Emprenta de Diego Cussio).

Library’s copy has been censored: Signed, dated inscriptions on t.p. and t.p. verso state that the book has been expurgated. On t.p. verso: Expurgado por mandado del ... officio segun el expungar, des año de 1707. Examples of expurgations on p. 19, 90, 109, etc.

LOCATION: Special Collections | In Process | # 2538114


[Extra-Illustrated books]. Dickens, Charles. The Mystery of Edwin Drood. (London : Chapman and Hall, 1870).

Extra illustrated copy, with: 23 additional leaves of illustrated plates, some hand colored; 1 ANS: 16 March ’94, 11 Melbury Road, Kensington W., to Maurice Clifford / Luke Fildes, [2] p., with envelope; two leaves of typewritten text (mimeographed) by Robert Langdon on the model and location of the novel, with reference to a manuscript in the Forster Collection; and another publication on the novel. ANS and envelope are mounted, the remainder bound in.

Additional holograph title page: The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens ; illustrated by Luke Fildes ; with additional matter relating to the work. A portrait and autograph letter of the illustrator, and extra illustrated by plates and by an original series of topographical water color drawings. London 1970.

LOCATION: Special Collections | 24 cm | PR4564 .A1 1870d c.5


Pisano, Maria G. O-livre twist : in a new and special adapted version. ([Plainsboro, N.J. : Memory Press, c2001]).

"A children’s copy of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist was recycled and made into pulp. The paper was not fully macerated, wanting to retain some of the original words and images. Once hydrated, sheets were formed in 3 1/4 " x 4 1/4" sizes. When dried, since the paper was industrial newsprint, it was strengthened with acrylic matte finish"--Label inside accompanying preservation box.

A portion of the spine of the recycled book is mounted atop a stack of 9 recycled sheets (described above) as well as a title strip, the whole held together at the center by a screw and wing nut.

LOCATION: Special Collections | 18 cm | N7433.3 .P545 O45 2001


Porter, Bern. The world of Bern. (Ann Arbor, Mich. : Roger Jackson, c2002).

            Chiefly consists of found objects, mounted to book. Limited edition of 50 copies.

LOCATION: Special Collections | Folio | N7433.4 .P67 .W67x 2002


Price, Robin. Slurring at bottom : a printer’s book of errors. (Middletown, Conn. : Robin Price, 2001).

"We started with leftover sheets from earlier press books by Robin Price [...] Divided into twenty stacks, we printed new text onto half of them, mostly excerpted from previously published books (not our own). We shipped out the rest to ten different artists; working independently they contributed original artwork onto each of their sheets. On their finished sheets we printed short phrases, culled from hundreds of esoteric technical notes. [...] Each copy is unique” - Colophon


Price, Robin (Glenna Robin). 43, according to Robin Price : with annotated bibliography. (Middletown, Conn. : Robin Price, 2007).

“Paper maps, gathered from locations around the world that run along the 43rd parallels form the background accordion that structurally supports the main text accordion made of semi-translucent graph paper [...] The pocket and the booklet cover are made of paper maps, mostly USGS topographic maps and vary throughout the edition "--Publisher’s advertisement.

LOCATION: Special Collections | Folio | N7433.4 .P7434 F67x 2008


Rathman, David. Roar shocks. (New York : Granary Books, 1998 ; [Minneapolis] : Hermetic Press).

"Ink drawings and page composition by David Rathman; with text extracted from treatises on the Rorschach procedure and subsequently modified by multiple Xeroxing"—Colophon

LOCATION: Special Collections | 28 cm | N7433.4 .R37 R63x 1998


Spector, Buzz. A Passage. (New York City : Granary Books, [1994] ; [Minneapolis] : Hermetic Press).

Consists of copies of leaf 181, each of which is torn vertically by the artist, the stubs gradually increasing in width from the upper to the lower pages so as to form, when the covers are closed, a text block which resembles a triangle when viewed from top or bottom.

LOCATION: Special Collections | 22 cm | N7433.4 .S645 P37x 1994


Vassilakis, Nico. West of Dodge. (Dugort, Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland: Redfoxpress, 2010)

Reproduces selected pages from a Louis L’Amour book which had been the artist has used as canvases or templates to expand upon.

LOCATION: Special Collections | In Process | # 2478177


Veroni, Ral. Lucha por la vida = Struggle for life. (Rosendale, N.Y. : Women’s Studio Workshop, 2000).

P. [15-74] are screenprints on obsolete paper currency (mostly Latin American) housed in plastic sleeves.

LOCATION: Special Collections | Folio+ | N7433.4 .V468 L83x 2000


[Book Safe]. Anderson, Jack and James Boyd. Fiasco. (New York: Time Books, 1983).

A modified book, created as a safe or hiding place for valuables. The text after the title page has been hollowed out and two small velveteen storage boxes inserted. The edges of the book were left intact, so that the alteration is not apparent when the book is closed.

LOCATION: Special Collections | Warner Perry Collection | TS420 .B66 1983


[Fore-edge painting] Delille, Jacques. Les jardins, ou, L’art d’embellir les paysages : poeme. (A Paris : De l’imprimerie de Franç. Ambr. Didot l’ainé, 1782).

Fore edge painting of French garden scene, probably Luxembourg; floral wreaths at each end.

LOCATION: Special Collections | Fore-Edge Folio | PQ1975 J3 1782b

Additional specimens can be found in DELCAT by searching for “ Painting Collection” under author, or for “ painting – Specimens” under subject.


[Fore-edge painting – Double Fore-edge] Austin, Wiltshire Stanton. The lives of the poets-laureate. (London, R. Bentley, 1853).

Double fore- edge painting showing Canterbury from the close and Canterbury from the green.

LOCATION: Special Collections | Fore-Edge 22 | PR505 .A8


[Holograph corrections / additions]. Apollinaire, Guillaum. The poet assassinated. (New York : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1968).

Translator’s autograph presentation copy, inscribed to Frances Lefevre on t.p. The translator had drawn a donkey on the t.p. and inked out letters from the title, such that the title reads: “The poet as ass”.

LOCATION: Special Collections | 26 cm | PQ2601 .P6 P62 1968


[Manuscript waste]. Libavius, Andreas. D.O.M.A. Singularivm Andreæ Libavii med. phys. Rotemb. pars prima [-quarta] : in qva de abstrvsioribvs, difficilioribusq[ue] nonnullis in philosophia, medicina, chymia, &c. quæstionibus, vtpote de metallorvm, svcciniqve natura: de carne fossili, vt credita est, de gestatione cacodæmonum; veneno, aliisque rarioribus, quæ versa indicat pagina, plurimis accuratè disseritur. (Francofvrti : Impressa typis Ioannis Saurii, impensis Petri Kopffij, 1599-1601).

Volume 1 is bound in a contemporary vellum manuscript, with some illumination in red ink.

LOCATION: Special Collections | Unidel 18 cm | Q155 .L53x 1599 v. 1

Additional specimens can be found in DELCAT by searching for “Manuscript waste” as a subject.