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O’Neill Library Reading Room Exhibits

The Bookbinder's Apprentices: Early Printed Books: History and Craft's Modern Spin on Volvelles and St. Gall's Books

October 15 - November 19

Early Printed Books: History and Craft is a Boston College history course currently being taught by Professor Virginia Reinburg, in conjunction with Burns Library Conservator Barbara Adams Hebard. In this class, students have the opportunity to explore the vast changes that the introduction of the printing press brought to Europe around the seminar table with Professor Reinburg. In the conservator’s lab, under the guidance of Ms. Hebard, students work on projects that help them understand the physicality of the books in the Burns. Starting with simple techniques and tools, like folding paper to make St. Gall books, the students will progress to more complicated techniques, like sewing and blind tooling, making impressions on leather with hot brass tools. Currently on display in the O’Neill Library Reading Room are examples of the crafts the students have produced so far this semester: volvelles, known in the past as calculators, and St. Gall books, small books made by folding paper with bone folders, a tool historically used by bookbinders.  Everyone in the class was able to let their creativity loose on each project, and no two finished pieces look alike. The exhibition was curated by Boston College students Violet Caswell, Danielle Nista, and Marianna Sorensen.

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The Bookbinder's Apprentices exhibit poster


About the O’Neill Library Reading Room

You can view the archive listing here.