Mortimer Rare Book Room Exhibitions

Exhibitions in the Library

Exhibitions of manuscripts, rare books, and contemporary book arts are shown in three places in Neilson Library: in the Morgan Gallery on the main floor, in the Book Arts Gallery on the third floor, and in the Mortimer Rare Book Room vestibule.

Fall 2016

The Lure of Italy: Travel books and manuscripts from the Gundersheimer Collection 

August 25-December 20, 2016
Book Arts Gallery, Neilson Library, level 3

Fifty books which celebrate travel to Italy from the 18th through the 20th century are on display in Neilson Library. They are part of a remarkable collection of nearly 600 books on Italian travel which Werner L. Gundersheimer, director emeritus of the Folger Shakespeare Library, donated to the Mortimer Rare Book Room in 2014. The collection is composed of accounts of mostly English and American travelers to all parts of Italy, including the Grand Tour, later American cultural tourism, and women travelers. Many of the books are illustrated with drawings, prints, and photographs, and some of the texts shed new light on early travelers’ motivations and interests. Many books have decorative, illustrative, and colorful book covers. 

The exhibition was curated by Leslie J. Winter, who began working on this project shortly after the Gundersheimer Collection arrived at Smith College. In 2015 she received a Masters of Art in Art History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is currently a candidate for a Masters of Library Science at Indiana University Bloomington with a Specialization in Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarianship.

Read more...

book cover Three Vassar Girls in Italy
Illustrated paper bookbinding for Elizabeth Champney, Three Vassar Girls in Italy (Boston, 1886)

See also Past Exhibitions.