Mortimer Rare Book Room History

Michèle Cloonan, curator 1995-1996

Michèle V. CloonanAfter Ruth Mortimer’s death at the end of January 1994, assistant curator Karen Kukil served as interim curator of rare books until the arrival of Michèle Cloonan in August 1995. Cloonan brought a fresh perspective to some procedures in the Mortimer Rare Book Room, and she continued Ruth Mortimer’s tradition of teaching undergraduates using original materials from the collection.

 

Michèle V. Cloonan


Cloonan organized “Books Illustrated,” a two-day symposium in 1996, honoring Ruth Mortimer’s work at Smith as a curator, teacher, and collector. The program included presentations in areas of particular interest to Mortimer by long-time friends and former colleagues. An exhibition, “Speakers Illustrated,” highlighted the work of all participants in the symposium.  A keepsake featured three haiku written by Mortimer and an origami crane, both housed in a box covered with paste papers made by Elisabeth Hyder of Brookfield, MA. A printed booklet collected highlights of individual speakers’ talks and panel discussions.

Books Illustrated: Presentations from the Symposium Celebrating the Work of Ruth Mortimer held at Smith College, April 12-13, 1996. Smith College, 1997. With Symposium keepsake. [Click on images to enlarge]
Books Illustrated: Presentations from the Symposium Celebrating the Work of Ruth Mortimer held at Smith College, April 12-13, 1996 Books Illustrated: Presentations from the Symposium Celebrating the Work of Ruth Mortimer held at Smith College, April 12-13, 1996

Books Illustrated Symposium Keepsake [Click on image to enlarge]

MRBR dedication keepsake

Early Bindings in Paper by Michèle V. CloonanMichèle Cloonan, a graduate of Bennington College, has an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Library and Information Science (LIS) and has served as preservation officer at Brown University and professor in the UCLA Department of LIS. Currently she is Dean and Professor at the Simmons College Graduate School of LIS in Boston. Her graduate work on paper bindings led to a book on the history of European hand-made paper-covered books. She is active in various professional library and conservation organizations.

Michèle V. Cloonan. Early Bindings in Paper. London: Mansell Publishing, 1991. PRESENTED BY MICHÈLE V. CLOONAN