Mortimer Rare Book Room Past Exhibitions

Following is a list of past exhibitions of manuscripts, rare books, and contemporary book arts that were 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.


Illustrated paper bookbinding for Elizabeth Champney, Three Vassar Girls in Italy The Lure of Italy: Travel books and manuscripts from the Gundersheimer Collection
August 25-December 20, 2016
Fifty books celebrating travel to Italy from the 18th through the 20th century from 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. 
Witnessing a dire future by Robin Price Selected Works by Robin Price
September-December 20, 2016
An exhibition accompanying the annual McGrath Lecture in Book Arts honoring the memory of master printer Harold P. McGrath, (1921–2000). 
Eleanor Wilner, Precessional Eleanor Wilner: Finely Printed
March 1 - July 31, 2016
An exhibition curated by Jessica Ryan, Ada Class of 2017 accompanying the 2016 Enid Mark Lecture in Contemporary Book Arts & Poetry.
Watercolor by Angela Lorenz Angela Lorenz: Collecting to Created
March 1 - July 31, 2016
Visual artist Angela Lorenz uses found objects, interesting trash, vintage ephemera, and strange “stuff” she has stumbled upon over the years as the raw material and inspiration for some of her artists books and projects.


Daniel Kelm

The Artistry of Daniel E. Kelm
October 1 - December 15, 2015
An exhibition curated by Jessica Ryan, class of 2017 accompanying the 2015 McGrath Lecture in Contemporary Book Arts.

Hampshire Bookshop Marion Dodd and The Hampshire Bookshop
September 2015-February 29, 2016
An exhibition of books and images—from Smith College Special Collections—marking the centennial of the founding of The Hampshire Bookshop in Northampton, MA in 1916.Curated by Barbara B. Blumenthal, Rare Book specialist, Mortimer Rare Book Room.
Summer Ices
July 1-August 15, 2015
This exhibition of images from books in the Mortimer Rare Book Room features glaciers, polar expeditions, and other icy scenes--from the 18th to the 21st century--to cool you off during July and August.
Paper or Plastic poster Paper or Plastic
January 26-February 28, 2015
An exhibition of bookstore bags from around the world curated by Naomi Sinnathamby, class of 2015.
Loving Books poster Loving Books
January 26-February 28, 2015
An exhibition of books from the finison collection curated by Emily Rothman, class of 2015.


Robert Seydel The Eye in Matter Robert Seydel: The Eye in Matter
September 2 - December 15, 2014
A major retrospective exhibition at Smith College, featuring a definitive selection from Seydel’s acclaimed “Ruth” series — more than 300 collages, “journal pages,” and drawings.
From Lemons Descending, 2000 Michael Kuch: Selected Works from the Double Elephant Press
September 2 - December 15, 2014
An Exhibition Accompanying the McGrath Lecture in Contemporary Book Arts, "Twenty Years of the Double Elephant Press: Harnessing Influence & Ignorance."
Two New Collections in the Mortimer Rare Book Room
April 30-May 27, 2014
Selections from the Gundersheimer Collection of Italian Travels and the James Fraser Collection.
"Beyond the Baby-sitters Club: The Other Books of Ann M. Martin"
March 24 - May 27, 2014
As part of her senior capstone project, Su Meck, AC class of 2014, put together an exhibition highlighting samples from the Ann M. Martin papers.
Language of Love Exhibition "The Language of Love"
February 1 - 28, 2014
An exhibition in honor of "I Love My Library Day" of valentines donated to the library in the 1960s by Marjorie B. Menden, class of 1930. 


Shirley Jones book cover Shirley Jones and the Red Hen Press
September 12-December 20, 2013
An exhibition celebrating the 30th anniversary of books and prints created by Welsh artist and author Shirley Jones
Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar Revisited
June-September 8, 2013
 Curated by recent graduate Amanda Ferrara ’13 for her capstone project in the Archives Concentration Program, the show explores some of the source material for the novel.
Cover of My Lady Laughter by Dwight Tilton 'Cultivating the nobler part of her nature': Books for Women and Girls in Early America
February 28 - May 28, 2013
Four seniors in the Book Studies Concentration curated and installed the exhibition which was the result of their Book Studies Capstone Seminar in fall 2012.


image from Harper’s Weekly of March 14, 1847 A Place of Reading: Three Centuries of Reading in America
February 28 - May 28, 2013
An exhibition illuminating the rich history of reading in America showcased through books, broadsides, woodcuts, etchings, lithographs, watercolors, etc.


Skunk cabbage in William Barton’s Vegetable materia medica The Chemist in the Garden: Origins of Natural Products
February 1 - May 27, 2013
An exhibition showcasing botanical books from the Mortimer Rare Book Room that have particular significance to Lâle Burk, who retired in 2013 as a senior lecturer in the Chemistry Department.



book cover A Room of Our Own: An exhibition celebrating fifty years in the Mortimer Rare Book Room
September 4, 2012 - February 10, 2013
An exhibition celebrating  fifty years including books, manuscripts, and photographs documenting the state of rare books at Smith.
The Cat Lover Speaks
May 10 through July 31, 2012
An exhibition of books and images of our feline friends, curated by Sally Fisher '12.
Paste Papers of the Pioneer Valley
January through May, 2012
An exhibition celebrating the variety of color, design, and technique of a special type of decorated paper—paste paper—by local artists. 
Charles Dickens Charles Dickens at 200
January 15 through April 15, 2012
An exhibition of the Mortimer Rare Book Room's notable Charles Dickens collection, including a number of his novels in “original parts."



Barbara Leoff Burge. None of Your Damn Business. 2010 Hand, Voice & Vision: Artists’ Books from Women’s Studio Workshop
September 8 through December 20, 2011
An exhibition highlighting the creative work of women during the past 30 years at the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY.
wood-engraving by Gaylord Schanilec from New York Revisited Remembering 9/11
September 29 through December 22, 2011
The responses of sixteen artists and writers, in books and photographs, were on display to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
Willa Cather Willa Cather: A Retrospective
June-August, 2011
Curated by Emily Saer Cook '11 for the 13th International Willa Cather Seminar, hosted by Smith College June 20-25, 2011. The exhibition featured selections from the extensive Willa Cather collections of Beatrice Oenslager Chace '28 and others.
Lady Slipper by Emily Hitchcock Terry From a Botanical Family: Emily Hitchcock Terry (1838-1921)
January-June 30, 2011
Curated by Daria D’Arienzo, this exhibition featured photographs of Emily and her family and drawings  and paintings by her, primarily from the Smith College Archives and the Mortimer Rare Book Room.
detail The Holy Bible, printed in 1769 In the Beginning:The King James Bible, 1611
March-May, 2011
An exhibition by guest curator Mark Morford marking the 400th anniversary of its first printing featuring approximately 40 manuscript and printed bibles, spanning nearly eight centuries.


The Cat's Festival by William Mulready Exhibition: Cabinet of Culinary Curiosities
September, 2010 - February, 2011
This array of more than fifty culinary curiosities from books and manuscripts features images and descriptions of food and eating from the 16th through the 21st centuries. View online.
Virginia Woolf, ca. 1912, Vanessa Bell A Bloomsbury Tea: Virginia Woolf in America
February 18, 2010
Renowned literary scholar Mark Hussey discussed the role of Second Wave American feminism in Woolf studies. View a slide show presentation.
Sylvia Plath Two Sylvia Plath Photos loaned to NYC Exhibition
January, 2010
The Mortimer Rare Book Room loaned the photos to the Poetry Society of America's centennial exhibition "Portraits of Poets: 1910-2010".


Yaddo Unconquered by Flames:The Literary Lights of Yaddo
August - October, 2009
An exhibition celebrating the talents of writers Lola Ridge, Sylvia Plath, Constance Carrier and scholar Newton Arvin, Neilson Library.
detail Sylvia Plath letter to Marcia Brown "Dearest Marty": Letters from Sylvia Plath
May 14 - July 31, 2009
Letters from Sylvia Plath to her college friend Marcia Brown Stern were on display in the Mortimer Rare Book Room.
Lithographed image by Enid Mark The Meandering Thread: The Work of Enid Mark '54
May 14 - July 31, 2009
An exhibition of the work of Enid Mark who studied literature and art at Smith College and later became a creator of artist's books.
Charles Darwin 1868 Darwin & Lincoln: Two 19th-Century Giants
January 27 - May 8, 2009
An exhibition heralding the 200th anniversary of the births of these two notable figures of the nineteenth century.


detail book cover and binding by Deborah Howe Inspired Design: The Mentoring Stamp
August 10 - December 20, 2008
This set book exhibition featured bindings by members of the New England Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers. A fully-illustrated catalogue is available for sale. Order form.
detail from Broken Markers by Werner Pfeiffer Werner Pfeiffer: Book-Objects & Artist Books
April 1 - July 31, 2008
The exhibition featured 39 objects made by Pfeiffer using real books. View a video clip of the opening reception and book assemblage from April 3.
Sylvia Plath Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium at Smith College
April 25 - 26, 2008
Several of Plath’s friends read and reflected upon letters they received from Plath, sharing their insight with the audience. View a video from the panel discussion. Order notecards or a poster.
Professor Emeritus Frank Ellis Exhibition Honoring Frank Ellis
January - March, 2008
Legendary Professor Emeritus of English Language and Literature and generous library supporter passed away in November 2007.


Margarito Rodriguez, landmine victim “Step by Step: Photographs from Walking Unidos” by Stephen Petegorsky
February 5 - March 23, 2008
Images by Northampton photographer to raise awareness about land mine victims in Central America.
Woodcut by Lynd Ward from Wild Pilgrimage Staff Picks: Library staff and student favorites from the Mortimer Rare Book Room
February 5 - March 23, 2008
An exhibition of Library staff and student favorites.
illustration asymmetric typography
Poetic Science: Bookbindings by Daniel E. Kelm
September 10, 2007 - January 21, 2008
The first solo exhibition featuring twenty-four bookbindings of the Easthampton-based artist.
illustration by William Sharp from Victoria regia The World in a Garden: Botanical Books & Prints
April 2 - July 15, 2007
An exhibition featuring many notable books in the history of botany in honor of the retirement of C. John Burk, professor of botany & biology, 1961-2007.
detail greek printing Printing the Greeks: Technical & Aesthetic Considerations
January 25 - March 25, 2007
An exhibition curated by Elaine Chan '07 of classical and Christian texts, ranging in date from 1482 to 2003, and printed using various designs or fonts of Greek types.


Janus Press Dido Aeneas Claire Van Vliet & The Janus Press: 50 Years
August 5 - October 31, 2006
An exhibition featuring books and broadsides published by Janus Press in the collections of the Mortimer Rare Book Room. Janus Press was founded by Claire Van Vliet in 1995. A catalogue, The Janus Press: Fifty Years, is for sale in the Mortimer Rare Book Room.
detail of Idol at Copan Drawing from the Past: Maya Antiquity through the Eyes of Frederick Catherwood
March 15 - July 31, 2006
An exhibition of lithographs from Frederick Catherwood's Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan (1844) curated by students in the First Year Seminar, “Making Sense of the Pre-Columbian".
page from Morning Notebook by Edward Kessler, etchings by Anne Walker Poetics of Color: Books by Anne Walker
November 8, 2005-February 28, 2006
An exhibition of more than 30 “painted books” recently presented to the Mortimer Rare Book Room at Smith College


detail from Susan Barron's Senza Ancora (1999) Paper, Bone, Vellum, Stone: Bookworks by Susan Barron
September 6 - October 28 2005
Artist's book exploring language and its relationship to music, to image and to the natural world.
Pouchee's Letter R

Letterforms as Design
April - August 15 2005
Books, prints, and manuscripts from the Mortimer Rare Book Room, and addressing issues of legibility and the historical precedents of the forms of the western alphabet.

Illustration from The Left-Handed Punch The Artists Book in the 20th Century
April - August 15 2005
An exhibition curated by students as part of the final project for the course “The Artists Book in the 20th Century,” taught in the fall of 2004 in the Mortimer Rare Book Room by curator Martin Antonetti.
Japanese paper maker from the Cash collection Japanese Picture Books from the Collection of George Cash January-February 2005
Books from George Cash's collection of Japanese Picture books (ehon) containing woodcut images by popular ukiyo-e artists.


detail from Theatrum machinarum by G. A. Boechler

Handmade Paper & Hand Papermaking Portfolios
November-December 2004
This exhibition showcased six portfolios of handmade papers published between 1994 and 2003 by Hand Papermaking, Inc.

detail of illustration by Karen Pava Randall Girl Printers
January 14 - March 28, 2004
An invitational show featuring printing, books & ephemera. "Made by hand, made by machine, made with humor & passion" Curated by Carol J. Blinn, proprietor of Warwick Press, Easthampton, MA, assisted by Meg Sanders.


June 3-5, 2003 Wolf in the Real World: Thirteenth Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf
Smith College hosted the 13th annual Virginia Woolf conference. See the conference website for details.
May through Sept 15 2003 Woolf in the World: A Pen and A Press of Her Own
A major exhibition of Virginia Woolf's manuscripts and Hogarth Press first editions from the Frances Hooper '14 and Elizabeth Power Richardson '43 collections in the Mortimer Rare Book Room (Book Arts gallery only)
May through Sept 15 2003 A Story of Their Own: Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and Gloria Steinem
Using original manuscripts and published biographies, this exhibition examines the various ways women's lives are portrayed (Mortimer Rare Book Room)
May through Sept 15 2003 "Her Novels Make Mine Possible": Virginia Woolf's Influence on Sylvia Plath
Curated by Amanda Golden, MA, University of Massachusetts (Mortimer Rare Book Room entrance)
Sept 20 through October

Holding On. Holding In. The Artist’s Books of Martha A.
Hall (’71)
A personal statement on the therapeutic value of art; one
alumna’s artistic response to the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer (Morgan Gallery & Book Arts Gallery)

October through December Staff Visions Art Exhibition
An annual exhibition of arts and crafts created by Smith College Staff members (Morgan Gallery & Book Arts Gallery)