Exhibit with maps, real & imagined

1882 Atlas

1882 Atlas


A recent donation is on exhibit in The Ames Library, just past the entry level rotunda, now through the end of January.

The volume complements our manuscript and monograph collections on John Wesley Powell and the American West. The atlas is large–approximately 2′ wide when open–and has many colored maps, created by the ever-authoritative US Geological Survey.western-pt-of-plateau








A few other maps on display are “real” renditions (we can and should debate the depiction of reality in any author’s work), intended for serious illustration of travel narratives like


This foldout map in Birbeck’s 1818 “Notes on a Journey…” is separated at the top fold but complete.

Morris Birbeck’s 1818 Notes on a Journey in America, from the Coast of Virginia to the Territory of Illinois, or in educationally-minded works like Thomas Harrington’s 1773 A New Introduction to the Knowledge and Use of Maps.

The latter volume is from the Book Arts Collection part of Special Collections that celebrates the artistry used in making books, not for art’s sake but for many elements of the craft that are almost incidental to what we understand of the purpose for books today.


Others in the exhibit are intentionally imagined landscapes, used to navigate a story, as in Lars Arrhenius’s A-Z. Interestingly enough, the book had its origin in a large-scale exhibition. The volume in Ames is from our  Artists’ Books Collection and is used in an avant-garde literature course.


Two others on display are autobiographical in nature, by book artist and fine press printer Andrew Huot, and represent his explorations of self-discovery: Navigation and Exits West.

See http://andrewhuot.com/section/104877-Navigation.html

See http://andrewhuot.com/section/104877-Navigation.html

See http://andrewhuot.com/section/80223-Exits-West.html

See http://andrewhuot.com/section/80223-Exits-West.html













These works and more are available year round for anyone interested in exploring the many varieties of material culture in Tate Archives & Special Collections on The Ames Library’s 4th floor!

What good is a canned book?

Professor Kathleen O’Gorman’s Avant-Garde Fiction class began presenting the results of their investigations into this genre of literature yesterday in the archives’ reading room. Special Collections in The Ames Library holds dozens of other works by people who use artistic means to challenge our notions of what a book is.

In the following video, Troy Sennett, Class of 2014, shares his analysis of a particular text and concludes with a one-time-only event: the opening of a canned book called An Excerpt from John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. This rendition of a classic was created by Peter & Donna Thomas of Santa Cruz, CA in 2003.