News and Events: Archive:

Books As Art, History, & More
In Latest Libraries' Journal

Image of the Beauvais Missal
Image of the "Beauvais Missal," handwritten in northern France at the end of the 13th century. The "Beauvais Missal" manuscript is held by Special Collections and University Archives at Rutgers. This image accompanies Barbara Shailor's article on Otto Ege's manuscript fragment collection, in the 2003 Journal.

Adding further texture to the time-honored adage that "you can't judge a book by its cover," the latest issue of the Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries examines the how books themselves (or their precursors) can represent deliberate values, potent meanings, and powerful expressions - beyond the mere words contained therein.

This special issue of the Journal, published in the summer of 2003, is devoted to “The Book As Art, Literature, and History.” The issue features scholarly articles, accompanied by rich and varied archival illustrations, on the following topics:

  • How women's social and vocational roles were represented, and misrepresented, in 19th century book illustrations drawn by women;
  • The unique capability of artist's books to transcend time and bind together disparate sources and forms seamlessly;
  • The efforts of one noted early 20th century "biblioclast" to sell medieval books a page at a time and how libraries and electronic resources are working to create unified pictures of the far flung pieces;
  • The research challenges, joys, and discoveries of a noted women's literature scholar;
  • How the printing of one million miniature Buddhist prayer scrolls, placed in small wooden pagodas and stored in ten temples, can tell us a lot about Japan's 8th century Empress and of the development of written language in general.

Contributing authors include:

  • Barbara Balliet, associate director of the women's and gender studies department at Rutgers ("Reproducing Gender in Nineteenth-Century Illustrations");
  • Michael Joseph, Rutgers rare book librarian ("How Books Stop Time: The Problem of Originality and Artists' Books");
  • Barbara Shailor, Deputy Provost for the Arts at Yale University ("Otto Ege: His Manuscript Fragment Collection and the Opportunities Presented by Electronic Technology");
  • Elaine Showalter, Avalon Foundation Professor of the Humanities and Professor of English at Princeton University ("A Literature of My Own: Living with Victorian Women Writers");
  • Robert Sewell, Rutgers associate university librarian for collection development and management ("The First Printed Text in the World, Standing Tall and Isolated in Eighth-Century Japan: Hyakumanto Darani").

This issue of the Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries may be obtained, at a cost of $25 per copy, by sending an email to Journal editor Robert Sewell at or by calling 732/932-7505. A sample article from this issue can be read as a PDF file (3,450 k) (using Adobe Acrobat Reader).

Posted June 30, 2003