MTSU Book and Printing Arts and History


Book Arts and History BLOG

Happy Holidays!

Homage to 1923 Bruce Rogers Christmas greeting made out of letterpress printer's ornaments.

To celebrate the holidays, we are highlighting a Christmas greeting made by Bruce Rogers in 1923 out of letterpress printer’s ornaments that is housed in the Department’s Teaching and Historical collection. As an homage, I made two holiday cards using printers ornaments, although they are digital greetings and were not printed.

Image: Homage to Christmas greeting made by Bruce Rogers in 1923 out of letterpress printer’s ornaments that is housed in the Department’s Teaching and Historical collection, December 22, 2022.

‘Twas the Night before Christmas

Twas the Night Before Christmas Woodcut Color Image

To celebrate the upcoming Christmas holiday, we are highlighting a small publication of A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement C. Moore, first published in 1837. The poem is better known by its first line, “‘Twas the night before Christmas.” This version was published in 1921 and was designed by Bruce Rogers for the Atlantic […]

Image: A color woodcut by Florence Wyman Ivins from the 1921 Atlantic Monthly Press poem's publication, December 20, 2022.

Get your zines!

Get Your Zines! Image
One last post about MALA 6000. In addition to researching books in the Historical Collections, the students also made their own books in the form of zines, which are shown here. The assignment was to use an existing text and lay it out and illustrate it. The student used a simple format, with all the […]
Image: Zine retelling Aesop’s fable of the Lion and the Ass, by Sandra Flavin, December 9, 2022.

A Chapbook in Honor of William Edwin Rudge by Karen Brummer, MALA 6000 student

William Edwin Rudge honored with Chapbook
The Typophiles is a New York City organization, founded in the 1930s, which is devoted to the advocacy of fine typography. It’s name, typophiles, refers to those who loves printed matter and typography. In addition to hosting social events and lectures for its members, the group published books and other material, including chapbooks, such as this one, which is now housed in […] 
Image: Typesetting and Composition Room, pre-press era, December 3, 2022.

The Baltimore Bibliophiles by Linda G. Hall, MALA 6000 Student

Marbling from a keepsake book printed for members of the Baltimore Bibliophiles in May of 1960.

The images below are from a keepsake book printed for members of the Baltimore Bibliophiles in May of 1960. The coverboards are decorated with handmade marbled papers, made in England by Douglas Cockerell, the best known twentieth-century marbler. The pattern looks like the skin of a snake or a bird’s wing feathers. Marbling is a […]

Image: Marbling image from a 1960 keepsake book for members of the Baltimore Bibliophiles, December 3, 2022.

The Danish Aesop by Sandra Flavin, MALA 6000 student

The Danish Aesop is a book of fables written by Aesop, a Greek fabulist.

The Danish Aesop is a book of fables written by Aesop, a Greek fabulist.  It is not known if Aesop actually existed, although the writings of Aristotle and Phaedrus say he was born around 620 BCE in Phrygia. Aesop’s fables have been translated into many languages, and in The Danish Aesop, the fables are re-told by R. Broby-Johansen, a Danish historian, […]

Image: Illustration from The Danish Aesop, re-told by R. Broby-Johansen, an historian, communist activist, and writer. The illustrations throughout the book are by Mogens Zieler, a Danish painter, graphic designer, and illustrator, December 3, 2022.

Volumes on Ikebana (Japanese Flower Arranging) by Chelsea Able, MALA 6000 student

Volumes on Ikebana (Japanese Flower Arranging) by Chelsea Able, MALA 6000 student

The book that I chose to discuss for this post is an unusual one. It may have listed the title and other details of the book, but it is in Japanese. While I studied Japanese in my undergrad program, it has been a while, and I only got to the fourth class for Japanese language. […]

Image: Color lithograph floral arrangement from  “A Hundred Rules of Flower Arrangement," December 1, 2022.

MALA 6000: Experiencing Rare Books

MALA 6000 Book Example from Master of Liberal Arts foundational course

MALA 6000 is a foundational course for MTSU’s Master’s of Arts in Liberal Arts. This semester, the seminar was organized on the theme of “Experience.” For the Art History block, which was taught by Laura Cochrane, the students got to handle and explore the rare books and other materials in the Department of Art and […]

Image: Rare book exampled from the Department of Art and Design’s Teaching and Historical Collections, November 30, 2022.

Bruce Rogers’s Utopia

Bruce Rogers's Utopia

This time, we are continuing our exploration of the work of the book designer, Bruce Rogers. In 1934, Rogers designed and published a translation of Thomas More’s Utopia for the Limited Editions Club of New York. For that, he printed 1500 signed and numbered copies. The next year, the book was accurately reproduced and issued […]

Image: 1934 book cover design, detail, Rogers designed and published a translation of Thomas More’s Utopia for the Limited Editions Club of New York, November 10, 2022.

Bruce Rogers: An ornamental printer

Bruce Rogers: An Ornamental Printer

This week, the book we’ve chosen is a celebration of the renowned book designer and typographer, Bruce Rogers (1870-1957). Rogers worked for publishing houses, such as Riverside Press and Mount Vernon Press, and is best known for his Centaur Type. This book by Frederick Warde was published in 1925 and offers an overview of Rogers […]

Image: Joseph Conrad the Man, detail, Bruce Rogers, November 5, 2022

Course offering for spring 2023: Art History

Course offerings in Art History Spring 2023

An art history course next semester that will have an emphasis on book arts, printing, and letterpress is Northern Renaissance Art (ART 3860). Northern Renaissance Art looks at art in Germany, France, the Low Countries, and England from 1400-1600. This period in Europe saw the development of letterpress, intaglio, and relief printing, and was also […]

Image: Page detail, from the Calendar section of a Book of Hours made by the Limbourg Brothers for the Duke of Berry, c. 1412-1416, November 2, 2022

Course offerings for spring 2023: Book Arts and Letterpress

Course offerings in Book Arts and letterpress Spring 2023

We have a number of book arts classes on offer for next semester. Kathleen O’Connell will be offering classes on Letterpress (ART 3770) and Book Arts (ART 3550 and ART 4110). ART 3770 Print Media: Letterpress (Tuesday and Thursday at 11:25 AM-2:25 PM) ART 3770 Print Media: Letterpress is taught by Kathleen O’Connell and is […]

Image: Book Arts example, Kathleen O"Connell, Instructor, November 2, 2022

Course offerings for spring 2023: Printmaking

Course offering in Printmaking Spring 2023

If you are a student registering for classes for next semester, we have a lot of print arts classes on offer. In the print studio we have classes on Silkscreen and Digital Processes (ART 3015) and Lithography and Monotype (ART 3021), as well as Advanced Printmaking (ART 4130), all taught by Nick Satinover. ART 3015 […]

Image: Printmaking Student at work, Nick Satinover, Instructor, November 2, 2022

Celebrating the Scroll

Celebrating the Scroll Image

The “Book of the Week” for this week is in a different format. The codex is what we usually think of when we think of a book today; but books bound together on one edge, with pages that can be turned, were only invented about 2000 years ago. Before that, a book may have been […]

Image: This example from the MTSU Art and Design Historical and Teaching Collection is a reproduction of a Roman scroll. It includes Book II of Virgil’s Aeneid and must be read by rolling the sheet from one page to the next, October 18, 2022

Book of the Week

Book of the Week Image - October 12, 2022

This week, our “Book of the Week” is just two pages of a book. This hand-colored etching of a wren and its accompanying description are from William Lewin’s publication, The Birds of Great Britain, systematically arranged, accurately Engraved, and Painted from Nature,” which was published in London by J. Johnson in eight volumes, between 1795 […]

Image: The Birds of Great Britain, systematically arranged, accurately Engraved, and Painted from Nature, October 12, 2022

Book of the Week

Book of the Week - October 5, 2022

This week, in honor of the Jewish High Holidays, the book we have chosen is Ben Shahn’s The Alphabet of Creation. Here, Shahn retells and illustrates a legend from the Sefer Ha-Zohar, a mystical text written in medieval Spain, that relates how God created the world through the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The book […]

Image: Ben Shahn’s The Alphabet of Creation, October 5, 2022

A Successful Marbling Workshop

Marbled Paper Workshop Results

We had a fun and productive Saturdays At Todd Marbling Workshop, with some great results.

Image: Examples of Marbled Paper created during Dr. Cochrane's workshop, Ocotber 1, 2022

Marbled papers in the Department of Art and Design historical collections

Book of the Week - September 30, 2022
Below are images of marbled papers from our historical collections. Examples range from the early eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Web sites with more information on historical marble patterns: Decorated and Decorative Paper Collection Marbled Paper Patterns Payhembury Patterns Examples of marbling Marbled Paper Designs

Image: Book of the Week, September 30, 2022

Book of the Week

Book of the Week for 9/27/22
Each week, we will post a “Book of the Week” from one of our classes or collections in the Department of Art and Design, or from another collection in Middle Tennessee, or from our travels. This is the first! This week, in honor of the marbling workshop on Saturday, let us introduce a little French […]
 Image: Book of the Week, September 25, 2022

On the Third Floor of Todd Hall

Display of decorative paper from book arts classes taught by Kathleen O’Connell.
The Department of Art and Design galleries on the second floor of Todd Hall get a lot of visitors. Butwe also have artworks on view on the third floor, which houses our Book Arts, Letterpress, and Printmaking studios. Examples of student works are on the walls and there are small exhibitions in cases across […]
Image: Display of boxes and artists’ books from book arts classes taught by Kathleen O’Connell, September 10, 2022
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