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Special Collections and Rare Book Department: Book Arts and Graphic Design

Outlines major collections, provides links to finding aids and describes services of the Special Collections and Rare Book Department at Western Michigan University.

Images from the Collections

Woodcut double title-page of The Tale of Beowulf... printed by Kelmscott Press, 1895


Front cover of 折紙模様. 上 (Origami moyo. 1) by Kawarasaki Kodo, 1935

View of pages from Agrippa: (a book of the dead) by William Gibson and Dennis Ashbaugh, 1992. Rare limited edition artists' book.

Book Arts and Graphic Design-Related Collections

Special Collections has numerous secondary sources that relate to the many facets of the book arts in the form of technical or historical studies, in some cases rare. Additionally, we have primary sources (primarily archives and papers) which document the creative output of small presses or individual artists. Together these secondary and primary sources cover technical aspects of paper-making, paper-marbling, paper-folding, bookbinding, typography, print-making, color theory and illustrative processes, but also form a resource for research on the history of the book and graphic design. Our examples of manuscripts, books printed from the 1400s up to the present, including fine press editions printed by Kelmscott Press among others, a collection of over 500 miniature books and a growing collection of contemporary artists’ books are a valuable resource for understanding and appreciating the cultural impact of the book, not only as a means of transmitting knowledge, but as an important aesthetic medium that can be used to chart developments in design and communication over the centuries. Books and collections are searchable in the WMU Libraries online catalog. *Please contact our staff for assistance in locating Special Collections books and serial publications that relate to book arts or graphic design in the Libraries catalog.

Below are descriptions and links to finding aids or catalog records for archives and papers relating to the book arts, graphic design and history of the book.

More Book Arts and Graphic Design-Related Collections