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UIC Library Special Collections: Caryl Seidenberg Book Binding Exhibit

UIC Library Special Collections: Caryl Seidenberg Book Binding Exhibit


The University of Illinois at Chicago Library
plays very important role in collecting and preserving the design history of Chicago. I think that this exhibit in particular was
very exciting for us here at the library because we had the rare opportunity to actually work
with the artist and creator of the books. The library has had a long relationship with
the artist, Caryl Seidenberg. I think sometime around the 1960s or ’70s
the world of artists, librarians and curators began to recognize that the printing industry
was going from being a hands on industry or profession, to becoming so mechanized it became
a catalyst for preserving the original and more hands on aspects of generating information
through books. School’s like the New Bauhaus Institute of
Design at what’s now IIT developed and trained a new generation of modern designers and printers. Some of the designers who were trained at
the New Bauhaus Institute of Design actually became faculty members here and those faculty
members were really instrumental in bringing design collections to UIC. The pieces in this case represent the first
book I ever did. The book represents my first grasp of the
emergence, for me personally, of the book as an art object. The last book that I did, Late Summer circa
1970, deals with my life looking back on having been a parent. The tools were given to me by Bruce Beck,
one of Chicago’s ten great designers, and he was given the tools by the great designer,
R. Hunter Middleton. I think it’s helpful to the exhibit that the
tools accompany the imagery. It’s been a craft of making paper, creating
bindings, casting type from lead matrices, and none of this is evident in a commercial
book. Special Collections are for everyone. Everyone with inquiries into the history of
the city, of their families, of their disciplines, our faculty and students and to our donors
who have shown the library tremendous support over the year and helping us attain our goal
of preserving collections well into the future. One of the things that I think is important
to the viewer of the collection is it differs from the modern commercial book in that the
experience of handling and reading a letter press book is an aesthetic experience, as
well as of learning something from the book.

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