Special Collections staff
Each year, Special Collections acquires student-made artists' books and examples of simple, handmade book formats. RISD student Enrico Giori created this accordion book including altered images and transcriptions from television coverage of the Vietnam War. Woody Leslie makes books to communicate small thoughts and ideas in creative ways. This "atlas" uses a double pamphlet stitch binding method.
COMING TO THE MEZZANINE THIS FALL!
The Library will launch its circulating zine collection, with a reading nook on the mezzanine level, this
fall. Our collection consists of 680+ circulating zines, with additional titles in Special Collections. The
primary goal of the zine collection is to help increase the diversity of the library collection as a whole. On
display is a small cross-section of the zine collection, representing work by local artists, people of color,
LGBTQ artists, activists, international artists, and RISD alumni. These zines were created using a variety
of techniques - photography, research, writing, printing, and illustration; and represent a wide variety of
topics such as friendship, LGBTQ identities, gender fluidity, race, politics, jumping, mass extinction, food
art, dogs, mushrooms, and more.
WHAT ARE ZINES?
Zines are self-published or independently published magazines or experimental publications, made
for self expression, and not for profit.* Short for fanzine or magazine, zines of today are closely related
to punk zines of the '70s-'80s and Riot Grrrl zines of the '90s, historically related to science fiction
fanzines of the '30s, and aesthetically related to the little magazines of the Dada movement. Zines also
share a historical precedent with political and religious pamphleteering of Thomas Paine and Martin
Luther. Just as the history of books has developed alongside advances in printing history, the history
of pamphlets, chapbooks, little magazine, fanzines, and zines has developed alongside advances in
inexpensive, accessible printing methods such as offset lithography, mimeograph, photocopy, risograph,
and digital printing.
*The "made for self-expression, not for profit" piece of this definition comes from the Barnard Library Zine
Collection, to which we are grateful for developing and generously sharing their zine collection practices.
The Artists' Book Collection includes work from the 1960s forward, illustrating the trajectory of contemporary book arts and featuring broad experimentation with book form. Clarissa Sligh's work focuses on topics of identity, politics, and family, exemplified in Wrongly Bodied Two through intertwined narratives. Collaborating with Lois Morrison for A Recuerdo for Ste. Ostrich, Julie Chen's press publishes works that blur the line between book and object. The Perishable Press founder and University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty member, Walter Hamady began a series called The Interminable Gabberjabbs in 1973. The Library now holds a complete set.
This recently acquired pattern portfolio by Japanese artist Mizuki Heitaro creates a design science approach to studying the strong collection of early twentieth century pattern portfolios in Special Collections. Mizuki develops his patterns from a mathematical starting point, devising combinations of basic geometric shapes from equations. His work is influenced by the European Art Deco aesthetic, most notably drawing from M. P. Verneuil's portfolio, Kaleidoscope - Ornements Abstraits (Paris 1926).
In the 1930s, S. Louis Giraud, a newspaper editor in London, helped bring moveable books back into popularity with his annual series, Bookano Stories, now seen as early examples of modern pop-up books. Over the next two decades, he produced sixteen innovative books that feature "living models." These models use the double page spread of the book and can be viewed from multiple angles, often using the motion of opening the book to create action in the scene. Special Collections acquired eleven of these volumes.
This collection of children's books adds work from the Black Arts Movement to Special Collections. Dindga Mccannon and Carole Byard were prominent figures in efforts to raise awareness of black women working in the arts in New York City. Both women illustrated children's books that focused on the black experience, with Byard becoming the recipient of a Caldecott Medal and Coretta Scott King Awards. Playwright Edgar White worked with Mccannon to highlight urban life and real conditions that African-American and Caribbean-American children faced in New York in the '60s and '70s.