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Marks in Books
Curated by Pablo Alvarez
Exhibit Contents
In this exhibit, the term "marks" refers to physical elements that have been added to manuscripts and early printed books throughout time, that is, from the instance when they were being made until they arrived to our shelves. Mostly, these marks were not intended by the authors, scribes and printers as they originally envisioned their books, but were later included in the form of corrections, readers' marginalia, drawings, and traces of subsequent ownerships as shown in bookplates and bindings. These marks are extraordinary witnesses offering unique information on various aspects of book history such as production, textual transmission, reception, and provenance history. While this exhibit is based on a close examination of manuscripts and early printed books held at the Special Collections Research Center, its main inspiration is the landmark exhibit catalog, Marks in Books, Illustrated and Explained (Cambridge, Mass.: Houghton Library Publications, 1985) by Roger Stoddard. 
Artistic Marks from the Medieval World
In the preliminary pages of this fifteenth-century Italian manuscript containing Valerius Maximus' Memorable Deeds and Sayings, the scribe, or perhaps..
Marks of Correction: How to fix a Manuscript Line
Here is a fascinating example of a diligent scribe supplying a few words that he had overlooked when copying the..
Searching for Printers' Errors
Ink marks left on the page by fallen types have been recorded in some copies of early printed books such..
Marks from an Anxious Corrector: Fernando de Herrera
In 1580, the Sevillian poet Fernando de Herrera published his annotated edition of the poetry of Garcilaso de la Vega: Las..
A Question of Provenance: Marks from Isaac Newton's Library
Marks in books in the form of bookplates, library's shelf-marks, or any sort of traces left by readers can reveal..
On the Footsteps of Owners: From Monastery to Monastery
One of the jewels in our extensive holdings of fifteenth-century printed books (incunables) is this well-preserved volume bound in a..
Readers on the Margins
In the first page of this early printed edition of Horace's works, an illuminator has added an exquisitely beautiful initial..
Bring Out Your Bindings!
Bindings of manuscripts and early printed books often unveil fascinating information about their previous owners and the cultural setting where..
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