A Book More Precious than Gold:

Reading the Printed Book Alongside Its Previous Owners and Readers


Books often tell stories that go far beyond their printed text. Successive owners leave their mark through inscriptions, annotations, bindings or illustrations, making an individual copy of a book a unique specimen. Some bear the marks of famous owners while others contain anonymous marginalia that provide information about the reception or the impact of an idea on readers of a different time or culture. Studying the provenance of a book thus enriches our understanding of how different people throughout history have interacted with the work. This exhibition presents examples of books and the marks left by their readers, each adding a new layer of meaning to an individual volume. While the printing and publication of a book finalizes its content, it also marks the beginning of an ongoing conversation with its readers in which we are invited to participate.

Virtual Tour of the Exhibition

Exhibition catalog: Read Online | Download PDF