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Artists' Books and Fine Press Books

The area of book arts and history of the book is a particular strength of the collection.  Special Collections has hundreds of artists’ books as well as a large collection of fine press work, including over 400 titles produced by the Limited Editions Club and around 400 miniature books.  The collection also has extensive materials related to typography and graphic design.  For the field of book history, the collection includes 15 medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, 25 incunables in complete codices, 250 medieval manuscript leaves, and 100 incunable leaves.  Important printers and typographers from throughout the hand press period are well-represented in the collection.

  • Books and ephemera produced by hundreds of private presses, from the Kelmscott Press to the current day
    A growing collection of contemporary artists’s books, including works from the Janus Press, the Women’s Studio Workshop, and others

How to Use the Collection

The collection is available to all users in the Special Collections Reading Room (room 401) during regular hours.  Materials do not circulate. Rare books may be used in the Special Collections Reading Room during service hours or by appointment.

With a few exceptions, the collection can be accessed through the MERLIN library catalog.  Advice on using MERLIN to search Special Collections can be found here.

Users are encouraged to contact staff regarding availability of the manuscript and art collections; however, no advance notice is required for use. Photocopies and scans are permitted subject to the condition of the material and copyright regulations.

Finding Aids for Artists' Books and Fine Press Books

Fine Press Materials in Special Collections


Scope and Content A fine press is a printing establishment that adheres to particularly high standards in terms of the skill of the workers, the…

Helen Montgomery Jenkins Collection


Helen Montgomery Jenkins (1913-2013) was born in Topeka, Kansas, and graduated from the University of Missouri with a B.A. in Journalism in 1935. She…

Limited Editions Club Collection


Historical Note The Limited Editions Club was founded by George Macy in 1929 to publish finely printed, illustrated, and bound editions of literary…

Press Ephemera Collection

Scope and Contents The collection contains material on private and specialty presses, dating primarily from the 1980s to the present. Many items in…

Rare Book Collection


The Rare Book Collection is the default designation for materials in Special Collections that are acquired as individual items. Like Special…

Related Exhibits

Children’s Literature of the Harlem Renaissance by African American Women


The twenty-one books in the exhibit represent how invaluable the Harlem Renaissance was for African American children’s literature.

Collective Voices


October 2 – November 19, 2020 ​ George Caleb Bingham Gallery, Fine Arts Building, School of Visual Studies, University of Missouri...

Engraved Throughout


This exhibition features engraved books housed in Special Collections & Rare Books, and includes some of the finest engraved books...

Kindred Kingdoms


This exhibit invites you to look at kinship in the kindred kingdoms of nature, placing man in relation to flora...

Selected Items

Almanach iconologique, année 1771 : septieme suite, les XII. mois de l'année / par M. Gravelot.


Bound in a late 18th century French white calf mosiac binding with a split-pin attachment for reuse. Front and back covered in red foil, overlaid with…

The Red Thread Cycle

RTC on the third Expanded display.jpg

"'The Red Thread Cycle'" (2019) provides gut-wrenching witness to the realities of sexual assault in the Caribbean region. The starting point for this…

Salome : a tragedy in one act, translated from the French of Oscar Wilde by Alfred Douglas and illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley ; with a new introduction by Holbrook Jackson.


Fifteen hundred copies have been printed for members of the Limited Editions Club, ... this copy being number 478

Oresteia. English.


Agamemnon -- The libation-bearers -- The furies.

Shakespeare's sonnets : in two parts / illuminated by N. Leoni.


Both sides of front and back covers are bound in green morocco with red, white, and violet inlaid, with decorative gold tooling; bound by the…

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