Eccentric Books (exhibition catalog): Walker, Gay Eccentric Books (exhibition catalog): Walker, Gay

Eccentric Books (exhibition catalog)

Walker, Gay

Published by Yale University Library, New Haven, Conn., 1988
Condition: Near Fine Soft cover
From Cat's Curiosities (Pahrump, NV, U.S.A.)

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"An astronomy book from 1474 has two wheels that turn to show the movements of the moon," wrote Carolyn Battista in the New York Times of March 27, 1988. "An 1850 work on obstetrics has 50 flaps that lift to reveal anatomical details. . . . These are among about 150 unusual works in an exhibit called 'Eccentric Books' at the Sterling Memorial Library at Yale. The exhibit catalogue defines eccentric books as those 'with movable parts, strange shapes and unique accessories.' In keeping with the eccentric spirit, the catalogue has not only an informative text, but also a pop-up paper dinosaur." (In fact, the pop-ups must have varied; our copy in hand contains a yellow pop-up bicycle.) "The catalogue and the exhibit are the work of Gay Walker, the curator of the library's Arts of the Book Collection," Ms. Battista continues. " 'They have a tradition going back to the beginning of print,' said Ms. Walker, whose lecture on eccentric books for a Meriden book group led her to assemble the exhibit at the Sterling Library. For the exhibit, Ms. Walker said she sought the 'truly eccentric' books that were unusual in ways beyond content, typography, size, bindings or printing materials. She approached librarians at Yale and elsewhere. . . . She . . . chronicled for the catalogue text the development of such forms as fold-outs and pop-ups. Now, under Sterling's vaulted Gothic-style ceilings, display cases are filled with books whose peculiar components educate, entertain and surprise. . . . At the exhibit, Ms. Walker pointed out books with volvelles, or rotating wheels. The earliest in the exhibit is the 'Kalendar,' published in 1474 in Germany. It has two movable disks -- hand-colored woodcuts -- that show the travels of the moon. Displayed nearby is the 'Astronomicum Caesareum,' which Ms. Walker called the most magnificent example of volvelles in the exhibit. Dealing with stellar movements, it contains 21 volvelles and was made in 1540 by Petrus Apianus, the royal astronomer to King Charles V, who was sufficiently impressed to pay Apianus 3,000 florins and grant him a patent of nobility. . . . Among the oddly shaped books are . . . a program for an 1893 Harvard-Yale football game, which is shaped like a football and has a leather cover and leather lacing." We offer the softcover catalog for this exhibition, in green wraps (color of wraps apparently varied), one of "approximately 150" copies hand-bound by Ms. Walker, our copy numbered by means of cut-out black numerals on gold foil background glued to the rear colophon by Ms. Walker herself -- this copy being number 108 of 150. The pop-ups are somewhat modest but everything is intact and in fine working order. This catalog won the 1989 Division III (inexpensively produced) Leab Award of the American Library Association, the judges noting that "In addition to surveying the history of this genre, the catalog provides a useful classification scheme and extensive bibliography." 62 pp. plus pop-up. Our price for this hard-to-find item now reduced from $666. Bookseller Inventory # 002723

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Eccentric Books (exhibition catalog)

Publisher: Yale University Library, New Haven, Conn.

Publication Date: 1988

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket

Edition: 1st Edition

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Eclectic used and out-of-print collectable condition books and records in every genre. Cat's Curiosities closed our brick-and-mortar location in Las Vegas in late 2016, and is now an Internet-only seller, specializing in Native American; Nevada & The West; Free-market & Austrian Economics; Music & Show Business; Vintage vinyl LP records (many signed); century-old juvenile series books; Physics & Electrical Engineering, Religion & Occult.

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