The History of the Book Travels to Davenport

The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center offers the Traveling History of the Book Exhibit for Quad Citizens’ viewing and hands-on learning fun from March 1 to April 13.  The exhibit features materials capturing the history of the book throughout different periods of time. In the spirit of all things books, we have selected books from our collection which enhance the diversity of book history.

Here is a sampling of the materials we have on display to pique interest:

Picture Books

Exhibit Collection


Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown

This picture book was published in 1946. A unique feature of this book is that it was published with a fur cover as a sensory device for children to learn and feel comforted by something soft and cuddly.

Vellum Bound Books

2005-20 C.A. Ficke Collection

Phædri, Augusti Cæsaris liberti, Fabularum Æsopiarum libri quinque by Phaedrus

This book of Aesop’s fables was published in 1667 in Amsterdam. It is bound in vellum creating a more flexible binding. Throughout the book there are a number of engraved plates and artistic renderings.

Japanese books

2005-20 C.A. Ficke Collection

Buddhist Sacred Book


Over 400 years old and handwritten in Japanese, this book contains sacred Buddhist texts. The handwriting style is uniform and clean. The book was made in accordion binding style with paper boards.

Carousel Books

Exhibit Collections

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs


This colorfully illustrated carousel, pop-up book has fanciful characters, shapes and landscape settings creating a 3-dimensional vision on Snow White and the seven dwarfs. The illustrator was Chris Conover, a native New Yorker. The book was published in New York by Platt & Munk Publishers in the 1980s.

The Traveling History of the Book Exhibit was created from the creative collaboration between the Iowa Center for the Book and the University of Iowa Center for the Book. The project is funded by a major grant from the Iowa Center for the Book Foundation. The people of Iowa can see this excellently crafted exhibit at any public libraries Iowa because any library can request this exhibit for their communities.

The University of Iowa Center for the Book began in 1986.  The Center for the book fosters “training in the technique and artistry of bookmaking with research into the history and culture of books”. This unit on the University of Iowa’s campus supports interdisciplinary studies relating to the book by offering a variety of degree options for graduate and undergraduate students.

The Iowa Center for the Book (ICB) is a program of the State Library of Iowa and an affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book. Founded in 2002, ICB’s mission is to stimulate public interest in books, reading, literacy and libraries. ICB supports innovative initiatives across the state of Iowa such as All Iowa Reads and Letters about Literature. To learn more, visit their informational website: Iowa Center for the Book.  

The organization supporting this project is the Iowa Center for the Book Foundation, who provides financial support for the Iowa Center for the Book and its important outreach, building literacy in Iowa through creative and wide-reaching programs. The ICB Foundation began with State Librarian Mary Wegner, who recognized the need for funding to build the ICB’s literacy programs throughout Iowa. To learn more about the programs they support at the Iowa Center for the Book Foundation, visit their website.

We are thrilled to have this book history exhibit at our library and to be a part of the mission of these organizations.

If you are interested in learning more about the history of the book and handling the book models from the exhibit, visit the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center and The Library’s Event Calendar.

(posted by Kathryn)

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One Response to The History of the Book Travels to Davenport

  1. Nikki S. says:

    That fur book is most definitely rabbit fur. One of my bunnies has a coat just that color. This is very disconcerting. :o

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