Mortimer Rare Book Room Exhibitions

Exhibitions in the Library

Exhibitions of manuscripts, rare books, and contemporary book arts are shown in three places in Neilson Library: in the Morgan Gallery on the main floor, in the Book Arts Gallery on the third floor, and in the Mortimer Rare Book Room vestibule.

Fall 2016

The Lure of Italy: Travel books and manuscripts from the Gundersheimer Collection 

August 25-December 20, 2016
Book Arts Gallery, Neilson Library, level 3

Fifty books which celebrate travel to Italy from the 18th through the 20th century are on display in Neilson Library. They are part of a remarkable collection of nearly 600 books on Italian travel which Werner L. Gundersheimer, director emeritus of the Folger Shakespeare Library, donated to the Mortimer Rare Book Room in 2014. The collection is composed of accounts of mostly English and American travelers to all parts of Italy, including the Grand Tour, later American cultural tourism, and women travelers. Many of the books are illustrated with drawings, prints, and photographs, and some of the texts shed new light on early travelers’ motivations and interests. Many books have decorative, illustrative, and colorful book covers. 

The exhibition was curated by Leslie J. Winter, who began working on this project shortly after the Gundersheimer Collection arrived at Smith College. In 2015 she received a Masters of Art in Art History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is currently a candidate for a Masters of Library Science at Indiana University Bloomington with a Specialization in Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarianship. Curatorial assistance and installation by Barbara Blumenthal, rare book specialist in the Mortimer Rare Book Room.


book cover Three Vassar Girls in Italy
Illustrated paper bookbinding for Elizabeth Champney, Three Vassar Girls in Italy (Boston, 1886)

Selected Works by Robin Price

September-December 20, 2016
Mortimer Rare Book Room, Neilson Library, level 3

An exhibition accompanying the annual McGrath Lecture in Book Arts honoring the memory of master printer Harold P. McGrath, (1921–2000). The lecture this year is an illustrated talk “Surrendering to the Book" by Robin Price. Price is an artist, editor, designer, letterpress printer, and publisher, who is passionate about making books and being nourished by others who share that passion. She often seeks out contemporary artists, writers, and artisans with whom to collaborate, striving for synergistic books and diversity in content and form. Her limited edition press books and unique work are collected and exhibited internationally.


43, According to Robin Price
43, According to Robin Price (2009)

See also Past Exhibitions.