Mortimer Rare Book Room History

Martin Antonetti, curator 1997-

Martin AntonettiMartin Antonetti brings to Smith his passion for books and manuscripts—from the medieval to the modern—and the desire to share his knowledge about them and enthusiasm for them with others. He seeks to broaden the reach of the Mortimer Rare Book Room (MRBR), within Smith and beyond; he and associate curator Karen Kukil make approximately seventy class presentations and other lectures each year. Antonetti also is the founder and director of the Book Studies Concentration, based in the MRBR , and he teaches full-semester courses in the history of the book and in contemporary artists’ books for the Smith Art Department, using materials from the rare book collections.

Antonetti has written and lectured on many aspects of book arts, including fine printing, letterforms, bookbinding, and book collecting. He came to Smith College from his position as librarian and director of the Grolier Club in New York City, the country’s premiere organization for bibliophiles. He also is on the faculties of the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School and the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. A classicist by training, he received his library degree from Columbia University in New York, where he specialized in rare books and special collections librarianship.

Luigi Alamanni. La coltivationeOne of Antonetti’s scholarly interests is the work of the 16th-century writing master and printer Ludovico degli Arrighi. Antonetti’s research included collaboration with Zoe Mindell, class of 2008, who examined an original manuscript in Madrid while on a break from her Junior Year Abroad in Florence. Antonetti’s investigation of Arrighi’s work resulted in the publication of “New Clues to the Early Life of Arrighi” in the summer 2012 issue of The Book Collector. His research on Arrighi continues.

Luigi Alamanni. La coltivatione. Paris: Robert Estienne, 1546. PURCHASED ON THE FUND ESTABLISHED IN MEMORY OF ELIZABETH MCCONNELL, CLASS OF 1918, AND ANNE L. BOHNING, CLASS OF 1915
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