Book Arts Topic of Inaugural Lecture at Smith

Book artist and publisher Enid Epstein Mark, Smith College class of 1954, photographed in her studio in 2002.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Mark Dimunation, chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress, will present “Single Voice, Many Hands: The Nature of Vision and Collaboration in Contemporary Book Arts” at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, April 10, in the Neilson Library Browsing Room. Dimunation’s talk, which is free and open to the public, is the inaugural event in a new annual lecture series honoring the late Smith College alumna Enid Epstein Mark ’54. A reception will follow in the Book Arts Gallery, third floor, Neilson Library.

Both vision and collaboration were hallmarks of the life and work of Mark, a book artist and publisher of finely printed, illustrated and limited-edition books. She worked with a number of contemporary poets—mostly women—and with printers and bookbinders in the Northeast to create books which she published under her ELM Press imprint. After Mark died in 2008, her husband, Gene Mark, established an endowed fund at Smith College to support an annual lecture on book arts topics.

Mark was passionate about words and imagery, carefully considering all components of her books— from text (her own words or those written by others) to imagery (her own artwork) to type design and layout to binding. In creating her books she collaborated with a small group of New England printers and bookbinders, including Smith College rare book specialist Barbara Blumenthal, Sarah Creighton of Easthampton, and Dan Keleher and Art Larson of Hadley. Timothy Sheesley of upstate New York printed the illustrations in most of her books.

Mark attended the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan, then studied English literature and studio art at Smith. She pursued painting and printmaking in the early years of her career and came to favor the technique known as photolithography. In 1986, she founded the ELM Press. Her work is in more than 100 private and public collections in the United States, Canada, England and Israel. Mark received a 2006 fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in recognition for her work. Among her other honors were a Pew Fellowship in the Arts (2001) and the Leeway Foundation Award for Achievement (2002). In 2004, her book The Elements was awarded the 9th Biennial Carl Hertzog Award for Excellence in Book Design from the University of Texas/El Paso.

For more information, contact Martin Antonetti, curator of rare books, (413) 585-2907, or Barbara Blumenthal, rare book specialist, (413) 585-2906.