Rare Artists’ Books a Shoo-in at Denison

The two great loves of many of us—shoes and reading—come together at last in a unique artists’ book, Red Shoe Reader. The book was recently acquired for Denison Library’s Rare Book Room. Created by book artist Gaza Bowen, Red Shoe Reader chronicles the female obsession with shoes through illustrations, pictures, and words. The whimsical artists’ book is one of many obtained courtesy of Denison’s Special Art endowed book fund, and through direct book donations to the library’s collection.

According to Judy Harvey Sahak ’64, the Sally Preston Swan Librarian at Denison, “The ongoing acquisition of artists’books is an outgrowth of the Library’s traditional emphasis on typography and collecting finely printed works.”Artists’ books selected for addition to the Rare Book Room support the Scripps curriculum, are imaginative in design and structure, and are produced with exacting standards by unknown and established book makers and artists.

Sahak also recently located and was able to acquire a very limited edition modern book of hours for Denison, titled The Cycle of the Day, by Jim Trissel of Colorado College. Sally (’52) and Phil Swan donated the book to Denison in memory of former Scripps trustee Katharine Howard Miller ’55. Books of hours became popular during the Renaissance and contained prayers, art, scriptures, hymns, and other writings to inspire meditation at various proscribed hours during the day. A copy of Trissel’s modern book of hours was one of the books featured in the fall exhibition at the Clark Humanities Museum of the books produced at the Press at Colorado College, founded and run by Trissel.

“Through the support of alumnae and friends,” explained Sahak,”Scripps continues to acquire beautifully produced artists’ books that echo the fine-printing tradition of the College.”