The Werner Collection: A Local Legacy of Type

Looking at 1889 catalog

The fine folks from The Firecracker Press and Central Print recently stopped by Special Collections to view selections from the Nicholas J. Werner Typographic Collection. The collection, which originally belonged to Mr. Werner himself, includes a number of rare typeface catalogs and specimen books dating back to the 1880s. By blending fresh ideas with vintage […]

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Muybridge, Animation, and Animal Locomotion

When St. Louis Public Library recently began offering cardholders access to the popular video tutorial site Lynda.com, out of curiosity I signed up for a class titled 12 Principles of Animation for CG Animators. Thousands of online courses are available from the site - from computer programming and web design, to SEO training and bass […]

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Special Collections hosts Historical Images of the North Side tour

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Rare Books and Special Collections was delighted to host local historian and author NiNi Harris and her groups from Oasis on November 9th and 10th. St. Louis is the headquarters for Oasis, a national organization whose mission is “to promote healthy aging through lifelong learning, active lifestyles and volunteer engagement.” We were just one stop […]

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Poe’s Bestseller: A Textbook about Seashells?

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As improbable as it sounds today, the only book published under Edgar Allan Poe’s name to go into a second edition during his lifetime was The Conchologist’s First Book - a textbook about seashells. In fact, there was even a third edition, of which we hold a copy in Rare Books and Special Collections. In […]

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Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -

For its October Book of the Month, the Library of Congress chose The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe - specifically this 1884 edition illustrated by the incredible French artist Gustave Doré. We are fortunate to have two first editions of this classic in Rare Books and Special Collections. Published in New York by Harper & […]

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Masters and The Mirror

Reedy Medallion

Born, raised, and educated in St. Louis, William Marion Reedy (1862-1920) was writer, editor, and publisher of The Mirror, a local weekly journal at the turn of the last century. Though somewhat overlooked by time, The Mirror and Reedy’s colorful opinions, on politics and literature especially, were influential on an international scale. An “intellectual (if […]

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Remembering Ray Bradbury

One of America’s favorite science fiction authors, the late Ray Bradbury, was born on August 22, 1920. His best-known tales, all premiering in the early 1950s, are The Martian Chronicles, I Sing the Body Electric, The Illustrated Man, and his masterwork, Fahrenheit 451. Originally from Waukegan, Illinois, Bradbury’s father moved his family west during the […]

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Primeval – An artists’ book

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Thirty-six years ago today, on May 18, 1980, a devastating eruption occurred at Mount St. Helens, blowing off more than 1,000 feet from the mountain’s peak. With numerous small earthquakes rumbling beneath its surface over the last several weeks (they call it a swarm!) what better time to feature Primeval, hand-crafted by Washington state book […]

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The Glass Menagerie – A Play

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The inaugural Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis is happening this week and weekend at multiple venues in and around Grand Center. Numerous events celebrating the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright are being held, including an Al Hirschfeld caricature art exhibit, a reading of Williams’ family letters, and the screening of the film A Streetcar Named Desire in […]

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The First Four Folios and The Tragedy of Macbeth

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   I’m pretty sure my earliest memory of Shakespeare is reciting as ghoulishly as possible this spooky incantation by the Three Witches in Macbeth. We were no doubt a menacing bunch of second graders - absent front teeth, scraped up knees - fully committed to making each other squirm with all that talk of eye of […]

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