Columbine, White Lily and Lupine. Secret message: It was a dream of folly, from which I woke to weep. Osgood, Frances Sargent (editor). The Floral Offering, A Token of Friendship (1847). Art by J. Ackerman. Contributed in BHL from Chicago Botanic Garden, Lenhardt Library. Digitization sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
Caxtonian Leora Siegel, Senior Director, Lenhardt Library wrote a recent blog post for the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) about editor Frances S. Osgood’s The Floral Offering, A Token of Friendship. The illustrated book explains the secret language of floral arrangements through illustrated bouquets, poems, and a floral dictionery.
The Lenhardt Library of the Chicago Botanic Garden is digitizing 62 rare nineteenth century language of flowers volumes as part of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Floral Offering is from the second set of volumes.
For more about the BHL, see the December 2019 issue of the Caxtonian.
Read about past grant winners in the Caxtonian from January 2014, November 2014, December 2015, December 2016, December 2017, January 2019, and January 2020.
View a slideshow about 2019 Grant Recipients.
Visit the online exhibit of artists’ books co-sponsored by Artists Book House and the Caxton Club.
What seems like a long time ago now, we had hoped to have a real live show of artists’ books.
The Caxton Club, which is 125 years old this very year, celebrates artists’ books every November. The Caxton Club has given more than $100,000 in grant money to book artists since 2002. This year we had hoped to bring together artists whose work we have supported, as well as the work of artists we admire, in a show in Chicago. Artists Book House, which isn’t even yet 125 weeks old wanted to join us in this celebration. But we all know what happened next.
So. Here we are. Like so much of the world, meeting up online. In this case it hasn’t been entirely a bad thing. We’ve been able to connect with artists whose work we didn’t know as well as with those we have long admired. We hope you, too, enjoy seeing their work.
The Caxton Club’s November 18th, 2020 Panel Discussion — “Artists’ Books, The Institutional Perspective” — featured Anne Everhaugen of the Smithsonian Library, Ruth Rogers of Wellesley College, and Jill Gage, Curator of the Wing Collection at the Newberry Library.
In this companion show, we see what these curators look for in their collections. Anne Evenhaugen sees artists’ books as a part of the Smithsonian’s mandate to tell “the American story through art,” and the artists’ books there are a part of the art that “infuses all parts of the Smithsonian Institutions.” Ruth Rogers builds the Wellesley Collection to show that “artists’ books are not separate from earlier forms of the book, but relatives in a long evolutionary line. A conversation across centuries on the page.” Jill Gage hopes that “people ten, twenty, fifty years ahead to be able to look back at the Wing Collection and see the high points of American fine press, book arts, and printing.”
In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we salute Ruby Figueroa and Jose Resendiz, Caxton Club Books Arts Grants Recipients.
Ms. Figueroa’s work was shown in the December 2016 issue of the Caxtonian and Mr. Resendiz’s work was shown in the December 2015 issue.
Yes, each year the Caxtonian has an anniversary. While the 27th anniversary this year is not a traditional milestone, it does represent a remarkable journey and gives us reason to call members’ attention to the club’s goal to make all past issues available online.
The Caxtonian has varied in appearance, length, and goals. It has traversed the path from club newsletter to a more scholarly journal tailored to the diverse interests of our club. It has been steered by three volunteer editors, Robert Cotner, Robert McCamant, and now, Michael Gorman. Without the dedication of these three editors, the journey would not have been possible.
Past issues from 1993, 2003, and 2013 reveal the long-term commitment of our membership. Click covers below to link to issues archived online. The photo from 1993 including Caxtonians John Cole, Paul Gehl, and Alice Schreyer is a wonderful time capsule. The articles by R. Eden Martin and Philip Liebson provide a great testament to our membership’s continued dedication to serious scholarship. We hope you enjoy thumbing through these past issues.
In coming weeks, we will continue our efforts to make all past issues of the Caxtonian available on our website. Please go to the “Members Only” section of the website to see the collection.
The Caxton Club is pleased to announce an award to the Newberry Library of $1,500 for the purchase of a work by a Caxton Club grant winner. The work shall be by an artist not currently represented in the Newberry collection, and the award can be used to cover all expenses for the work’s acquisition and processing.
As early as 1897 the club extended women an invitation to attend events, but these invitations were rare.
The inclusion of women into the club was slow, and early events spotlighting women involved the Morton Arboretum. In 1958 Mrs. Raymond Watts addressed the club at the Arboretum on “What So Lovely as a Tree?” In 1967 Suzette Morton Zurcher, an accomplished book designer, hosted Caxtonians for a luncheon in her home followed by a presentation at the Arboretum’s Sterling Morton Library.
On May 2, 1973, Sue Allen became the first woman to address the club at a regular dinner meeting. Sue’s presentation on “Victorian Bindings,” a subject on which she was a well-recognized expert, raised the question “If women can be speakers, can they not be members?”
In 1974 the club took up the issue of women’s membership. After a year of study, the council voted ten to five in favor of admitting women. But such a radical step required the approval of the full membership which voted 142 in favor, 30 opposed, and 4 undecided. (See the March, 2020 Caxtonian for more information.) The vote being taken and the by-laws amended, on January 12, 1976, the club elected to resident membership Mary Beth Beal, Suzette Morton Davidson, Frances Hammill, Karen A. Skubish, and Mary Lynn McCree. Of these original five, three are now deceased and Mary Beth Beal and Mary Lynn McCree remain active members of the Club.
Since those early days, the club has elected four women presidents. Two of the four were from the group first inducted.
Women have made and continue to make important contributions to our club. The April, 2017 Caxtonian, guest edited by Susan Hanes with all women contributors, highlights those contributions.
The Caxton Club Gants Committee is pleased to announce that this year’s grant for bibliography will be awarded in collaboration with the Bibliographical Society of America. For full details to apply, please check out their website at https://bibsocamer.org/ and connect to the Awards/Fellowships section.
The Caxton Club Fellowship for Midwestern Bibliographers ($2,500) supports bibliographical research that focuses on the physical aspects of books or manuscripts as historical evidence. Books and manuscripts in any field and of any period are eligible for consideration. Projects may include studying the history of book or manuscript production, publication, distribution, collecting, or reading. Projects to establish a text are also eligible. Studies of enumerative bibliographies and enumerative bibliographers are also eligible as long as they meet the requirements described above. This fellowship award includes a lifetime waiver of Caxton Club’s initiation fee and a one-year membership to the club. Applicants must live in one of the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, or Wisconsin.
To learn more about zines, read the cover story of the February 2013 Caxtonian.
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