Browse Exhibits (8 total)

Edges of Books

Edges of Books examines books from an unusual perspective. When books are on display it is usually their spines and covers, or the text and illustrations, that are featured. These are the familiar parts of the books, the parts that modern readers have come to interact with the most. Edges of Books takes a different approach, uncovering a tradition that extends back centuries to the very beginning of the codex book in which the edges of books were important sites for information and decoration.

Words Divide - Pictures Unite: Otto Neurath, Isotype, and the Unity of Science

Otto Neurath (1882-1945) was an Austrian economist, social scientist, and philosopher. Starting in the 1920s he spearheaded the development of ISOTYPE (International System of Typographic Picture Education) a pictorial language designed to convey complex economic, social, and historical data. As Europe rebuilt after WWI, Neurath used Isotype to educate ordinary citizens—many of whom were illiterate or semi-literate—about the economic, industrial, and social forces that were shaping the 20th century. Neurath’s team created visual depictions of these forces, their historical evolution, and the connections between them. These works, published in books, portfolios, and on posters, were designed to give people the information they needed for effective democratic participation and decision-making.

Frozen in Time: The Stephen Cooper Comic Book Collection

Comics were a staple of the American newsstand in the middle decades of the twentieth century, where superhero stories mingled alongside other prominent genres of the time: funny animal stories, Westerns, romance, and tales of suspense. The Stephen Neil Cooper Collection offers a one-of-a-kind glimpse into comics history. It contains 202 comic books that were present on American newsstands in April 1956. This unique collection, curated by artist and collector Stephen Cooper and donated to the Cary Graphic Arts Collection, offers a snapshot of the comics industry during a crucial period in the medium’s history. The “Comics Code Authority” had only recently been put into effect by 1956, so comics publishers were learning how to function within a newly-censored industry. And, since the history of popular comic books has largely privileged singular, collectible moments in comics publishing—such as the first appearance of major superhero characters, or the work of a particular artist—it is rare to have a relatively comprehensive view of comics periodicals from a specific moment. The Stephen Cooper Collection presents a snapshot of comics history in one of its major transitional moments.

Along with comics from the Cooper Collection, this exhibit also features work from a spring 2019 project course entitled “Comics in the Archive”, in which students participated in the creation of a digital archive as well as data visualizations and analyses of this unique archive of comic books.

View all covers from the Cooper Collection on RIT's Digital Collections site:

The Uncommon Press

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The Uncommon Press is a modern reconstruction of an English Wooden Common Press from the period 1770-1790. It was designed and manufactured by a group of RIT students: Mechanical Engineering majors Seth Gottlieb, Ferris Nicolais, and Randall Paulhamus, Industrial and Systems Engineering major Veronica Hebbard, and Museum Studies major Daniel Krull. The press was commissioned by the Cary Collection in 2016, and is now a part of its Techonology Collection of letterpress printing equipment.

Renaissance Bookwheel


The bookwheel is a modern 2018 construction using a 1588 design by Agostino Ramelli. It was manufactured by a team of four RIT students: undergraduate engineering students Matthew Nygren, Ian Kurtz, Reese Salen, and Maher Abdelkawi. The team made two bookwheels. One is housed in the Cary Collection at RIT, the other is in the Hope Robbins Library at the University of Rochester.

Acorn Press


Acorn presses are so named because of the distinct shape of their frames. There are multiple Acorn presses, distinguished by manufacturer and toggle joint. The Acorn press found in the Cary Collection is a mystery as it containes elements found in multiple styles and manufacturers.

Alonso de Molina's Aquí comiença un vocabulario en la lengua castellana y mexicana

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Aquí comiença un vocabulario en la lengua castellana y mexicana is one of the earliest books printed in the Americas by the first ever printer in Mexico, Juan Pablos, in 1555.

3D Comics


With Curation and Photography by August Esbjorn-Witt, don your red-and-cyan tinted glasses and take a trip into the wacky world of 3-D Comics!