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F. W. Olin Library

Special Collections and Archives

The Mills College Special Collections Department mounts exhibitions that change three to five times during the course of the year. Exhibitions feature books, archives, and other materials from Special Collections, as well as materials borrowed from others, on occasion. The main cases are located outside the entrance to the Heller Rare Book Room. There is additional exhibit space in the Heller Rare Book Room.

Please also visit our online exhibitions.

Current Exhibitions

May 5–August 15, 2019
Beate Sirota Gordon: The Only Woman in the Room
Selections from the Beate Sirota Gordon Papers; A celebration of the opening of the papers for research, June 2019

Past Exhibitions

September 23–December 7, 2018
A Passion for the Handmade: the Curatorial and Publishing Work of Linda L. Brownrigg

Winter 2018
Just My Type: Type Specimens from the Special Collections of the F. W. Olin Library

August 28–December 8, 2017
HBC45: The Hand Bookbinders of California Annual Members' Exhibition
Opening Reception: Sunday, September 10, 2017

January 22-May 8, 2017
Listening and Meditation
A tribute to Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016) with selections from her archive

September 14-December 11, 2016
Root Connection: 20 Years of The Patti Smith Collection
A collaboration between the Mills College Art Museum & the F. W. Olin Library

Summer 2016
Flora & Fauna: A Summer Miscellany from Special Collections, F. W. Olin Library

March 28-May 31, 2016
Reading The Object: A Decade (or so) of Books By Julie Chen
Artist's Talk & Reception: Sunday, April 10, 2016

February 1-March 17, 2016
Immortal Longing: Selections from the F. W. Olin Library's Special Collections
in Commemoration of the 400th Anniversary of William Shakespeare's Death in 1616

November 2-December 17, 2015
A Fair Centennial: The Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915-2015. Selections from the F. W. Olin Library

Featuring books, archives, ephemera, and memorabilia relating to the 1915 world's fair.

August 31-October 9, 2015
50 and Counting…Susan L. Roth
Susan L. Roth received her B.A. in 1965 and her M.A. in 1968, both from Mills College. She has just completed her fiftieth book. Her colorful picture books are almost all illustrated with elaborate collages created from a variety of materials. This exhibition featured the published books and original artwork.

April 1-June 30, 2015
Recent Acquisitions
Special Collections, F. W. Olin Library

January 25-March 13, 2015
Copper & Wood: Roi Partridge & Richard Wagener, 100 Years of Printmaking

October 27-December 18, 2014
On These I Stand: An Exhibit of Rare Black Books and Collectibles
Curated by Daphne Muse, Writer, Social Commentator and Collector Opening Event: November 2, 2014
Conversation and Q&A featuring Ajuan Mance, Mills College professor of English, and Daphne
Muse, writer, social commentator, and collector

August 18-October 20, 2014
Paper Trail: Selected Works on Papermaking from the Special Collections of the F. W. Olin
Starting with the work of incomparable paper historian Dard Hunter, this exhibit featured books on a range of topics including Japanese papermaking, the history and techniques of papermaking, paper mills, and commercial paper. Fine press and artists' books on handmade paper were also on display.

April 8-May 30, 2014
Kelsey Street Press 40th Anniversary Retrospective Exhibition
Mills College Contemporary Writers Series:
Kelsey St. Press 40th Anniversary Readings, Talks, and Celebration
April 8, 2014

February 10-March 31, 2014
Picture This: Book Illustration Techniques From the 15th to the 21st Century
This exhibition surveyed printmaking methods used in book illustration with examples from the F. W. Olin Library's Special Collections. Featured books and leaves included woodcuts, copperplate engravings, wood engravings, lithography, photography, digital images, and many other types of techniques.

October 20-December 13, 2013
Ann Rosener: Occasional Works
Curated by Linda Brownrigg, Betsy Fryberger, and Becky Fischbach.

Summer-October 11, 2013
According to Plan: Accordion Books
From Special Collections, F. W. Olin Library

April 1-May 31, 2013
A Press of One’s Own
Curated by Professor Kathleen Walkup's class "The Book in an Edition" (Book 184/284), Mills College Book Art Program.

March 5-26, 2013
Women's History Month: Women Making History @ Mills College
Featuring material from the Mills College archive and books and ephemera from the Aurelia
Henry Reinhardt Women's History Collection, F. W. Olin Library Special Collections.

February 7-28, 2013
Poetry of the Underground - Poesie des untergrunds from East Berlin/GDR, 1979-1989: Artists' Books by Women
Reception: Thursday, February 7, 2013
With brief remarks by Curator, Thomas Günther

Legacies and Generation: From Harald Kreutzberg to the Grimball Family
Curated by Garth Grimball (Mills MFA Dance student) featuring archival material relating to the
German dancer and choreographer, Harald Kreutzberg.

October 17-December 12, 2012
The Hand Bookbinders of California 40th Anniversary Members' Exhibition
Reception: Wednesday, October 17

August 1- October 5, 2012
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Thirty-Six Leaf Books from the F. W. Olin Library
Leaf books repurpose incomplete or defective copies of books by inserting a leaf from the original work into a new book. The resulting book is generally a fine press limited edition with additional scholarly commentary and information. This exhibition featured a number of examples from Special Collections in the F. W. Olin Library with leaves ranging in date from the fourteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Included was a 1420 specimen from Korea, which predates printing in Europe by several decades, as well as two "matched" leaves that compare Samuel Johnson's celebrated Dictionary of the English Language (1755) with the first American dictionary (Noah Webster, 1828).

March 28-May 11, 2012
The Angel Leaves the House: Women Bookmakers and the Aesthetic Page
Curated by students from the Mills College Book Art Program, Rob Borges, Chloe Brubaker, Kat Howard, Mirabelle Jones, Margaret Seelie, and Alexandra Shepperd with Kathleen Walkup, Professor of Book Art, Mills College and Mark Samuels Lasner, Senior Research Fellow, University of Delaware Library.

January 6-March 16, 2012
A Liberal Art: Twentieth Century Works from College Presses

October 3-November 18, 2011
Underground Publishing in Communist Poland, 1976-1989 from the Collection of Gwido Zlatkes

& Liberature Publications

September 19-28, 2011
Lead, Educate, Inspire: The Presidents of Mills College
This exhibition featured photographs, manuscripts, and other materials from the Mills College Collection that document the history of the thirteen presidents of Mills College.

January 31-March 17, 2011
Women's Studio Workshop Artists' Books: 17 Books From the Collection of the F. W. Olin

March 8-May 28, 2010
A Fish Pierced the Moon: Visual Poetry from Catalonia
Books and ephemera from the collection of Professor Carlota Caulfield (Mills College Spanish and Spanish American Studies Program). Poets and artists J. M. Calleja, Xavier Canals, Carme Riera, and Gustavo Vega were featured.

January-February 2010
New Acquisitions in Special Collections

November 9-December 9, 2009
Looking Bookward: Graduate Students Explore Book Art at Mills College
Exhibition Opening and Panel Discussion with Julie Chen, Lara Durback, Ruth McGurk, Matt Runkle, and Dorothy Yule. Sunday, November 15, 2009

October 1-23, 2009
Book and Manuscripts from the Albert M. Bender Collection of Mills College: A Recreation of a
1937 Catalog

Summer 2009
A is for Alphabet Books: A to Z

March 16-May 22, 2009
The Book Art of Edward Gorey
From the collection of Malcolm & Karen Whyte
Reception & talk by Malcolm Whyte
Sunday, April 26, 2009

January 21-February 27, 2009
Far & Wide: Fine Press & Artist's Books From Europe, Asia, & North America

October 27-December 12, 2008
Robins: a Ten-Year Celebration of Friends & Calligraphic Books
This exhibition featured over 40 calligraphic books. The Robins, working with six members at a time, created a joint collection of artists' books. The group's name refers to their method of passing each book, round-robin style, from hand to hand to completion.
Opening reception: Saturday, November 8, 2008

August 25-October 3, 2008
Books Under Fire
This exhibition gave an overview of challenged and banned books. First editions of James Joyce's Ulysses and Allen Ginsberg's Howl were featured along with some of the most challenged books of the 21st century. Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read (September 27-October 4, 2008)

March 16-May 31, 2008
Celebrating the Cultural Landscape Heritage of Mills College: Using the Past to Inform Campus
Planning and Design
This exhibition featured archival photographs and original artwork from the book Celebrating the Cultural Landscape Heritage of Mills College published in 2008 by the Mills College Center for the Book and was funded in part by a grant from the Getty Foundation.

January 22-March 7, 2008
never mind the press: 25 Years of Book Art by Alisa Golden
Sunday, February 10, 2008: a talk by Alisa Golden entitled, "Where Do {Artist} Books Fit In?" in the Heller Rare Book Room, F. W. Olin Library.

August 22-December 14, 2007
Milhaud at Mills
Highlights from the F. W. Olin Library's Darius Milhaud Collection in commemoration of the composer's 115th birthday. Work from some of Milhaud's students was also featured.

April 16-July 13, 2007
All the Arts Know Albert Bender: Highlights from the Albert M. Bender Papers

February 1–March 16, 2007
Synesthesia: Selections from Granary Books, 1987–2006
Publisher Steven Clay presented a talk on Sunday, February 11, 2007 in conjunction with the exhibit.

March 28–May 30, 2005
Julie Chen: The Bookworks of Flying Fish Press

Spring 2004
Precious Playthings: Black Paper Dolls, 1885–2003.
From the collection of Arabella Grayson (MA Mills 1996). Sounding Joe Catalano. Celebrating the acquisition of an archive.

Fall 2003
Walter Crane (1845–1915): Artist & Writer…. Works from the F. W. Olin Library.

Albrecht Dürer. Prints from the Mills College Art Museum.
October 2003, in the Heller Rare Book Room.

Spring/Summer 2003
Recent Acquisitions of Arts’ Books.

Winter/Spring 2003
Many Roads: 150 Years of Mills College.

At the Mills College Art Museum.

Works in Progress.
Recent work by the Book Arts Program Teaching Assistants.

Emma Nevada, Opera Singer

Mills College Class of 1876: “The Mockingbird of Mills; The Miners’ Canary; The Comstock
Nightingale; The Empress of Treasure Island”

Extraordinary Books: The integration of structure and content in modern artists’ books. Examples from the collection of the F. W. Olin Library.




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P: 510.430.2047
E: Special Collections

Last Updated: 4/19/19