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F. W. Olin Library

Special Collections and Archives

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

Past Exhibitions:

August 28–December 8, 2017
HBC45: The Hand Bookbinders of California Annual Members' Exhibition
Opening Reception: Sunday, September 10, 2017
1:00-4:00 pm

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
(this exhibition will take place at the Mills College Art Museum & in 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, 2 pm

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 will feature 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 Library

Starting with the work of incomparable paper historian Dard Hunter, this exhibition features 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 will also be 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 | 5:30 pm | Heller Rare Book Room

February 10-March 31, 2014


This exhibition surveys printmaking methods used in book illustration with examples from the F. W. Olin Library's Special Collections. Featured books and leaves include 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

From Special Collections, F. W. Olin Library

April 1-May 31, 2013

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, 4:00-5:30 pm
Heller Rare Book Room, F. W. Olin Library
with brief remarks by Curator, Thomas Günther
This exhibit is located in the large cases outside the
Heller Rare Book Room.

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.
This exhibit is located in the cases inside the
Heller Rare Book Room.

October 17-December 12, 2012

The Hand Bookbinders of California
40th Anniversary Members' Exhibition

Reception: Wednesday, October 17, 3:30-5:00 pm
Heller Rare Book Room, F. W. Olin Library

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 leaffrom 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 features 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 is 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 features photographs, manuscripts, and other materials from the Mills College Archive 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 Library

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 are 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
2 pm
A reception will follow.

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, 2 pm
Heller Rare Book Room, F. W. Olin Library
Sponsored by the Mills College Center for the Book

January 21-February 27, 2009

"Far & Wide:
Fine Press & Artist's Books From
Europe, Asia, & North America"

October 27-December 12, 2008

Opening reception:
Saturday, November 8, 2008, 2 pm
Heller Rare Book Room, F. W. Olin Library

"Robins: a Ten-Year Celebration of
Friends & Calligraphic Books"

This exhibition features over 40 calligraphic books.  The Robins, working with six members at a time, have 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.

August 25-October 3, 2008

"Books Under Fire"

This exhibition gives an overview of challenged and banned books. First editions of James Joyce's Ulysses and Allen Ginsberg's Howl are featured along with some of the most challenged books of the 21st century. Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is 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 features 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 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

There will be a talk by Alisa Golden entitled, "Where Do {Artist} Books Fit In?" on Sunday, February 10, 2008 at 2 p.m. in the Heller Rare Book Room, F. W. Olin Library. A reception will follow.

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 is 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,
exhibition reception and lecture information

March 28–May 30, 2005
Julie Chen:
The Bookworks of Flying Fish Press
(exhibition opening information)

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.



The Mills College Special Collections Department mounts exhibitions that change three to five times during the course of the year. Frequently, there are special events such as receptions, guests, and lectures associated with exhibitions. Exhibitions feature books, archives, and other materials from Special Collections, as well as materials borrowed from other institutions, on occasion. The main cases are located outside the entrance to the Heller Rare Book Room. There is additional exhibition space in the Heller Rare Book Room.




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P: 510.430.2047
E: special_collections@mills.edu

Last Updated: 1/16/18