Handmade in Cuba: Rolando Estévez and the Beautiful Books of Ediciones Vigía

Book Cover: Somewhat abstract drawing of a woman with wings holding an oil lamp on a pale blue background

The Special Collections Research Center holds a large collection of works by Cuban book artist Rolando Estévez, including many books that he designed during his time with Ediciones Vigía and examples of those published under his own imprint, El Fortín, established in 2014. A new book from the University of Florida Press explores Estévez' impact as artistic director of Ediciones Vigía from 1985-2014.

Graham Bread, Temperance Reformers, and America’s First Fad Diet

A brown rectangular loaf of bread cools on a wire rack on a white kitchen counter.

Due to newfound free time exclusively spent at home, bread baking has become massively popular as of late. Americans collectively baked enough bread to cause a national yeast shortage. For me, remote work at home led to research on Special Collection’s culinary archive; and, desperate to preserve my last packet of instant dry yeast, I decided to find out how bakers before us made non-yeast bread.

In Praise of Chiaroscuro

Detail of Color woodcut from four blocks, in the chiaroscuro technique, from Jean Michel Papillon. Traité historique et pratique de la Gravure en bois. 2 vols. (Pierre Guillaume Simon, 1766)

We are very pleased to announce the recent acquisition of the first comprehensive treatise ever published about the illustration technique of woodcut: Jean Michel Papillon. Traité historique et pratique de la Gravure en bois. 2 vols. (Pierre Guillaume Simon, 1766). Papillon’s manual is particularly remarkable for including a fully illustrated step-by-step depiction of the sixteenth-century technique of chiaroscuro.

Francisco de Quevedo and the Holy Inquisition

An expurgated sonnet on page 73,  from Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas. El Parnaso español y musas castellanas (Barcelona: Rafael Figueró, 1703)

When examining a selection of rare books that had been requested for a class presentation about the impact of censorship in early modern Spain, I noticed something truly remarkable in one of these books. Our copy of the eighteenth-century edition of Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas’ El Parnaso español y musas castellanas, published in Barcelona in 1703, had been manually, and massively, expurgated by a representative of the Spanish Inquisition, Joseph Pinell, as he himself stated on the title...

The Inferno according to Alessandro Vellutello

Woodcut from La comedia di Dante Aligieri con la nova espositione di Alessandro Vellutello (Venice: Francesco Marcolini da Forlì, 1544)

We are pleased to report about our recent acquisition of the first edition of Alessandro Vellutello’s influential commentary on Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, which was published by Francesco Marcolini da Forlì in Venice in 1544. Undeniably, this edition marked a significant shift in the history of the iconography and reception of Dante’s poem, departing from the previous allegorical interpretations by Cristoforo Landino and Girolamo Benivieni, and challenging Antonio Manetti’s...

The Preservation of Structural & Historic Integrity: Rehousing the Michigan Manuscripts

New clamshell box for Mich. Ms. 130

The Renaissance and Medieval Manuscript Collection belonging to the University of Michigan Library consists of an impressive array of medieval and early modern manuscripts from multiple cultures and languages, including Greek, Latin, Armenian, and Ethiopian. Fortunately, many of the manuscripts within this collection have largely been left in their original bindings and most damages have gone untreated.

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