Portable Reads features chemise-style girdle books created by the students and faculty of Early Printed Books: History and Craft. The course, taught by Virginia Reinburg, studies the revolution in ideas, culture, and technology spurred by Johan Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. The class also explores the art and science of how books are made, working with Barbara Adams Hebard, the Burns Library Conservator, on projects such as the ones in this exhibit.
Popular from about the 13th to the 16th c., girdle books were small books with bindings that continued beyond the book in a tail with a knot at the end. The knot was slung into a person’s girdle, or belt, from which the book would then hang. The books were designed to hang upside down, so that they could be easily read when swung up from the belt.
The students from Early Printed Books: History and Craft made their own versions of the girdle book, creating striking covers for the textblock of the Boston College publication titled What Are We?
The exhibit, showing in the O'Neill Library Reading Room, is sponsored by the Boston College University Libraries and the Boston College History Department, and will run from November 21 through December 1, 2014. Special thanks to the Center for Ignatian Spirituality for generously donating copies of What Are We? to the class.