Level 1 of the Newman Tower of Collections and Exploration features six display cases curated by the University Libraries’ Department of Special Collections.
Michelangelo’s handwritten business records from 1530 provide an inventory of his limited food stores. Like all Florentines, he supplied the government with an inventory while Florence was under siege by Pope Clement VII’s troops in 1529.
Forms of the Book
Non-traditional forms of the book encourage discussion of the nature of the book itself and the ways in which design contributes to reading and understanding. With objects like cuneiform, papyrus, and scrolls, Special Collections includes early examples of texts. Historic books emphasize visual communications and the history of typography, design, and printmaking. Modern-day artists’ books often feature unusual structures or thought-provoking design elements.
St. Louis Browns
The St. Louis Browns, a former Major League Baseball team of the American League, had its inaugural season in 1902. The team made one World Series appearance in 1944, losing to their rivals, The St. Louis Cardinals. Nine years later, The Browns were sold and moved to Baltimore, Maryland, to become The Baltimore Orioles. The exhibit includes one of the baseballs used in the team’s last game played at Sportsman’s Park on September 27, 1953, and the bat Browns first baseman and Washington University alumnus Ed Mickelson used in that game.
Triple Crown Collection
This collection was acquired by the Libraries in 2000. It includes the entire published output of the Kelmscott, Doves, and Ashendene presses—the Triple Crown of English Arts & Crafts bookmaking. As a reaction against industrialization and mass production, these printers sought exceptional beauty and visual harmony between design and text.
Origins of Coins and Paper Money
First struck from the precious metal electrum in Asia Minor during the 7th century BCE, coins and their minting process remain largely unchanged. Legal tender paper money was invented in China during the Song dynasty (960-1276).
Biedermeier Greeting Cards
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries in Germany and Austria, it was popular to send greeting cards on holidays and to express thanks or feelings of friendship. Engraved and hand-colored, many of these cards also contain handwritten messages. This particular collection comprises cards exchanged within an extended family in the state of Saxony-Anhalt in central Germany.