Past Exhibitions


“if you could finish it…”: Beckett’s Revisions and Autotranslations

Oct 28, 2019 - February 7, 2020
Olin Library, Special Collections Reading Room
Monday-friday, 9 am-5 pm

This exhibit featured a number of Samuel Beckett’s original notebooks, manuscripts and typescripts in both English and French. These pieces offer fascinating insight into the evolution of Beckett’s works across multiple drafts and two languages. Curated by Kyle Young



Momentum: Bridging Past, Present, and Future

September 28 to December 15, 2019
Olin Library, Kagan Grand Staircase

This exhibition celebrates the inauguration of Chancellor Andrew Martin and includes items from University Archives, Local History, and Rare Books. The Eads Bridge is featured along with university history items connected to four areas of focus, including In St. Louis, For St. Louis; Educational Access; Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and Academic Distinction and Staff Excellence.

Charting History: Data Visualization Through the Years

July 6 to December 15, 2019
Olin Library, Thomas Gallery

This exhibit presents a history of data visualization that includes examples from the library’s collection and illustrates the importance of data visualization as it relates to research and disseminating information.

Second Sight: Ethnographic Photography at Washington University

July 15 to December 15, 2019
Olin Library, newman Tower Level 1

Second Sight exhibits the works of ethnographic photographers in the Department of Anthropology at Washington University.

Connecting Contexts: The Modern Literature Collection and The Letters of Samuel Beckett

July 15 to December 15, 2019
Olin Library, Ginkgo Room

This exhibition showcases the library’s collection of Samuel Beckett materials, in conjunction with a traveling research exhibition from Emory University intended to complement the recently published, four-volume collection, The Letters of Samuel Beckett.

January-June 2019

Buzz Spector: Works On and Of Paper celebrates Sam Fox School Emeritus Professor of Art Buzz Spector who creates pieces that explore and challenge the book as a form. The exhibit also featured Spector’s photography, poetry, and collage work. The exhibit was curated by Professor Buzz Spector and University Libraries’ Cassie Brand, Curator of Rare Books. 

B is for Beckett
January-June 2019

Ken Botnick: Making Books by Hand featured the work of Sam Fox School Emeritus Professor of Art Ken Botnick. Botnick was the director of the Nancy Spirtas Kranzberg Studio for the Illustrated Book. Botnick’s collaborative work with Professor Mary Jo Bang is featured along with his book  Diderot Project, created in response to his work with the University Libraries’ copy of Denis Diderot’s Encyclopédie. The exhibit was curated by Professor Ken Botnick and University Libraries’ Cassie Brand, Curator of Rare Books.

January-April 2019

This exhibit celebrates the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Nancy Spirtas Kranzberg Studio for the Illustrated Book. The exhibit was curated by Washington University Libraries’ 2018 Book Arts Fellows: Lara Head, Amanda Im, Yena Jeong, Jee Kim, and Madeleine Underwood in coordination with the University Libraries’ Curator of Rare Books, Cassie Brand. The Libraries’ Book Arts Fellows program was made possible by a generous grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.


May - December 2018

Lasting Legacies, the inaugural exhibition of the Thomas Gallery on Level 1 of John M. Olin Library, paid tribute to seven influential Washington University alumni whose work has enriched their respective professions and communities.Sections of the exhibition were devoted to Philip Mills Arnold, Henry Hampton, Mary Strauss, John Ezell, A.E. Hotchner, Tennessee Williams, and Mary Wickes.

May - December 2018

An original manuscript penned by Michelangelo Buonarroti, painter of the Sistine Chapel and one of the most well-known artists in history, was displayed in one of the inaugural exhibitions in the newly transformed exhibition spaces in Olin Library. The manuscript document is an inventory of limited food stores written by Buonarroti during the siege of Florence by Pope Clement in 1530.