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Movable Book Collection

The rare book collections contain movable books and cards from the 15th century to the present, most notably in the Skip & Bob Smith Pop-Up Book Collection, Dr. Susan W. Schwartz Pop-Up Book Collection, and the Biedermeier Greeting Card Collection. These collections show the breadth of movable books, a variety of mechanisms that create movement, and that movable books are fun for all ages. 

Though many think of pop-up books as mainly for children, books with moving parts have been around for centuries and encompass all genres. The rare book collections include 16th-century spinning wheels known as volvelles, 19th-century medical books with flaps, Victorian tunnel books, and books by the famous paper engineer and children’s book author Lothar Meggendorfer.  

This book cover has the letter A on the front designed in a flat, 3D style.
ABC3D, a pop-up book exploring the alphabet by Marion Bataille in the Movable Books Collection.

Due to the nature of paper engineering, movable books must be made by hand. Even with modern technology, moving parts must be manually assembled to ensure they work correctly. Paper engineers often make movable books as pieces of art or to test the boundaries of what is possible with paper, such as sculptural pieces or items with complicated mechanics. 

Contact

Department
Special Collections, Special Collections, Preservation, and Digital Strategies
Name
Cassie Brand
she/her
Job Title
Curator of Rare Books
Phone Number
(314) 935-4950