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Rare Books welcomes participants of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute for College and University Teachers.

“The Book: Material Histories and Digital Futures” is hosted by Salt Lake Community College. Week One is being led by Nicole Howard and Johanna Drucker.

Today, participants take a field trip to Rare Books where they will have a hands-on opportunity to study pieces from our collections and learn how, for more than two decades, the Rare Books Department has used its collections to enhance college and university coursework; museum, library, and university exhibitions; and contribute to academic dialogue and community outreach through its presentations, exhibitions, digital exhibitions, lectures, conference papers, publications, and blog, Open Book.

From Sumerian clay tablets

to triumphs of Italian Renaissance printing and publishing

to accounts of exploration and travel

to first editions of Francis Bacon’s call for experimentation, empirical methodology, accurate observation and accumulation of reliable data

to the great 18th century French Enlightenment Encyclopedie, a vain attempt to collect all that data

to colonial American newspapers

to a now-obscure 19th century novel written by a Confederate politician

to an early 20th century fine press edition of Goethe’s Faust from a German press destroyed by Allied bombs during World War II

to a 21st century artists’ book of letters, poetry, essays, and pressed plants,

the rare book collections tell an infinite number of histories in a variety of ways, but always, the history of the “book.”