UCB Libraries


Past Exhibits

Below is a listing of previous exhibits featured in the Special Collections Reading Room.



Global War: Reflections on a Decade of Conflict, 1935-1945

Special Collections and Archives, University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, presents Global War: Reflections on a Decade of Conflict, 1935-1945. The reflections of soldiers and civilians – east and west – who experienced the tumultuous era of political and military conflict between 1935 and 1945 make up the heart of this exhibit. Featured works include the photography of Germaine Kellerman and of Carl Mydans. The diaries and letters of American, Japanese, and German soldiers that are displayed offer impressions of daily life on both sides of the war.


The exhibit is free and open to the public, Monday-Friday, 10-4. For more information, please contact us at spc@colorado.edu or call 303/492-6144.

This exhibit is curated by Sean Babbs, graduate student in the Department of History, University of Colorado Boulder, and William Sutherland-Keller, graduate student in Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina. Michael W. Harris, Ph.D., Gregory Robl, M.A., and Susan Guinn-Chipman, Ph.D, added content and editorial contributions.

Special thanks are due to Alan Cass, Hon. Doc. Hum., and Eric Harbeson, M.M., M.S., American Music Research Center, University of Colorado Boulder Libraries; to Adam Lisbon, MLIS, Asian Studies Collection, University of Colorado Boulder Libraries; to Bruce Montgomery, M.A., and David Hays, M.A., Special Collections and Archives, University of Colorado Boulder Libraries; to Mr. Joel Stewart; the National Archives; and to private collectors for their generous contributions to this exhibit.



26 January - May 15, 2015

The Book’s Undoing: Dieter Roth’s Artist’s Books


29 September - 19 December 2014

The Material Past: Negotiating the Spiritual and Secular
in the Medieval and Early Modern World.

13 June – 12 September 2014
6 February – 15 August 2014
7 June - 20 December 2013
25 September 2013 - 20 December 2013
10 September 2013 - 10 May 2013
10 September 2013 - 10 May 2013
10 April 2012 - 31 August 2012
1 December 2011 - 29 February 2012
1 April 2011 - 10 November 2011
Peter and Donna Thomas: Paper, Books, and Passion
15 January 2010 - 9 February 2011
8 June, 2009 - 9 December, 2009
10 December 2008 - 10 May, 2009
10 December 2008 - 10 May, 2009
28 May 2008 - 5 December 2008
1 March 2008 - 27 May 2008
29 August 2007 - 1 January 2008
8 March - 29 June 2007
6 May - 8 September 2005
Wining, Dining, and Dying in Ancient Greece: A Virtual Reality Exhibit of Greek Vases from the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History
A collaboration between the CU Museum, Special Collections and Classics Professor Elspeth Dusinberre's graduate seminar.
8 September - 17 December 2004
Women Romantics and Cosmopolitanism
25 June - 6 August 2004
The World of Gloriana: Books and Manuscripts from the Age of Elizabeth I
8 April 2004 - 7 May 2004
The Printed Page and Early Modern Italy
5 February 2004 - 19 March 2004
Anne Ellis, Colorado Pioneer
Anne Ellis

The words of Anne Ellis give a singular picture of a woman who approached her life with vivacity, wit, and resoluteness. Ellis describes her life as a pioneer, "a miner's child and a miner's widow," in The Life of an Ordinary Woman, Plain Anne Ellis and Sunshine Preferred.



Although she had little formal schooling, Ellis is a splendid storyteller. In her unpolished, unflinching prose, she relates her eventful life in Bonanza, Cripple Creek, Goldfield (Nevada), Denver, and other Colorado towns and camps.



Family of Anne Ellis



George Norlin awarded the degree Master of Letters to Anne Ellis in 1938 at the University of Colorado at Boulder, remarking, "You have brought us courage, fortitude, and the determination never to lie down."



This display contains photographs, original letters, published and unpublished manuscripts, and memorabilia from the University Libraries' Anne Ellis Collection, MS 24.



Anne Ellis

24 October 2003 - 19 December 2003
Creativity Unbound: Artists' Books from the Special Collections Department
October 2003
Selected Hispanic Works from the 15th - 20th Century: An Exhibit
Title page of Poemas by Soror Juana Ines de la Cruz
22 January - 23 May 2003
Discoverers: Adventurers, Philosophers, Scientists, and Scoundrels.
16 October - 20 December 2002
SOUTH: Ernest Shackleton's 1914-1916 Antarctic Expedition
with photographs by Frank Hurley



Special Collections' display - back by popular demand - features eighteen large-format reprints made by the Royal Geographical Society from Hurley's original glass-plate negatives. Many of the photographs show intimate glimpses of the crew's daily lives, before and after the horrific loss of Shackleton's ship, the Endurance.

Hurley with camera
Hurley with Camera image used with permission
by the
Royal Georgraphical Society.




Why is Shackleton so popular now? Many have suggested that we are seeking heroes. Books, videos, movies, and mini-series are all introducing new generations to his crew's experiences during the 1914-1916 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

On August 18, 1914, Ernest Shackleton and twenty-seven men sailed from Plymouth, England. Over the next two years, before his crew's rescue on August 30, 1916, his expedition became one of the most astounding instances of courage and survival in the history of Polar exploration. This incredible endeavor was chronicled by photographer Frank Hurley.

These photographs are part of Special Collections' permanent collection. For a suggested reading list / bibliography of Shackleton materials please click here.



Related Links

17 July 2002 - 13 September 2002
Ploughing the Parchment
Medieval Treasures
6 February - 5 July 2002
Other Lives Revealed: Honoring the Achievements of Blacks and Women
26 April - 27 July 2001
As time goes by: Artifacts of a century


Photographs from the historic 1933 flight over Everest; a copy of the speech that John F. Kennedy never made in Dallas; cigarette cards advertising famous cricketeers; letters written during World Wars I and II: these are some of the items shown in this new exhibition. W. E. B. Du Bois' The Souls of Black Folk (signed by the author) is among the literary offerings, along with children's books, underground newspapers, Papers Read at the Meeting of the Grand Dragons, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (July 1923), and other artifacts evocative of the twentieth century.

Emergency money issued after World War I

19 October -- 21 December 2000
Classics Illustrated


Scenes from Ovid, Aristophanes, Homer, Virgil, et al., in works dating from the fourth century to the present are shown in a modest display of illustrated classical texts from Special Collections.

Contains adult themes and situations.

Penelope's archery challenge

Penelope's archery challenge -- from a large-scale, beautifully printed two-volume set of Homer's works:
Tes tou Homerou Odysseias ... Glasguae : R. et A. Foulis, 1758. OS1 PA 4021 A2 1758 t. 2

Homer's Odyssey Theodorus van Tulden, Artist
aka Theodor van Thulden, 1606 - 1669

15 August -- 12 October 2000
South: Ernest Shackleton's 1914-1917 Antarctic Expedition with Photographs by Frank Hurley


In honor of the American Polar Society Symposium 2000 Special Collections is reprising this exhibit.

This display shows eighteen large-format reprints made by the Royal Geographic Society from Frank Hurley's original glass plate negatives. These photographs -- selections from our permanent collection -- show intimate glimpses of the crew's daily lives, before and after the horrific loss of Shackleton's ship, the Endurance. Not a single man under Shackleton's care died during this two-year saga of survival. As Roald Amundsen said, "Sir Ernest Shackleton's name will for evermore be engraved in letters of fire in the history of Antarctic exploration."

As a special bonus, our concurrent mini-exhibit features a copy of Shackleton's book SOUTH inscribed by Shackleton to A. B. Armitage, who was navigator of Robert Falcon Scott's ship Discovery in 1901-1903 (from the D. K. Bailey collection); and a facsimile copy of AURORA AUSTRALIS, letterpress-printed by Shackleton and his men during their 1907-1909 Antarctic expedition

13 March -- 30 June 2000
Edward Dorn 1929-1999


Works by Dorn
Works held by the Special Collections Department
Works by Dorn
17 September -- 17 December 1999
"There is Grandeur in the Growling of the Gale ... "


This display on the forces of nature was inspired by our small collection of glass lantern slides of snowflakes, made by Wilson A. Bentley in the late 1800's and early 1900's.



Bentley's stunning microphotographs are presented with such other rarities as Robert Hooke's Micrographia (1665) with its close-up view of the moon, Benjamin Franklin's New Experiments and Observations on Electricity (1754), Diderot's Encyclopaedie, John Dalton's Meteorological Observations and Essays, and James Capper's Observations on the Winds and Monsoons


These scientific books are flanked by photobooks showing nature's sometimes harsh, sometimes beautiful power: scenes of the Eagle Nebula via the Hubble telescope, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, earthquakes, tornadoes, and observations of clouds.

11 May - 6 August 1999
Poetry Broadsides


Work by distinguished poets and distinguished printers and designers
6-29 April 1999
Land of Darkness: Remembering the Holocaust


"The Holocaust can never be atoned, but perhaps it is lighting a way to a new conception of an imperative of Human Decency."

Genocide, Vol. 4, quoting Israel Chaney, p. xi


Books relating to the Holocaust are on display in the Special Collections Reading Room.

18 February - 18 March 1999
The Romantic Muse: Rapt in the Visionary Theme: Books by British Writers of the Romantic Period, 1770-1840


Disciples of literary Romanticism are invited to view this new exhibit featuring early editions of poetry by such celebrated writers as Keats, Shelley, Coleridge, Byron, Wordsworth, and Blake.

Ancient of DaysWe also include selected novels, plays, and miscellaneous works by Charlotte Smith, Joanna Baillie, Mary Tighe, and other women of the Romantic period. This display reveals some of the interrelationships and fertile cross-influences of a remarkable literary era in the United Kingdom


Jane Austen's Emma (first edition, 1816), William Blake's lavishly illustrated version of Edward Young's Night Thoughts (1797), Patrick Bronte's Cottage Poems (1811), and Percy B. Shelley's Prometheus Unbound (first edition, 1820) are among the books shown.


21 December 1998 - 3 February 1999
South: Ernest Shackleton's 1914-1917 Antarctic Expedition with Photographs by Frank Hurley


The incredible endeavor of Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914-1917 Antarctic expedition was chronicled by photographer Frank Hurley. Special Collections' newest display features eighteen large-format reprints made by the Royal Geographical Society from Hurley's original glass-plate negatives.

On August 18, 1914, Ernest Shackleton and twenty-six men sailed from Plymouth, England, on the first leg of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Over the next two years, this expedition became one of the most astounding instances of courage and survival in the history of Polar exploration.

Many of the photographs show intimate glimpses of the crew's daily lives, before and after the horrific loss of Shackleton's ship, the Endurance, and the events leading up to their rescue on August 30, 1916.

These photographs are selections from our permanent collection.

15 October - November 11, 1998
Armistice Day: November 11, 1918


Our current mini-exhibit in Special Collections focuses on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918.


The display contains stereopticon photographs and other materials about World War I, including works by Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, and Vera Brittain.

10 July - 24 September 1998
The Personal Touch: Manuscripts & Memorabilia from the Special Collections Department


The current Denver run of William Luce's play Barrymore, starring Christopher Plummer, inspired us to forage through our extensive and diverse manuscript collections in search of hidden treasures. Where else could you discover that William Wordsworth's wax seal is a thistle surrounded by the words "Dinna Forget"? That Gertrude Stein's infamous phrase "rose is rose" was incorporated into her rose-decorated seal? That John Barrymore had three yacht club cards, one golf club card, and several expired Screen Actor's Guild membership cards in his wallet when he died? That Robert Lowell and Jean Stafford once started writing a children's book about a family of bears called "The Wuberts," complete with illustrations?

In the letters displayed, Anne Sexton debates poetry as therapy; Emily Dickinson writes, "remember the imperceptible has no external face"; H. D. (Hilda Doolittle) writes to her cousin Francis Wolle, then Chair of UC-B English, describing the Blitz in London; W. C. Fields signs off as Pegler Clawd in a letter to Gene Fowler. We have only selected a fraction of the riches of our department, showing artifacts from the papers of Josiah Gilbert Holland,Florence Becker Lennon, Gene Fowler, Jean Stafford, and Marjorie Allen Seiffert. Other unexpected delights come from the pens of Langston Hughes, Anne Sexton, Siegfried Sassoon, Albert Einstein, Franz Liszt, Martin Luther King, Samuel Clemens, Anais Nin, and many others.

14 January - 26 February 1998
Gutenberg's Revolution
Have you ever seen a 1450s Gutenberg Bible page? Now is your chance, during Special Collections' current display.

It is hard to imagine the excitement generated over five hundred years ago by Gutenberg's development of the use of movable type. Suddenly, multiple copies of books could be produced using printing presses instead of being laboriously recopied by hand.


Gutenberg's Revolution pays homage to the work of Gutenberg and other masters of the fledgling art and science of printing. On display are ten books or fragments all dating from before 1525 (including works printed by Nicolas Jenson, Aldus Manutius, Anton Koberger and William Caxton, and a book by Albrecht Durer).


Also shown are a number of books by and about modern disciples of printing and typography. Hermann Zapf, Bruce Rogers, and Stanley Morison are presented along with other typophiles.

20 October 1997 - 22 December 1997
Women by Women


This display features photobooks and photographs by women from the David H. Tippit Photobook Collection and the department's collection of original photographs.



One of the items on display is Julia Margaret Cameron's rare Idylls of the King. Special Collections' copy is significant because it is inscribed by Julia Cameron to Alfred Tennyson's son Lionel on the occasion of his twenty-first birthday.

Photographs by Imogen Cunningham, Bea Nettles, and Nancy Woods are on view, along with numerous photobooks by other women photographers.

15 August 1997 - 2 October 1997
20th Century Prints


Original prints from our permanent collection by artists such as Rauschenberg, Calder, Dali,Gottlieb, Delaunay, Villon; and lithographs and silkscreens by Matisse, Chagall, and other modern masters, as reproduced in the renowned journals Verve and DerriËre le Miroir.
1 May 1997 - 31 July 1997
The Lore of Plants & the Lure of Flowers


Do Barnacle Geese really come from trees? Does eating cabbage prevent drunkenness? Since the beginnings of humankind, there has been inquiry about the therapeutic and curative uses of plants. We display herbals and medical compendiums from the 1500s through the 1800s, including John Gerard's 1636 Herball and Nehemiah Grew's 1682 Anatomy of Plants. Facsimiles of a 6th century copy of Dioscorides' Materia Medica, and the important Aztec Badianus and Florentine manuscripts, reveal the spirit of scientific exploration. We also introduce modern botanical interpretations, as aesthetically stunning as they are illustrative.



This exhibit was inspired by The Healing Power of Plants, on display at the UCB Museum (492-6892) through 20 June 1997 .



With special thanks to Dr. Jane Bock and Ms. Sonia Jacobs, due to their enthusiasm for, and knowledge about, botanical and pharmaceutical works in Special Collections.

3 February 1997 - 14 April 1997
Women Poets of the Romantic Period

The Special Collections Department has recently acquired a collection of first or early editions of poetry in English by women, published in the British Isles between 1770 and 1839. The collection includes such famous works as Anna Laetita Barbauld's Eighteen Hundred and Eleven (1812), Charlotte Dacre's Hours of Solitude (1805), Felicia Heman's The Forest Sanctuary (1825), Isabella Lickbarrow's Poetical Effusions (1814), Mary Robinson's Lyrical Tales (1800), and Charlotte Smith's Elegiac Sonnets (1784).



Romantic women poets, prolific and often popular and influential in their day, dropped off the literary map by the beginning of the twentieth century, and have only been revived by scholars of Romanticism in the last ten years or so. They have become, arguably, the most absorbing subject for students and critics of English literature written in the fifty years following the American and French Revolutions. The gathering of these volumes in one place marks an important event in Romantic literary studies.

In Memory

The books and works of William Wallace Carson