Marginated Books

Bruce Peel Special Collections is home to a wide selection of books from the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries characterized by annotations which offer traces of readers and their interactions with books. These annotations include not only marginal comments and corrections (or marginalia), but also book prices, personal ownership marks, evidence of how books were shelved and stored, censorship, ornamentation, and even children’s doodles. Other interesting examples of readers' interactions with books include the re-use of a liturgical music manuscript as a binding for a widely circulated emblem-book (Emblemata, 1567) and a copy of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress (1717), in which the owner, William Wieatt, commemorates the book as a gift from his mother with a poem. Besides revealing readerly interactions, these books are interesting for a broad spectrum of content, from small tabbed atlases to works by learned critics of canonical poets and philosophers. Information about two related exhibitions—The Spacious Margin: Eighteenth-Century Printed Books and the Traces of Their Readers (2012-13) and Marginated: Seventeenth-Century Printed Books and the Traces of Their Readers (2010)—can be found here.

Collection Formats: 16th Century, 17th Century, 18th Century -- click to see other collections with this format