Elizabeth Frengel

Curator of Rare Books


As curator of rare books, I am dedicated to helping library users explore how text and materiality come together to form meaning deeper than the text when taken alone. My research interests are in the book arts and book history, with a focus on paper making, paper decorating and book bindings. I have curated exhibitions on collaborative book making, paper marbling and book binding. At the University of Chicago Library, I've curated "But Is It a Book?" and "A Book by Its Cover."

One of the things I like best about my work is all that I learn from students and visitors, many of whom are encountering an illuminated manuscript, fragment of papyrus or ephemeral zine for the first time. Their comments and observations often remind me of how much there is left to discover in this field.

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