The word "dinosaur" did not officially appear in print until 1842, in a British Association for the Advancement of Science report written by Richard Owen (1804-1892). Charles Dickens introduced his readers to a dinosaur in the third sentence of chapter 1 of Bleak House in March 1852: "As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill." In 1854, life-sized models of large, extinct prehistoric reptiles were unveiled in London. And so the craze began.
Some may think that dinosaurs and their kin became extinct 66 million years ago, yet they have become vivid parts of the popular imagination. Using books, journals, original artwork, posters and other types of media, Bibliosaurus! explores how dinosaurs transformed from objects of intense scientific inquiry into everyday figures, appearing in editorials, advertisements, corporate logos, and many other places as well.
Bibliosaurus! is composed in large part from the recent gift of the Edward Valauskas collection of Dinosauriana to the University of Chicago Library. Additional items have been borrowed from the personal collections of Edward Valauskas and Charles Valauskas.