A Book More Precious than Gold

Reading the Printed Book Alongside Its Previous Owners and Readers

An exhibition curated by Dr. Armin Siedlecki and Dr. Ulrich Bubenheimer with Dr. Eric Moore (August 19—November 30, 2019)

Books often tell stories that go far beyond their printed text. Successive owners leave their mark through inscriptions, annotations, bindings or illustrations, making an individual copy of a book a unique specimen. Some bear the marks of famous owners while others contain anonymous marginalia that provide information about the reception or the impact of an idea on readers of a different time or culture. Studying the provenance of a book thus enriches our understanding of how different people throughout history have interacted with the work. This exhibition presents examples of books and the marks left by their readers, each adding a new layer of meaning to an individual volume. While the printing and publication of a book finalizes its content, it also marks the beginning of an ongoing conversation with its readers in which we are invited to participate.

This exhibition and its objects will be featured in the 2019 Reformation Day at Emory hosted by Pitts Theology Library, which will be held on Tuesday, October 29th, 2019. This year’s program explores the theme “The Story of Our Books: Producing, Collecting, and Owning Books of the 16th Century.” To learn more and to register, please visit: http://pitts.emory.edu/about/news-events/reformation-day.cfm.

All are invited to view the exhibition any time the library is open. We are also pleased to offer tours. Tour groups meet at the library entrance.

Upcoming Tours


If you’d like to arrange a tour outside of the scheduled listings, please call or email Anne Marie McLean (amclea3@emory.edu, 404.727.5094).

A Book More Precious than Gold: Reading the Printed Book alongside Its Previous Owners and Readers

Exhibition catalog: Download PDF (97 MB)