History of the Book

The history of the book is an academic discipline that studies the production, transmission, circulation, and dissemination of text from antiquity to the present day. Its scope is very broad and encompasses many of areas of study including the history of ideas, social history, art history, and the history of religion, as well as studies in bibliography, conservation, and curation. Special Collections and Archives’ collection includes examples that allow students to explore this rich field—from the earliest methods of recording and containing texts, the emergence of the codex (what we think of as the standard book format) in the West, and the transition from manuscript to print—to the connections among art and fashion and book binding, decoration, and illustration, among many other areas of inquiry.