This exhibition reveals the vast diversity of bookbinding structures, materials, and designs in Houghton Library's collections. From treasure bindings crafted of precious metals to homemade covers stitched together from worn scraps of clothing, these objects tell us about much more than the pages they protect. More than 60 items are on display, comparing and contrasting the ways bindings simultaneously operate as mechanisms, preserve material culture, and enact the artistic vision of their creators.

This exhibition is curated by Molly Schwartzburg, Philip Hofer Curator of Printing and Graphic Arts.

Planning to visit?

Houghton exhibitions are open to all visitors. Please see Harvard Library's Visitor Access Page for the most up-to-date information about visiting the library.

Join us for a tour!

Join exhibition curator Molly Schwartzburg for a special guided tour of At the Limits of the Book. This 45-minute tour will include a discussion of the exhibition's themes, highlights of the items on display, and ample time for participant questions. Follow the links below to register in advance.

Persons with disabilities who would like to request accommodations or have questions about physical access, please contact us.