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Cathy Barry: “Florilegium” Class Visits Special Collections at U-M Library

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Stamps Lecturer Cathy Barry’s 300-level course, Florilegium: Creating A Plant Compendium, recently visited the Special Collections twice as part of the historical context of these types of books. The class visit was featured in an article featured in the U‑M Library’s Winter 2018 Digital Magazine, Explore ~ Create ~ Share

In a room on the 6th floor of the Hatcher Graduate Library, groups of students clustered around tables laden with rare and special books, which were propped open on foam rests to protect their bindings. The books varied in size and age, and ranged in subject from botany to children’s literature, but all of them featured illustrations of plants.

This was the students’ second visit to the Special Collections Library, this time for a deeper dive into the great variety of styles and techniques artists and illustrators have used to represent flora over the centuries.

Their introductory session, focused on printing techniques, featured what is perhaps the Library’s greatest treasure, or at least a portion of it: two volumes of the double-elephant folio of John James Audubon’s The Birds of America.

Florilegium: creating a plant compendium | Explore ~ Create ~ Share | M Library