The Evergreen State College Wordmark

The Daniel J. Evans Library

James F. Holly Rare Books Collection

The Holly Rare Books Room is located at Lib 3302 on the Library's third floor.

Hours:  Wednesday  10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
            Thursday  10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
            Friday  10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

To make an appointment at other times, call 867-6625 or Contact us by email.

What's in the Holly Collection?

Our rare books collection is a gallery of books arts.  We have focused this collection around several formats - handmade and small press books, miniature books, and trade books that are both rare and beautiful to look at, touch, and read.  In addition, we collect books with regional content and themes, including Northwest authors, Northwest history, and diverse antiquities donated by people who live in the Northwest region.

What makes a rare book rare?

  • There are many factors that make some books more rare than others.
  • Whether it was printed early in the printing history of the region.
  • Whether it is the only copy in existence, or the only copy in the Pacific Northwest.
  • The fine binding style, hand-made paper, or other materials used to create the book.
  • Whether it is one of a few in a limited set (for example, 3/10, meaning 3 of 10 made.)
  • Its monetary value. 

Glossary of Rare Books Terms

Highlighted words link to Wikipedia.

all edges gilt The top, fore-edge and foot of the book are trimmed smooth and coated with gold leaf.

anthropodermic bibliopegy The practice of binding books in human skin.

antiquarian 1. Of or relating to antiquarians or to the study or collecting of antiquities. 2. Dealing in or having to do with old or rare books.

apocryphal of questionable authorship.

archives A place or collection containing records, documents, or other materials of historical interest.

artists' book An art object in the form of a book.

backstrip The covering over the book's spine.

bastard title a first page of some books displaying only the title of the book [syn: half title]

bibliophile 1. A lover of books. 2. A collector of books.

block printing (a) A mode of printing (common in China and Japan) from engraved boards by means of a sheet of paper laid on the linked surface and rubbed with a brush. --S. W. Williams. (b) A method of printing cotton cloth and paper hangings with colors, by pressing them upon an engraved surface coated with coloring matter.

bookbinding The art, trade, or profession of binding books.

book of hours The most common type of surviving medieval illuminated manuscript. Each Book of Hours is unique, but all contain a collection of texts, prayers and psalms, along with appropriate illustrations, to form a convenient reference for Christian worship and devotion.

bookplate A label bearing the owner's name or other identification that is pasted usually on the inside cover of a book. Also called ex libris.

broadside 1. A large sheet of paper usually printed on one side.
2. Something, such as an advertisement or public notice, that is printed on a broadside. Also called broadsheet.

buckram A coarse cotton fabric heavily sized with glue, used for stiffening garments and in bookbinding.

calligraphy 1. a. The art of fine handwriting. b. Works in fine handwriting considered as a group. 2. Handwriting.

chase A rectangular steel or iron frame into which pages or columns of type are locked for printing or plate making.

chirography The study of penmanship/handwriting in all of its aspects.

codex (pl. codices) A manuscript volume, especially of a classic work or of the Scriptures. Word History: Cdex is a variant of caudex, a wooden stump to which petty criminals were tied in ancient Rome, rather like our stocks. This was also the word for a book made of thin wooden strips coated with wax upon which one wrote. The usual modern sense of codex, “book formed of bound leaves of paper or parchment,” is due to Christianity. By the first century B.C. there existed at Rome notebooks made of leaves of parchment, used for rough copy, first drafts, and notes. By the first century A.D. such manuals were used for commercial copies of classical literature. The Christians adopted this parchment manual format for the Scriptures used in their liturgy because a codex is easier to handle than a scroll and because one can write on both sides of a parchment but on only one side of a papyrus scroll. By the early second century all Scripture was reproduced in codex form. In traditional Christian iconography, therefore, the Hebrew prophets are represented holding scrolls and the Evangelists holding codices. (alt. def.: a set of folios nested together and sewn through the fold.)

codicology The study of a codex.

collation assembling in proper numerical or logical sequence

colophon 1. An inscription placed usually at the end of a book, giving facts about its publication. 2. A publisher's emblem or trademark placed usually on the title page of a book.

deckle edge A rough edge left by a deckle on handmade paper or produced artificially on machine-made paper.

dentelle Ornamental, lace-like tooling

dust jacket A removable paper cover used to protect the binding of a book. Also called dust cover.

end paper Either of two folded sheets of heavy paper having one half pasted to the inside front or back cover of a book and the other half pasted to the base of the first or last page. Also called end leaf.

ephemera Printed matter of passing interest.

errata An error in printing or writing, especially such an error noted in a list of corrections and bound into a book.

first edition 1. The first published copies of a literary work printed from the same type and distributed at the same time. 2. A single copy from a group published first.

flyleaf A blank or specially printed leaf at the beginning or end of a book.

folio 1. a. A large sheet of paper folded once in the middle, making two leaves or four pages of a book or manuscript. b. A book or manuscript of the largest common size, usually about 38 centimeters (15 inches) in height, consisting of such folded sheets. 2. a. A leaf of a book numbered only on the front side. b. A number on such a leaf. c. A page number.

fore edge the front edge of a book or folded sheet, etc.

foxing The effect on certain papers of the oxidation of iron or other substances in the pulp or rag from which the paper was made. It is responsible for the spots and browning seen on old books, documents, postage stamps, and so forth.

frontispiece An illustration that faces or immediately precedes the title page of a book, book section, or magazine.

galley proof A proof taken from composed type before page composition to allow for the detection and correction of errors.

glassine A nearly transparent, resilient glazed paper resistant to the passage of air and grease.

hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) is a book bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with leather, cloth or heavy paper). They may have stitched spines, although most modern commercial hardcover books have glued spines.

headband 1.An ornamental strip at the top of a page or beginning of a chapter or paragraph. 2. Printing. A cloth band attached to the top of the spine of a book.

holograph A handwritten book or document written wholly in the handwriting of the person whose signature it bears.

illuminated manuscript A manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration or illustration, such as decorated initials, borders and miniatures.

imposition The arrangement of printed matter to form a sequence of pages.

imprint A publisher's name, often with the date, address, and edition, printed at the bottom of a title page of a publication.

incipit The beginning or opening words of the text of a medieval manuscript or early printed book.

incunabulum A book, single sheet, or image that was printed — not handwritten — before the year 1501 in Europe.

in octavo (also 8vo or 8º) A sheet folded in half 3 times to make 8 leaves. Also called: 8-page signature.

in quarto (also 4to or 4º) A sheet folded in half twice at right angles to make four leaves. Also called: 4-page signature.

in sextodecimo (also 16mo or 16º) A sheet folded in half 4 times to make 16 leaves. Also called: 16-page signature.

leaf A single complete page, front and back, in a finished book.

letterpress 1. a. The process of printing from a raised inked surface.
b. Something printed in this fashion. 2. Chiefly British. The text, as of a book, distinct from illustrations or other ornamentation.

library 1. a. A place in which literary and artistic materials, such as books, periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, prints, records, and tapes, are kept for reading, reference, or lending. b. A collection of such materials, especially when systematically arranged. c. A room in a private home for such a collection. d. An institution or foundation maintaining such a collection. 2. A commercial establishment that lends books for a fee. 3. A series or set of books issued by a publisher.

lithography A printing process in which the image to be printed is rendered on a flat surface, as on sheet zinc or aluminum, and treated to retain ink while the nonimage areas are treated to repel ink.

marbled paper A decorative paper in a swirling pattern often used as endpaper.

marginalia Notes in the margin or margins of a book.

miniature book A very small book, sized from .5 inches square to roughly 2 by 3 inches.

movable type Type in which each character is cast on a separate piece of metal.

offprint A reproduction of or an excerpt from an article that was originally contained in a larger publication.

offset printing The process of printing by indirect image transfer, especially by using a metal or paper plate to ink a smooth rubber cylinder that transfers the ink to the paper.

paleography 1. The study and scholarly interpretation of earlier, especially ancient, writing and forms of writing. 2. a. The documents whose writing is so studied. b. The manner of writing in an earlier, especially ancient, document or set of documents.

palimpsest A manuscript, typically of papyrus or parchment, that has been written on more than once, with the earlier writing incompletely erased and often legible.

paper 1. A material made of cellulose pulp, derived mainly from wood, rags, and certain grasses, processed into flexible sheets or rolls by deposit from an aqueous suspension, and used chiefly for writing, printing, drawing, wrapping, and covering walls. 2. A single sheet of this material.

paperback A book having a flexible paper binding.

parchment 1. The skin of a sheep or goat prepared as a material on which to write or paint. 2. A written text or drawing on a sheet of this material.
3. Paper made in imitation of this material.

philology The study of ancient texts and languages.

printing press A machine that transfers lettering or images by contact with various forms of inked surface onto paper or similar material fed into it in various ways.

private press A printing press operated as a personal hobby, rather than as a purely commercial venture.

quire A set of leaves which are stitched together. This is most often a single signature, but may be several nested signatures. The quires for a single book are arranged in order and then stitched together as a set.

quoin A wedge-shaped block used to lock type in a chase.

recto A right-hand page of a book or the front side of a leaf, on the other side of the verso.

scroll 1. A roll, as of parchment or papyrus, used especially for writing a document. 2. An ancient book or volume written on such a roll.

signature a large sheet printed with several pages, intended to form four or more leaves in the finished book. The pages are arranged on the sheet so that all of the pages orient the same way and are in proper sequence after the sheet is folded.

spine The hinged back of a book.

three-quarter binding A bookbinding in which the leather or fabric covering the spine extends onto the covers for one third of their width.

trimming allows the leaves of the bound book to be turned. A sheet folded in quarto will have folds at the spine and also across the top, so the top folds must be trimmed away before the leaves can be turned. A signature folded in octavo or greater may also require that the other two sides be trimmed. Deckle Edge, or Uncut books are untrimmed or incompletely trimmed, and may be of special interest to book collectors.

typeface 1. a. The surface of a block of type that makes the impression. b. The impression made by this surface. 2. The size or style of the letter or character on a block of type. 3. The full range of type of the same design.

typography 1. a. The art and technique of printing with movable type. b. The composition of printed material from movable type. 2. The arrangement and appearance of printed matter.

uncial Of or relating to a style of writing characterized by somewhat rounded capital letters and found especially in Greek and Latin manuscripts of the fourth to the eighth century A.D. It provided the model from which most of the capital letters in the modern Latin alphabet are derived.

vellum 1. a. A fine parchment made from calfskin, lambskin, or kidskin and used for the pages and binding of books. b. A work written or printed on this parchment. 2. A heavy off-white fine-quality paper resembling this parchment.

verso A left-hand page of a book or the reverse side of a leaf, as opposed to the recto.

wrappers a book jacket

Definitions are drawn from wikipedia and