Two sides of a leaf from a Persian illuminated manuscript, believed to contain folklore or stories, c. 18th century.
Palm Leaf Book
Palm leaf manuscript book from the 17th century, in a scroll box carved from a single piece of oak. This book and its box formerly belonged to the estate of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst.
Coptic Bible and Case
Leather carrying case and manuscript Bible from Ethiopia, in the Ge'ez language. C. 18th century.
An exhibition of rare books and objects from the collection of David and Nancy Leroy, including illuminated manuscript fragments, opens Aug. 24 at Boise State’s Ron and Linda Yanke Family Research Park.
Sponsored by Boise State’s Arts and Humanities Institute and produced by the Idaho Center for the Book, the exhibit, “Chapters from the History of the Book,” features 31 books and artifacts spanning centuries and continents, such as manuscripts, early printed books, palm leaf books and early Coptic materials.
The works have been generously lent from the collection of David Leroy, former Idaho lieutenant governor and attorney general who is a noted Abraham Lincoln scholar and collector of Lincoln memorabilia, and Nancy Leroy, a collector of fine art and former Miss Boise State University. They have collected antiquarian books in Europe and the United States for more than 20 years.
The exhibition is located in the Arts and Humanities Institute Gallery of the Yanke Family Research Park at 220 East Parkcenter Blvd. The books will remain on view through Dec. 5 from 1-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday or by appointment. Entry is free.
“The Leroy collection is incredibly beautiful and interesting, and rich in the opportunities it offers for scholarly exploration,” says Stephanie Bacon, director of the Idaho Center for the Book and Boise State professor of art and graphic design. “It is remarkable that such a collection is here; books and fragments of such age and geographical range are rarely seen, if at all, in Idaho.”
Bacon curated “Chapters from the History of the Book,” and directed a small team of students involved in research, documentation and exhibition design.“What I really love about this collection is its exuberant diversity both in form and content,” Bacon says. “I believe it will surprise people, and perhaps lead them to question some of the received wisdom about who was reading at various historical moments, and what they were reading and why. This has direct bearing on our contemporary conversations about the future and the meaning of the book.”
This exhibition opens the second season of programming for Boise State’s Arts and Humanities Institute (AHI), a recent addition to the university and Treasure Valley cultural scene. Its missions are to support university research and creative activity in the arts and humanities and collaborate with community partners. In the past year, AHI has presented the “Symposium on Food Security” (September 2011), the “Idea of Nature” lecture series (spring 2012), and other programming.
The Idaho Center for the Book is an affiliate of the Library of Congress, and has been housed at Boise State since its founding in 1993. Its purpose is to encourage and promote an interest in reading, writing, making, disseminating, and collecting books, as well as preserving and publicizing the bibliophilic heritage of Idaho.