March – July 1994

This exhibition celebrates the ordinary reader. The books displayed either received wide public acclaim or the ideas within them provoked profound changes in society affecting large groups or populations. Books in themselves can become larger than love, larger than hate, larger than patriotism, larger than any impulse in the panoply of human feeling. Indeed, the significance of books to the ordinary person is truly remarkable. We document here the excessive passion for books, bibliomania, and its pathological process into forgery, bibliokleptomania and sometimes, murder.

Prepared by Helen Ryan, Sandra Ballasch, Ann Ford, and Elaine Huntsman. Special thanks to Kim Merker and Joe Ranft of the UI Center for the Book.