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John M. Kelly Library

Documentaries: Book History

The Anatomy of a Book

Z117 .H47 2003 DVD
30 minutes
Discusses the physical format of books printed during the hand-press period on hand-made paper. Identifies laid and wove papers, watermarks, and the folding of sheets for folios, quartos, octavos, and other formats.

Books and Kings

N5300 .D58 v.6 VHS
45 minutes
Sixty of the most precious books formerly owned by the Kings of France and now owned by the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.

The Catholic Press: A Video History

PN4888 .C5 V53 2002 DVD
30 minutes
This program examines the growth and vitality of diocesan newspapers in the 19th century, especially in defending the immigrant Church against anti-Catholic bias, then considers how the Catholic Press came to flourish in the 20th century and its changing place in Catholic life since since Vatican II. Part of the Catholic Life in America series.

Experience the Magic of Marbling

Z271.3 .M37 E9 1994 VHS
60 minutes
An instructional video on how to create marbled papers.

From Punch to Printing Type

Z110 .C7 H697 2004 DVD
45 minutes
Stan Nelson, a specialist in the Division of Graphic Arts at the Smithsonian Institution, demonstrates the steps involved in cutting punches by hand, preparing matrices, and making type in a hand mould.

The Great Hours of Anne of Brittany

N5300 .D58 v.5 VHS
45 minutes
"The Books of Hours" by the master painter Jean Bourdichon.

Hand-made Books

Z271 .H35 1996 VHS
110 minutes
An introduction to the craft of bookbinding featuring nine projects for the beginner.


NC998.6 .S9 H45 2007 DVD
2 discs; 170 minutes.
This film goes into the history of the popular Helvetica typeface, while also using the occasion to reflect more broadly on how type affects our lives.

How to Operate a Book

Z110 .C7 H697 2004 DVD
30 minutes
An examination of book structures throughout history, the ways in which they work, and how best to handle them to preserve their original, physical integrity.

Indies Under Fire The Battle for the American Bookstore

Z471 .I535 2006z DVD SMC
58 minutes
This gripping documentary chronicles the devastating effect of giant book chains on the country's independent bookstores. During the golden years of the independents, there were 5,200 members of the American Booksellers Association - today there are fewer than 3,000.

Lindisfarne Gospels

ND3359 .L5 L5 1999z DVD
26 minutes
A documentary about this seventh century illuminated manuscript. Part of the Memorable Leaders in Christianity series.

Lindisfarne Gospels: A Masterpiece of Anglo-Saxon Book Painting

ND3359 .L5 L56 2005 DVD
35 minutes
Documentary describes the creation of the Lindisfarne Gospels, combining location footage with images from other manuscripts of the period and reveals the major pages of the Gospels in fascinating close-up. The complex process of making and decorating an illuminated manuscript is also explained.

The making of a medieval manuscript

Z281 .M35 2008 DVD SMC
45 minutes
Presents the actual making of a manuscript as it would have been done in the Middle Ages.

The Making of a Renaissance Book

Z117 .H47 2003 DVD
22 minutes
A brief history of Christophe Plantin's 16th century printing press, demonstrating the process of creating a printed book in the tradition of the Renaissance.

Medieval Manuscripts

Z 107 .M43 2005 DVD
30 minutes
Looks at the creation of medieval manuscripts ~ how illuminations were accomplished, what materials were used, how scriptoria functioned, which titles were selected. Explains the crucial role artists and artisans played in the survival of Western culture.

Paintings in Books

N5300 .D58 v.4 VHS
45 minutes
A major exhibition featuring 240 manuscripts of French illumination from 1430 to 1520.

Printmaking Processes

NE850 .P756 1998 VHS
24 minutes
Demonstrations of the four major printing processes: relief, intaglio, lithography, and screenprinting. Also available on CD-ROM as Prints & Processes (NE850 .M56 1999 CD-ROM) with additonal disc.phpons about forty prints from masters such as Dürer, Rembrandt, Gauguin, and Picasso.

The Saints with Sister Wendy

ND1430 .S23 1997 VHS
60 minutes
British art critic, Sister Wendy Beckett, explores Italian illuminated manuscripts.

Saving the National Treasures

E303 .S3 2005 DVD
60 minutes
This NOVA documentary follows a team of conservators, engineers and historians as they attempt to preserve some of America's most valuable documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

Slow Fires

Z701 .S46 1987 DVD
58 minutes
A documentary on the struggle to preserve the human record in spite of increasing brittleness in old books.

Work of Angels?: The Book of Kells

ND3359 .K4 W67 2000 VHS
60 minutes
"The Book of Kells" tells the story of this magnificent masterpiece. Created on the windy Hebridean island of Iona thirteen centuries ago, it now rests in the Trinity College library in Dublin. The manuscript has mystified, and motivated writers from W.B. Yeats to James Joyce and Umberto Eco, and its intricate Celtic knotwork continues to influence artists and craftsmen today.

A World Inscribed the Illuminated Manuscript

Z107 .W67 2004 DVD SMC
24 minutes
This program is a concise history of the illuminated manuscript and book production.