Indiana State

Browse Exhibits (24 total)

  • Artistry of Early Books

    Many scholars, librarians, and curators have traced the history of the book and bookbinding through the ages with special emphasis on the historical importance of the printed word and its effects on society. Less common is a focus on the pure artistry involved in the creation of books.

    The artistic styles used to create individual elements of books reflect the cultural artistic styles of their era. For example, arabesque, a motif common throughout the Arabic world by the Middle Ages consisting of intertwining vines and flora, found its way into Islamic books as full-color page decorations. The design spread westward, and became a favorite motif of European printers in the fifteenth and sixteenth century, who used the motif for woodcuts of decorated letters.

    Head and tailpieces, the illustrative elements at the beginning or ending of the page, at times mimicked lintel sculpture of historical buildings, and at other times floral or knotwork patterns found in fiber arts, interior design, jewelry, and calligraphy. Tooled leather covers of the late medieval era may include crests or other symbols common in heraldry, another art form common from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance era.

    Artisans from each stage of the book making process – papermakers, printers, leatherworkers, and binders – showed unique variation in their craft that likely resulted in knowledgeable citizens of the era being able to distinguish between individual artisans. Papermakers used different formulas that resulted in different colors and consistency of paper. Printers created their own text blocks and inks so even recognized standardized fonts could appear different from printer to printer. Leatherworkers, particularly those working by hand rather than plate press, used customer-defined parameters combined with their own best motifs and designs to stand out from the crowd.

    As in any fine art discipline, it is necessary to have a full understanding of the terminology used to describe the works of art in order to discuss them appropriately. Various elements of book creation are highlighted throughout this exhibit with affiliated terminology. Details about the specific materials or their authors are presented to provide a background in which to consider the artistic nature of the volumes.

    It is with a full understanding of the time, effort, and creativity artisans put into their work so long ago that we approach this exhibit of early books.


    This exhibit is organized by internal and external features of the texts. Subsections within each category provide additional organization by specific features. Clicking on an image will take you to details about that particular item. Clicking on the image from the detail page will take you to the full image, many of which can be enlarged to view unique details. You can then use your browser's back button to return to the exhibit as a whole.


    Indiana State University Presidents

    Picture and brief biography on each university president.



    Leatherheads and Helmets: The History and Traditions of ISU Football


    When was the first Homecoming parade? How long did the ISU football team wear leather helmets? What date did the marching band make an appearance at a game?  Since the beginning, sports have played an important part of school history, and football is no exception.  Come explore how ISU football grew from a few men in leather helmets on a small field, to a team in a cheering stadium and the traditions that are a part of what it means to be Syacmore.


    Rooted in Blue: The History and Importance of Student Organizations at ISU


    Student organizations shape the ISU experience. Just a few years after the Indiana State Normal School opened its doors, the students came together to create clubs based on their educational and social interests. Initially creating boarding clubs and literary societies, students later developed a wide array of organizations and clubs. Today ISU boasts approximately 300 registered student groups that cater to Greek societies, academic and scholastic achievement, and interests in cultural, religious, political, and recreational topicsThese student organizations continue to help shape and define the ISU college experience.  Explore how student organizations have defined the university experience throughout ISU history and preserve your own groups’ place in the history of Indiana State.


    Ask the Same Questions: Stories Connecting Art & Science

    The search for a better understanding of our place in the world is something that is not unique to either the sciences or the arts, but is something shared by both.  Sometimes the scope of the questions is broad, and sometimes it narrows to focus on a particular field of study.  This exhibit focuses on the art and scholarship from seven fields of study (Medical Sciences, Engineering, Natural History, Nuclear Physics, Microbiology, Astronomy and Perception) found in the Special Collections at ISU.  The artists and scholars represented all sought a better understanding of their fields.


    Greetings From...Travel Through the Centuries

    Travel is engrained in humans. we travel to explore, we travel to relax, and we travel to discover new things.  For centures people ventured, for the most part, only a few miles from their homes and usually by foot or horseback; however with the advent of ships capable of traversing leagues of open ocean, locomotives and automobiles that could cover hundreds of miles in a few days, and airplanes that crossed the globe in a few hours the world was truly opened up for all human beings.  This exhibit explores how travel has evolved over the centuies through personal accounts and images that doucment and reflect people's ideas of what the world was like, and why people continue to wander the globe today.  Come explore with us and perhaps recount your own adventures away from home by writing a post card and dropping it in the Special Collections mailbox.