The James Ford Bell Library on the University of Minnesota campus opened in 1953, a specialty library devoted to books, maps and ephemera documenting the history of international trade before 1800. This is the dullest possible way to describe a library that is actually quite fascinating, filled with beautiful, rare and exquisite artifacts. To commemorate the library’s 65th birthday, a gorgeous book was commissioned, with an introduction by the museum’s curator, Marguerite Ragnow, and dozens of artful color photographs by Minneapolis photographer Natasha D’Schommer.
“Tulips, Chocolate & Silk” was just named a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. It is filled with photographs that are objects of art themselves — images of gloriously hand-painted atlases and ancient hand-lettered maps, illuminated manuscripts and ancient leather-bound account books, volumes with gold-leaf-embossed vellum covers and swirling marbled endpapers. So much more than ink on paper.
The party will be at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at Coffman Memorial Union at the university. The book is $75; the reception is free.