VCU Libraries Gallery

Ex Libris: Traces of Ownership

"Ex Libris"- a latin phrase meaning "from the books" - is often used to indicate ownership as in "from the library of..." 

James Branch Cabell Library's Special Collections and Archives holds approximately 50,000 books and periodicals, most dating from the late 19th century to the present. The rare book collection within the department is made up of materials that were acquired from a variety of donors and rare book dealers. Many of the previous owners of these books personalized them with bookplates, inscriptions and marginalia.Some volumes have photographs pasted in, or correspondence and ephemera slipped between the pages.

What does the evidence left behind in these books reveal about their previous owners?

This exhibit explores that question by examining rare books and many of their owners that are housed in Special Collections and Archives. Most of these books have a Richmond connection - some were owned by Richmonders while others relate to the city in a more tangential way.

These materials are just a small sample of the many interesting rare books available for study in Special Collections and Archives. Let us know if you have any questions or comments.