Sojourner Truth Library Celebrates National Library Week with Delightful New Exhibition

Ideas in Motion: The History of Pop-Up and Movable Books
An exhibit of books & ephemera from the collection of Ellen G. K. Rubin
April 11 – 30, 2005

Public Lecture on Pop-Up and Movable Books – April 14

Ellen G. K. Rubin, “The Popuplady” and one of the most recognized collectors of pop-up and movable books
Robert Sabuda, today’s leading paper engineer and creator of the best-selling pop-up versions of “America the Beautiful” and “The Wizard of Oz”

Hands-on Workshop on Creating Pop-up Books – April 13

National Library Week is April 11-15, 2005

(l to r) Chui-chun Lee, Director of the Sojourner Truth Library; Ellen G.K. Rubin, pop-up book collector and exhibition curator; and Robert Sabuda, best-selling author of pop-up books pose with Robert's 'America the Beautiful.' This pop-up book is created in an all white palette.In celebration of National Library Week 2005, the Sojourner Truth Library at SUNY New Paltz has organized a new exhibition, Ideas in Motion: The History of Pop-Up and Movable Books. The exhibition contains over 80 examples of rare books and ephemera, presenting an historical overview of this 700-year-old genre. Ellen G.K. Rubin curates the exhibition from her own collection. The exhibition is on view from April 11-30, 2005. It is accompanied by lectures, workshops, panels and other events. All events are free and open to the public. The exhibition is sponsored by The SUNY New Paltz Foundation, The Office of the Provost, The Sojourner Truth Library, and The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art.

“In conjunction with our fourth year of commemorating National Library Week, we’re delighted to host this delightful exhibition of pop-up and movable books,” says Sojourner Truth Library Director, Chui-chun Lee. “Ellen Rubin is offering library visitors a fascinating glimpse into her extraordinary collection. These three-dimensional books and other objects will captivate viewers of all ages. Ideas In Motion is the perfect centerpiece for our annual celebration of books and reading.”

Ideas in Motion: The History of Pop-Up and Movable Books

The history of movable books traces the history of learning itself, encompassing the disciplines of history, communications, literature, folklore, language, and art history, with the books themselves the works of art. The earliest movable books, which predate the printing press by more than a hundred years, were meant not to entertain but to facilitate learning.

They consisted of “volvelles,” rotating discs that arranged a diverse array of items — objects, ideas, substances, parts of speech, and religious holidays — into categories that could be named and organized, as well as used to make calculations and predict the future. Later versions served as calendars and aided fortune telling and the study of astronomy and astrology. In the 17th-century, movable books with flaps of layered paper were used to study anatomy, philosophy, scientific theories, and navigation. In the 19th-century, the technology was adapted to children’s books, the best-known use of moving paper today.

The exhibition and lecture connect movable books with historic events, such as the relationship of children’s books to the Industrial Revolution and the rise of a wealthy middle class, the effect of World War I on the German printing industry, and the role of movable paper in modern consumer culture. Both also show how the arcane field of paper engineering has helped to popularize the delivery of knowledge, both before and after the invention of the printing press. They demonstrate how book structures aid in communicating to readers, using visual and tactile cues.

Works in the exhibition include:

Astronomicum Caesareum (original created by Peter Apianis in 1540). Facsimile (printed and hand colored) Reproduction of a book designed for King Charles V to demonstrate the planetary motion according to the Ptolemaic system and considered one of the most beautiful books of volvelles ever published. Also called The Emperor’s Astronomy.

Opera Medica (1663) a medical book

Queen Mab or The Tricks of Harlequin (1771) by Robert Sayer who was the first ever to use movable paper in children’s books.

Thames Tunnel (estimated 1851) a peepshow where viewers can peer down the Thames Tunnel under the Thames River in London.

Lothar Meggendorfer’s Internationaler Circus (estimated 1887) Meggendorfer’s humorous and innovative use of movable paper made him the most celebrated paper engineer of the Golden Era of Movable Paper.

The Art of Landscape Gardening (1907) Humphrey Repton used flaps to show his landscaping clients the “before-and-after” in their gardens.

Nursery Rhymes and New Stories (estimated 1933) Stephen Louis Gerard used his patented “self-erecting” house for the first complex pop-up book.

Andy Warhol’s Index Book (1967) Pop culture’s use of pop-ups.

Twisted Sister: Come Out and Play (1985) and Michael Jackson: Dangerous (1991). Limited collector’s edition pop-up record album covers.

The Working Camera (1986) Exceptional interactive teaching tool on all aspects of photography.

Cookie Count (1997). Robert Sabuda extends the pop-up format to its limits.

The Pop-Up Book of Phobias (1999). Using pop-ups to convey emotions and states of mind.

71st Annual Academy Awards Program (1999)

Knick-Knack Paddywhack! (2002) Paul Zelinsky created today’s most complex pull-tab book.

New York Times best-selling author Robert Sabuda sports the bright green sunglasses worn by all citizens of the Emerald City. The page is from his pop-up version of 'The Wizard of Oz.' Sabuda will present a lecture on paper engineering in conjunction with the exhibition Ideas in Motion: The History of Pop-Up and Movable Books, on view at the Sojourner Truth Library at SUNY New Paltz, April 11 - 30, 2005Lecture: Ideas in Motion
Ellen G.K. Rubin and Robert Sabuda
Lecture Center 100, 2pm
Book sales and signing: 3:30 – 5pm
Free and open to all

Ellen G. K. Rubin, aka The Popuplady, is a writer, collector, curator, lecturer, and lover of the genre known as Pop-up and Movable Books. She is one of the most recognized collectors of pop-up and movable books. Her presentation is titled “A History of Pop-Up and Movable Books.”

Robert Sabuda, The artwork of #1 New York Times best-selling children’s book creator Robert Sabuda, ranges from glorious cut paper collage to amazing pop-up sculpture. He designs his own series of pop-up cards for the Museum of Modern Art and appears regularly on NBC’s the Today Show where he shares his enthusiasm for children’s literature and the arts. He is also now a part-time resident of New Paltz, having recently purchased an 1840’s farmhouse built by one of the original descendants of the town.

Sabuda’s presentation is titled “Paper in Motion: The making of contemporary pop-up books.” The slide presentation will follow the process of developing, designing and the entire hand-assembly process for modern pop-up and movable books.

Workshop: Paper Engineering Workshop
Led by Ed Hutchins
Sojourner Truth Library, 1 – 3 pm
Free, participants must register in advance by phone at 845-257-3716 or by email at

Secrets of Paper Animation
The information isn’t secret. What is secret is what happens unnoticed between the pages. Participants in the workshop will start by making simple moving words and pictures and then work their way up to inter-connected mechanical parts that make heads wiggle, people flip-flop, doors open, objects pop out of boxes, ghosts appear, the weather change, and objects fly across the page. They will discover that some things aren’t always what they first seem, and learn not only how illustrations can be animated, but also how text can move to direct and re-direct the reader’s point of view. Finally, participants will assemble all of the action pages created into the most engaging book you’ve ever seen. Come and join the fun.

Ed Hutchins is a book artist who has taught, lectured, curated exhibitions, directed book arts programs and created many editioned books while traveling across the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico. Since 1989 he has been the proprietor of Editions, a workshop for producing artist book multiples.

About the Invitation
The pop-up invitation for the Ideas In Motion exhibit reception was designed by paper engineer Bruce Foster who lives in Houston, Texas. Foster recently won an ADDY Award from the American Advertising Federation (AAF) for the original design on which this invitation was based. Examples of his work appear in the Ideas in Motion exhibit. Bruce Foster donated the design, engineering, and die. Printing of the invitation was donated by Lithography by Design of Highland, New York. In the tradition of all movable books, the invitation was hand-assembled by volunteers at SUNY New Paltz.

Background on National Library Week and the Sojourner Truth Library
First held in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country. It is a time to recognize the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. To spotlight the role of the library at SUNY New Paltz, Sojourner Truth Library hosts a week-long series of events that are educational, informative, entertaining, and fun.

The Sojourner Truth Library is the largest public academic library in the Mid-Hudson area. It is a regional center of research and scholarship, offering free public access to its collections and facilities. Its core collection consists of 500,000 books and bound periodicals, 1,200 current journal subscriptions, 120 research databases, and over 1 million units of microforms. The library is committed to fostering academic excellence by promoting study and the pursuit of knowledge.

Additional National Library Week events

Tuesday, April 12, 5pm:
Writing for Magazines: How, What, Where, and Why Not You?
A Publishers and Authors Forum
Reed and Polly Sparling, editor-in-chief and senior editor of Hudson Valley Magazine, and Elaine Fernandez, publisher of The Citizen, join Howard Good, magazine writer, book author, and SUNY New Paltz professor of Communication and Media, for a discussion of local publishing opportunities for local writers.

Friday, April 15, 6:30pm:
Open Mic Coffeehouse
Writers of all literary genres are welcome to share their poetry, prose, and other creations in a relaxed, friendly setting.

April 11-15
Art Contest featuring Pop-Up and Movable Books created by SUNY New Paltz students, co-sponsored by the Student Art Alliance.

April 11 – 30
“What We READ: Notable New Paltz Alumni Share Their Favorite Books”
Poster Exhibit in the Sojourner Truth Library Gallery, featuring members of the SUNY New Paltz community and their favorite books.

For more information about pop-up and movable books, visit and For a complete schedule of all events visit (note: this is not “www”)

Note to Writers & Editors: Ellen Rubin and Robert Sabuda will be on campus on the afternoon of Friday, March 25. They may be available for interviews beginning at approximately 2:30pm. Call David Cavallaro, 257-3872 to arrange. If that day and time is not convenient, others may be available. Do call.