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Modern Chapbook Collection

development-no-findingHistorically, chapbooks were small, inexpensive, paper-covered books-often in pamphlet form, that were popular from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries. Sold by street peddlers called chapmen, they covered a wide variety of topics, including religious, literary, musical, and political themes, and often contained crude woodcuts. Chapbooks began to lose popularity when inexpensive newspapers and magazines became widely available in the nineteenth century. Currently, the term “chapbook” is most often used to denote inexpensive publications, often of poetry. Widespread availably of low cost copy centers along with the popularity of “zines” and poetry slams created the circumstances in which self-published chapbooks have flourished. Chapbooks can also be skillfully produced publications, printed by letterpress on fine paper; our collection contains fine examples from the Center for Book Arts and Aralia Press. Our Modern Chapbook Collection also includes chapbooks from Ugly Duckling and Arrowsmith presses. The collection consists primarily of poetry chapbooks but also includes broadsides and book-length volumes from these presses.

» Access our Alicat holdings in this collection.

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