About the Exhibit

Few library users get to browse through the covers of the rare books presented here. Now that illustrations from these books have been digitized and arranged, the West Virginia University Libraries invite the world to come and open the books virtually, to view the illustrations, read some of the text, browse through advertisements in a periodical from 1899, and acquaint themselves with these rare books and their original collector.

This exhibit consists of over 1100 images of illustrations and some text from a selection of the Mark Twain Collection in the WVU Libraries' Rare Book Room. The donor, Arthur Dayton, collected articles, short poems, and periodical issues containing Twain's articles, as well as first editions of his full length books, some illustrated and some not. The materials in this exhibit are representative sample of the collection as they include examples of each. There is a complete list of the Mark Twain books in the Rare Book Room available.

The books are first editions in excellent condition. Each item has a page where its illustrations or text are presented as thumbnails that link to full size images in .jpg format. Most illustrations also include a link to an image of a detailed close up. Spines, covers, title pages, tables of contents, and lists of illustrations are also included. Although this is primarily a visual display, text is included when there is only a small amount. The text appears only as an image. Illustrations and advertisements from the periodical Cosmopolitan, v. 27, 1899, no. 6 are included, where one of Twain's stories appears.

The content is historical and may contain offensive stereotypes. This content should be viewed in the context of the time and place in which it was created, as a record of that time.


Exhibit Courtesy of the West Virginia University Libraries West Virginia and Regional History Center
© 2005 All Rights Reserved

Online exhibit developed by Beth Jane Toren and Alisha Myers