Collections Spotlight: Alphabet Books

'the letters A and Z from A to Z: Marvels in Paper Engineering,' published by Movable Book Society, 2018

About the Exhibition

Inspired by Golnar Adili‘s artist’s book project Father Gave Water / Baabaa Aad Daad about Persian language and translation, Center for Book Arts Librarian Gillian Lee curated this display of alphabet books from CBA’s Fine Arts Collection. The books from the collection each treat the alphabet with varying levels of playfulness and reverence: some pay tribute to the beautiful possibilities that the alphabet has to inspire sculptural bookworks while others feature works that use the form of the alphabet book to convey a more subversive message. 

Featured Books

1. the letters A and Z from A to Z: Marvels in Paper Engineering, published by Movable Book Society, 2018

2. Alphabook 3, a set of two sculptural accordion books by Scott L. McCarney

3. Family, an alphabet-book-style book of Marxist cultural criticism by Victor Burgin

4. Years Yet Yesterday: An Abecedary, Minus Two Letters, an alphabet book of words from LGBTQ+ activist Larry Kramer’s speech “The Tragedy of Today’s Gays,” by Mark Addison Smith. 

To search our Collections database for more information, visit our Collections Page or click here. You can also drop-in during our business hours to view more works from our collections or make an appointment to view the collections by emailing

View the Movable Book Society’s Alphabet Book

Visit the Exhibition

Collections Spotlight: Alphabet Books is on view at Center for Book Arts (28 W 27th St, 3rd Fl) from Friday, January 14 through Saturday, March 26, 2022.

To help ensure the health & safety of our community during the surge of the Omicron variant, there is no in-person opening event for this exhibition.

Visitors who comply with our Covid-19 policies are welcome to view the exhibition in-person anytime during our regular business hours. CBA is open Monday–Thursday from 11am–6pm and Friday & Saturday from 11am–5pm. Admission is free with a suggested donation.

All visitors are required to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination upon arrival and wear a mask covering their nose and mouth at all times while on-site. If you have a medical or religious exemption to the vaccine, please contact CBA Executive Director Corina Reynolds at in advance of your visit.

Exhibition Views

Years Yet Yesterday: An 'Abecedary, Minus Two Letters' by Mark Addison Smith.
'Family' by Victor Burgin
'Alphabook 3' by Scott L. McCarney
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