The essential focus of the collection is on artists' books and the broader topics of the Book Arts: letterpress printing, fine binding, handpapermaking and paper decoration. The Jaffe Collection is one of the largest and most varied collections of its kind in the country. And even though it began as a private collection it is very well suited to its current use as a teaching or academic collection because of the broad range of techniques, styles and genres it encompasses.
The CollectionsBooks as Aesthetic Objects Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here The Rosa Trillo Clough Archive of Italian Futurism ISCA: International Society
of Copier Artists SWEAT Broadsheet Collection
The Jaffe Center for Book Arts revolves around the Arthur and Mata Jaffe Collection: Books as Aesthetic Objects. This collection consists primarily of visual books gathered more for their artistic expression than for their informational content. Words and text were not the primary consideration in building this collection, which has been assembled within a wide parameter of aesthetics and book structures (including books that defy traditional structure completely).
The beginnings of the collection were rather accidental: Arthur Jaffe was not acquiring books with a collection in mind, but simply began buying books that interested him. His earliest books reflect his long interest in the Hebrew "aleph bet," with a majority of the works being black and white expressionist woodcuts. As his tastes changed and developed so did the collection. Through Mata Jaffe's influence, the collection became brighter and more lighthearted and varied. Arthur says that Mata brought "color and light to the collection."
Since the Jaffes' donation in 1998 to Florida Atlantic University, the collection has more than tripled in size due to continued donations from Arthur, as well as the donations of our many supporters through the Jaffe Collection Support Fund. The collection includes over 6,000 titles in our main database, including such important works as Keith Smith's Book 91 (or "String Book"), an extensive collection of the work of Leonard Baskin and the Gehenna Press, and numerous pieces by book artists in the regional South Florida community. Thanks to recent gifts to the collection, there are also many books from the early artists' book movement of the 1960s and 70s, featuring artists like Ed Ruscha and Kevin Osborne.
Thousands of pieces of ephemera have also been collected here, bringing additional depth to the Jaffe Collection. (Ephemera includes correspondence, exhibition invitations, newspaper and magazine articles, and even letterpress printed drink coasters.)
The Jaffe Collection houses numerous smaller collections, including the complete collection of the International Society of Copier Artists Quarterly (ISCA), a collection of almost 4,000 small books created by artists using the photocopier as medium (Xerography). The Rosa Trillo Clough Archive of Italian Futurism is also housed at the Jaffe Collection, due to the many contributions to dynamic typography by the Futurists. Our most recent addition is Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, a collection of broadsides printed by members of The Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition--a group of international poets, writers, printers and artists creating literary broadsides in response to the March 2007 bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street, the historic bookselling district and intellectual center of Baghdad.