Extra-illustrated books

Extra-illustrated books are published texts that have been made into a unique copy by a former owner through the permanent addition of prints, autographs, letters, etc. Typically, the additions are mounted on additional leaves, and the book is rebound to accommodate its increased thickness.

Extra illustrations primarily serve as visual and verbal annotations to a text rather than decoration: the extra-illustrator identifies significant people, places, and things mentioned in the book (even if only mentioned in passing), collects related material, and adds it in the appropriate spot.

History at the Folger

Mr. and Mrs. Folger purchased many extra-illustrated books, and the library continues to acquire them. In 2010, the Folger exhibition Extending the Book: the Art of Extra-Illustration showcased the phenomenon.

Call number oddities

Because items in extra-illustrated volumes have been cataloged piecemeal, call numbers for individual added manuscripts, art, & printed text are inconsistent.

From 2000 onwards, leaves containing added material are continuously numbered with one number per leaf or one number per title for titles covering multiple leaves (this only rarely happens, e.g. when a multi-leaf pamphlet is inlaid within a volume). Multiple titles on the same leaf receive lower-case letter designations, left-to-right, top-to-bottom, immediately after the number. {INSERT EXAMPLES}

In most cases prior to 2000, manuscripts were cataloged with reference to nearest page of the as-published book, then years later leaves with art (but ONLY art) were numbered in sequence and cataloged. {INSERT EXAMPLES}

In still other cases, supporting leaves in extra-illustrated volumes will be continuously foliated or paginated regardless of whether or not they contain pages from the as-published book, with tipped in items skipped in numbering (note: this practice is extremely rare). Instead of referring to these tipped in materials as "before" or "after" support leaves, use a decimal number to indicate placement of item in relation to the leaf that precedes it:

ART Vol. b10 no.88.2

Extra-illustrated books transfer project


Goal: Re-catalog and reclassify the remaining books (ca. 200) that have the call number suffix "Ex.ill." so that they get shelved with ART Vol., Cage, W.a., or W.b. instead

Background: The "Ex.ill." suffix was added as a temporary stop-gap measure when the only way to get books out of the open stacks and into the vault was to shelve them in the growth space in the Art Vault (at the time, there was no growth space elsewhere). Most are not extra-illustrated in the sense of being Grangerized. Rather, most have copy-specific additions such as a tipped-in letters or manuscript annotations (e.g. texts marked up by editors in preparation for a second edition). These additions are not (yet) noted in Hamnet.


In 2010, the "Ex.ill." books were assigned to one of four categories, with the category written in pencil on the back of each flag. The number of "books" in each category roughly corresponds to the number of book titles, but has no correlation with the number of art or manuscript items added to those titles.

Cage + mss (approx. 56 books)

  • copies extra-illustrated with letters only (no images, or no images beyond a magazine clipping or two)
  • copies with presentation letters that provide additional content (e.g. declining an invitation to perform, but presenting the book as a gift; e.g. discussing Shakespeare authorship and ending with words to the effect of “please accept this little pamphlet as a token”)

Mss and Mss? (approx. 23 books)

  • published books marked up by the author in preparation for a second edition
  • interleaved published books with the author’s corrections, additions, and annotations
  • published books where the manuscript annotations by someone other than the author seem to constitute a separate “work” (example: an anti-Stratfordian has added circles, arrows, rebuttals, and remarks all over a book about Shakespeare)

Cage (approx. 42 books)

  • copies where the laid-in material does not merit separate cataloging (e.g., a few newspaper clippings, an autograph, a presentation letter with no content beyond “please accept this as a gift”)
  • copies where the annotations are minor or of minor significance (in Erin's opinion) and are not by the author of the work (and so could easily be represented by a book cataloger’s copy-specific note “Formerly owned by Jean Jules Jusserand, with his marginal notes”)
  • copies with no additional material at all

Art (approx. 88 books)

  • copies that aren’t extra-illustrated but are valued for their as-published pictures
  • extra-illustration consisting entirely of graphic material
  • extra-illustration consisting of graphic and manuscript material of roughly equal importance