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Special Collections and Rare Books
Broward County > Library > Bienes > Special Collections and Rare Books

Bienes Museum of the Modern Book: The Dianne and Michael Bienes Special Collections and Rare Book Library

The Bienes Museum of the Modern Book, The Dianne and Michael Bienes Special Collections and Rare Book Library is a section of the Broward County Library Division, a service of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners. The Museum houses special collections totaling more than 15,000 items, including rare books, artifacts, manuscripts, and reference materials. The majority of the holdings are secured in a humidity and temperature-controlled storage area. The librarian on duty in the Reading Room provides reference services and retrieves materials for customers.

CHILDREN’S LITERATURE AND ARTIFACTS

Nyr Indictor Collection of Alphabet and Related Materials

The Nyr Indictor Collection of the Alphabet and Related Materials is a research-level resource of approximately 2,000 items that records in detail the worldwide development of the nineteenth- and twentieth-century alphabets.

Along with ABC books in languages as diverse as Arabic, Cherokee, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, American Sign Language, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Thai, Ukrainian, Yiddish, the collection also includes a wide variety of non-book formats ranging from toys and games, ceramics, clothing, and rubber stamps to flash cards, jigsaw puzzles, and wrapping paper.

Jean Trebbi ABC Collection

The Jean Trebbi ABC Collection features 300 alphabet books. The collection was shaped over a period of twenty years and includes first editions, signed and numbered copies, artists’ books, and other rare and out-of-print titles dating from the late nineteenth century to the present day.

Duane H. Siers Family Collection of Big Little Books

In 1986, Duane Siers donated his collection of 500 Big Little Books dating from 1932 to the 1970s. First published in the 1930s by Whitman Publishing Company, the 4 ½ inches high and 3 ¾ inches wide books contain black and white illustrations with color covers. They are based on comic strips, movies, radio shows, and children’s classics. Characters featured include Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon, Blondie, Dagwood, Little Orphan Annie, Mickey Mouse, Tom Mix, and Tarzan.

Bienes Museum Comic Books Collection

The Bienes Museum Comic Books Collection contains approximately 2400 vintage comic books dating from the 1950s to the 1980s, and includes titles such as The Amazing Spider-Man; Archie; Betty and Veronica; Daredevil; The Defenders; The Fantastic Four; The Incredible Hulk; Iron Man; Jughead; Marvel Tales; Marvel Team-Up; The Sub-Mariner; and Star Wars.

Collection of Books Illustrated by Leonard Everett Fisher

Leonard Everett Fisher is a well-known artist and author. He has illustrated more than 260 books for young readers since 1955. Fisher has been honored with such awards as the 1981 National Jewish Book Award for Children's Literature and the Christopher Medal for Illustration. The Bienes Museum has approximately 140 of his titles.

Collection of Vojtěch Kubašta works

In 2001, the Bienes Museum began collecting the works of Vojtěch Kubašta (1914-1992), the Czech paper engineer, children’s book illustrator, and graphic designer. The collection includes more than 315 advertisements, calendars, flat books, maps, models, pop-up books and greeting cards, portfolios, postcards, posters, prints, and stationery. These items can be viewed on Pop-ups and other Illustrated Books, Ephemera, and Graphic Designs of Czech Artist and Paper Engineer, Vojtěch Kubašta (1914-1992). The Bienes Museum has the largest public institutional collection of Kubašta’s works in the United States.

FLORIDIANA

Florida Artists’ Book Collection

A collection of books made as works of art by Florida artists. The Bienes Museum, with the Florida Center for the Book, established the annual Florida Artists’ Book Prize in 1997. The Bienes Museum permanently houses the winner of the annual competition.  

Florida Artists' Book Prize Exhibitions

2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002
2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997  

Floridiana (including archives and papers of Florida authors: Connie May Fowler, Olivia Goldsmith, Michael Shaara, and Charles Willeford)

The collection features rare books, periodicals, manuscripts, documents, and other material in which the author, subject, theme or setting are related to Florida or Broward County. Highlights include a 1792 copy of Bartram's Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, and titles by Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. The Bienes Museum also has the Kay Latona Florida Crime Mystery Collection (200 titles). The collection contains the archives of Connie May Fowler, Olivia Goldsmith, Michael Shaara, and Charles Willeford.

John D. MacDonald Collection

John D. MacDonald was a prolific writer of crime and suspense novels, many of them set in his adopted home of Florida. His best-known works include the popular and critically acclaimed Travis McGee series, and his novel The Executioners, which was adapted into the film Cape Fear. In 1972, MacDonald was named a grandmaster of the Mystery Writers of America and in 1980, he won the American Book Award. The Bienes Museum has a large selection of MacDonald fiction published in various editions and languages.

GENERAL AND FINE PRESSES

Dianne and Michael Bienes Art, Architecture and Fine Facsimiles Collection

The collection includes approximately 600 titles covering various subjects and time periods. Many titles are from distinguished foreign art publishers and/or are limited editions. Facsimiles such as The Book of Kells, The Great Domesday Book, La Biblia de Alba and The Très Riches Heures of Jean, Duke of Berry have also been donated by Dianne and Michael Bienes.

Deicke Collection of Books on Rare Tropical Fruits and Vegetables

In the 1980s, Lois L. Deicke presented a grant to Broward County Library to develop a collection on gardening, fruits and vegetables, and plants common to Florida and the tropics. The collection contains more than 150 titles by leading horticulturalists.

General Collection of Books

The collection is comprised of reference materials pertaining to book collecting, conservation and preservation of books, printing, typography, guides to book values, and related items. Also of interest are current periodicals such as Firsts and Biblio. The Bienes Museum also houses first editions of classic American authors including L. Frank Baum, William Faulkner, Eugene O'Neill, Edgar Allan Poe, Maurice Sendak, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, and Thomas Wolfe.

Paulette and Robert Greene Collection of Books about Books and Florida Fine Press Publications

The collection is primarily about book collecting and rare books and also contains retrospective and current Florida fine press publications such as King & Queen Press and Angel Alley Press. Included are issues of the periodical, Colophon: A Book Collectors' Quarterly, ranging in dates from 1930 to 1950.

Irving Weil Coin Collection

The collection consists of commemorative gold and silver coins, U.S. and foreign currency, gold and silver mint pieces, state seals, gold and silver plates, and other miscellaneous numismatics. Included in the collection are plates with renditions of works by Dali, Wyeth, and Rockwell.

WPA AND NEW DEAL LITERATURE

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

The CCC was created by an act of Congress in 1933 soon after the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The dual-purpose program provided work for unemployed youth and protected and conserved natural resources. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) collection has approximately 200 titles and includes books, pamphlets, posters, banners, clothing, memory books, newspapers and newsletters, certificates, games, matchbook covers, menus, patches, pillow cases, and postcards.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) commonly refers to the many agencies established by the Federal Government in the 1930s during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The collection contains books, pamphlets, and political tracts written about Roosevelt’s life, administration, and policies. 

Historical Records Survey

The Historical Records Survey was a project of the WPA in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s. Originally part of the Federal Writers' Project, it was devoted to surveying and indexing historically significant records in state, county and local archives. The official mission statement was the "discovery, preservation, and listing of basic materials for research in the history of the United States." The Bienes Museum has surveys from most states.

WPA Children’s Books (1935 – 1943)

The Bienes Museum has approximately 90 children’s books created for young Americans during the Roosevelt administration and published by the WPA Pennsylvania Writers’ Project, the WPA New York City New Reading Materials Program, and the WPA Milwaukee Handicraft Project.

Jean Fitzgerald Collection of WPA Federal Writers’ Project Materials

Jean Fitzgerald, a retired United States Naval officer and a local library supporter, donated his important collection of WPA Federal Writers' Project materials to Broward County Library in 1986. Items include books, periodicals, pamphlets, and correspondence by writers, historians, poets, novelists, and artists who worked on WPA projects between 1935 and 1942. The Bienes Museum now has approximately 2,000 titles. The collection is generally considered to be the largest and most comprehensive in the United States.

WPA Florida Publications

The collection includes 114 publications, artifacts, and art works by various Florida Writers' Projects, Florida New Deal and WPA agencies.

WPA Handicraft Projects

The WPA Handicraft Projects came into being in the1930s to help put unemployed Americans to work. The crafts were designed and made with inexpensive or surplus materials and were sold and distributed to tax-supported institutions. The collection features artifacts from Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Des Moines, Iowa; Iron Mountain, Michigan; Orlando, Florida; Tennessee; and Vermont. It includes examples of block-printed textiles, books, bookbinding, bookmarks, children’s furniture, clothing, crewel embroidery, doll clothing, educational toys, portfolios and wooden signs.

WPA Museum Extension Project (MEP)

The Museum Extension Project, 1935-1943was a section of the WPA's Women's and Professional Division. The MEP had two purposes: to produce visual aids to support teaching in tax-supported schools, libraries and museums; and to help museums organize collections and exhibitions. Jean Fitzgerald was the catalyst behind the Bienes Museum’s 1998 acquisition of its first Museum Extension Project artifacts. The current collection contains more than 750 texts and objects, and includes hand puppets and marionettes, architectural and industrial models, costume plates, lantern slides, play scripts, posters, broadsides, toys, dioramas, puzzles, mannequins, and food displays. It is the only collection of its kind in existence.