Broward County Library's Bienes Center for the Literary Arts is honored to present: Pop-Up, Peek, Push, Pull... : An Exhibition of Movable Books and Ephemera from the Collection of Geraldine Roberts Lebowitz of Boca Raton, Florida.
Geraldine Roberts Lebowitz is an authentic renaissance woman. She was born in Maine, raised in Connecticut, and later attended New York University where she received an undergraduate degree in health sciences. After college, she married, had two children, and lived in Riverdale, New York and Baltimore, Maryland where she was a volunteer in various arts organization, including Center Stage, the opera, and the ballet. She was a charter member of the Jewish Community Center Associates of Baltimore and occasionally taught painting in its classrooms. She was an avid sportswoman who enjoyed swimming, high diving, and an ice skating and who currently plays tennis, golf, and pétanque. She is both a Francophile and a Francophone and frequently travels to Europe where she inevitably finds time to peruse out-of-the-way book shops for undiscovered movable gems to add to her collection [see exhibit #28 and #32]. She moved to Boca Raton, Florida about 10 years ago after the sudden death of her husband.
Mrs. Lebowitz is a long-time member of the Movable Book Society and the Fontaneda Society: the Book Collector's Club of South Florida. Frequently held in the Bienes Center for the Literary Arts, the Fontaneda Society's meetings provide a venue in which Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach County bibliophiles gather and discuss collecting interests and to learn about other aspects of the South Florida library, publishing, and book arts communities. "Show-and-tell" is one of the Society's most popular program topics and over the years Mrs. Lebowitz has astonished and regaled her colleagues by presenting an occasional title from her collection of movable treasures.
Mrs. Lebowitz is, of course, an avid reader who fondly remembers from her childhood a fascination with pop-up books that continues to the present day. She is an inveterate traveler and seeks out pop-up titles and other books in France, Nepal, Mexico, Goa, South Africa or where ever else her travels take her. Over the past 10 years, her collection has grown to over 700 titles, 96 of which are showcased in the exhibition. The earliest title on display, Les animaux domestique [exhibit #32], was published in France around 1901. It contains 4 fascicles of common barnyard animals with colored plates that lift and reveal the animals' inner structures. The most recent title, Brooklyn pops up [exhibit #7], was published in the United States in the year 2000 to celebrate an exhibition of pop-up books co-sponsored by the Brooklyn Public Library and the Movable Book Society.
The presentation of the exhibition in the Bienes Center and the compilation of the accompanying catalog are due to the contributions of many individuals. Special thanks to Ann Montanaro of the Movable Book Society, for so graciously allowing the Bienes Center to reprint her article on the history of pop-up and movable books; to Kay Harvey of the Broward Public Library Foundation, Inc., for agreeing to partially fund the cost of publishing the exhibit catalog; to Samuel F. Morrison, director of Broward County Libraries, and Harriet Buchbinder, director of BCL's Main Library, for their encouragement and support in the initial stages of organizing the exhibition; to Roger Culbertson, paper engineer and owner of Designimation, Inc., of Palm Beach, Florida, for contributing the design fee associated with the creation of an actual pop-up that appears in the printed catalog; to Jean Trebbi, director of the Florida Center for the Book, for bringing the NYC award-winning paper engineer, Robert Sabuda, to Ft. Lauderdale to speak at the exhibit opening; to Ellen G. K. Rubin, pop-up collector and author, for her sound and practical advice; and lastly, profound admiration and gratitude to Geraldine Roberts Lebowitz, a remarkably knowledgeable collector who deserves much praise for the content and organization of the exhibition and for permitting the Bienes Center for the Literary Arts to showcase in its galleries a small portion of her beloved pop-up book collection.
James A. Findlay, Librarian