High Falls, NY: Maureen Cummins, 2010. Hardcover. Artist's Proof. The edition included 30 copies. Signed by the artist and writer. A powerful work on the famed Salem witch trials that is the result of a decade’s long collaboration between the book artist, Maureen Cummins, and poet Nicole Cooley, based on their research at the American Antiquarian Society while resident artists. The book pairs Cooley’s cycle of poems, written specifically for this book, with images from a penmanship book of stern biblical commandments kept by a Salem boy, Josiah Peele, in 1808-09. The book seeks “to trace the psychic reverberations of the witch trials on subsequent generations” (artist’s statement). Each of Cooley’s thirteen poems is written from the voice and perspective of one of the participants in the trials. They represent the accusers and accused, survivors and condemned, focusing primarily, as the trials did, on the women. They are presented chronologically, beginning with the slave Tituba, the first accused, and ending with the girl Susannah Martin, who refused to confess to being a witch. Printed on Johannot paper with the endpapers done on a handmade Belgique sheet. The poems are printed offset with the titles in letterpress. The images are silkscreen printed. She states that the covers are like vintage writing slates such as Josiah Peele might have used. The book’s binding allows for multiple structures - that of a codex or concertina, or as a “theater in the round” that presents the chorus of voices within. Housed in a black linen box decorated with the marks of the accused, who were unable to sign their names. Maureen’s work is held in over one hundred permanent public collections internationally and has been included in exhibitions at the American Craft Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Rotunda Gallery (amongst others). She has received over a dozen grants and awards and has been an artist-in-residence at numerous venues, including the American Antiquarian Society and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Size: 7 x 8 inches. In fine condition. Unpaginated (45 pages). ARTB/092319. Fine.
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