On Wednesday, December 4, 1996, approximately 150 people helped Broward County Library and the Broward Public Library Foundation celebrate the formal opening of the Bienes Center for the Literary Arts, The Dianne and Michael Bienes Special Collections and Rare Book Library.

The 8,000 square foot facility on the 6th floor of Broward County's Main Library was funded by a $500,000 grant written and obtained from the State of Florida by the Florida Center for the Book, and $1 million private gift to the Broward Public Library Foundation from Dianne and Michael Bienes.

Speakers at the 5:00-7:30 p.m. opening ceremonies included Samuel F. Morrison, Director of BCL; Sandra Mortham, Florida Secretary of State; Scott Cowan, Broward County Commissioner; Joyce Gardner, Head of the Broward Public Library Foundation's Rare Book Committee; and the philanthropists, Dianne and Michael Bienes.

As part of the inaugural festivities, the first program sponsored by the Bienes Center and held on December 11, 1996, featured U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass. The event, arranged by the Florida Center for the Book, took place in the Main Library's first floor auditorium and was attended by approximately 200 poetry and booklovers. Mr. Hass read a selection of his poetry, talked about his nation-wide literacy campaign, and signed copies of his books for the appreciative audience.

Additionally, an exhibition entitled Ars Libri: Selections from the Dianne & Michael Bienes Book Donation, December 4, 1996 - January 13, 1997, was held to commemorate the Center's official opening. The eight-page printed exhibit checklist highlighted 42 titles from the Bienes' gift of 647 volumes on art and architecture, including facsimiles of the Book of Kells,Great Domesday, and The Très riches heures of Jean, Duke of Berry.

The Bienes Center gratefully acknowledges Jean Trebbi of the Florida Center for the Book, Kay Harvey and the staff of the Broward Public Library Foundation, and the Foundation's Rare Book Committee, chaired by Joyce Gardner, for the extraordinary effort and dedication they expended in making the Bienes Center for the Literary Arts become a reality.

Michael and Dianne Bienes
join Joyce Gardner,
Rare Book Room Committee Chair, and
Samuel F. Morrison,
Broward County Library Director
at the opening of the
Bienes Center for the Literary Arts.


January 17 - February 17, 1997

Pictorial Covers: an Exhibition of American Book Jackets, 1920-1950, [16] page exhibition catalog.

Steven Heller, of the New York Times and author of "Jackets Required," gave a slide presentation and lecture on January 17th, 1997, on the history of a selected group of 20th American book jacket designers.

February 21-March 31, 1997

Modern Rare Books: an Exhibition of Selections from the Mata and Arthur Jaffe Collection, [16] page exhibition catalog.

Arthur Jaffe gave a "gallery talk" about the items on display at the opening on February 26, 1997.

March 12, 1997

At a program entitled Collectors and Their Collections, Mitchell Wolfson, Jr., book collector and founder of The Wolfsonian [Museum] in Miami Beach, and Michele Oka Doner, Miami Beach/New York City artist and book collector, talked about their printed treasures, their philosophies of collecting, and their jointly-authored forthcoming book about Miami Beach in the 40s, 50s, and 60s.

April 3-July 5, 1997

ZYX: an Exhibition of Selected ABC Books from the Jean Trebbi Collection, 28 page exhibition catalog.

At the opening on April 3, 1997, Jean Trebbi gave a slide presentation and "gallery talk" concerning the 66 items on display from her personal collection.

July 14-September 19, 1997

Bound to Please: an Exhibition of Fine Leather Bindings from The University of Miami Library. A loan exhibition from the University of Miami Library's Archives and Special Collections Department. 24 page catalog, accompanied by a two-page addenda entitled: Bound to Please: a Supplemental Exhibition of Fine Leather Bindings from the Bienes Center for the Literary Arts Collections.

An opening reception and lecture was presented by two of the curators of the exhibition, William E. Brown, Jr., Head, Archives & Special Collections, University of Miami, and Pedro Figueredo, Assistant Librarian, The Wolfsonian, and was held on July 14, 1997.

September 26-December 5, 1997

The Rivers of America: a Selected Exhibition of Books from the Collection of Carol Fitzgerald. 37 page exhibition catalog.

Approximately 75 people attended the opening wine and cheese reception and lecture by Carol Fitzgerald on October 9, 1997.


In its seventh year, the Fontaneda Society began the new 1997-98 season with a name enhancement: it added Book Collectors of South Florida to its name and designed a new brochure to attract new members. President Linda Rollins and the Board of Directors have prepared an excellent program for the year that will include a tour of the Kislak Gallery in Miami Lakes as well as a tour of the Richard and Gillian Davis Collection of Russian Sheet Music at the Wimberly Library at FAU.

As a support group for the Bienes Center, the Fontaneda Society will join forces with the Center by sponsoring the receptions held in the Center as well as the Booksellers Reception at the Antiquarian Book Fair. A joint program/exhibit will be held in March when shell books and shells from the collections of Wayne Harland and Earl Chesler will be on exhibit.

The Fontaneda Society also voted to further support the Bienes Center by purchasing a book each year for the collection. The Book Selection Committee will be chaired by Arthur Jaffe. Suggestion from members are most welcome.

For information about the Fontaneda Society or to receive a brochure call 954-357-8243.

Since January of 1997, the Bienes Center has had a presence on the Internet and contains photos of the various rooms of the Center, brief descriptions of important collections, information on the Florida Artists' Book Prize, the Ninth Annual Ft. Lauderdale Antiquarian Book Fair, published newspaper articles about the Bienes Center, and all of the exhibitions the Center has so far curated and mounted.


Gifts of book and special collections have been received from the following individuals and institutions:

Gordon Beekhorn (Books)

Barry Biberman (Books)

Dianne & Michael Bienes (Books)

Broward Public Library Foundation (Books)

James Burke (Manuscripts)

Mr. & Mrs. Matthew Carone (Books)

Helen Chadwick (Books)

Robert H. Chapman (Books)

Earl Chesler (Books)

Barbara Cooper (Books)

Olivia DeJane (Sheet Music)

Mike Ellis (Books)

Mr. & Mrs. Harold Finch (Books)

Jean & Carol Fitzgerald (WPA Collection & other books)

Florida Atlantic University Library (Watercolor painting)

Florida Center for the Book (Books)

Connie May Fowler (Manuscripts & correspondence)

Sue & Tashin Gencsoy (Books)

Olivia Goldsmith (Manuscripts & correspondence)

Paulette & Robert Greene (Books)

Stetson Kennedy (Books)

Carole Kismaric (Books)

Virginia K. Levy (Books)

Yolanda Maurer (Books)

Justin & Troy Moss (Books)

Marc Selvaggio (Books)

Mary Somerville (Books)

Jean Trebbi (Books & map)

Edward Villella (Manuscript)

The Writer's Center (Books)


Other gifts have been received from the following individuals and institutions:

The Albert E. and Birdie W. Einstein Foundation ($50,000 for conference room furniture)

Broward Public Library Foundation ($30,000 for Bienes Center inaugural year programs and exhibitions)

Dianne & Michael Bienes ($15,000 for East Ceremonial Room Exhibition Case in honor of Samantha Danielle Dydo)

Gabriele Magdanz ($15,000 for West Ceremonial Room Exhibition Case in memory of James F. Magdanz)

Miles, Holly and Ralph Dearden (Landscaping and renovation of the Bienes Center's North Terrace in loving memory of Mike and Vi Dearden by their children Miles, Holly & Ralph)

Suheyla Gencsoy, President of T.A.B.E.C.; The Honorable Lale Aytaman, Member of Parliment, Mugla, Turkey; The Honorable Ismet Karading, Mayor of Marmaris, Turkey (Turkish Carpet)

$5,000 general support
Citibank, (Florida) N.A.
Helen Ann and Richard Ingham

$2,500 general support
Arthur Loeb
Saks Fifth Avenue

$1,000 general support
Barbara and Henry Cooper
Jean and Carol Fitzgerald
Fontaneda Society
Yolanda and Bill Maurer
Mary and Fred Ruffner

$750 general support
Arthur Jaffe

In kind support
Donald Singer


Dec. 11, 1997-January 11, 1998

Duane Hanson: an Exhibition of Sculpture, Tools and Accessories, Printed Materials, Models, and Memorabilia from the Collection of Mrs. Duane (Wesla) Hanson, organized in cooperation with the Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale. Catalog to be published. [14] page catalog.

The opening reception and lecture are to be held on December 11, 1997. Laurence Pamer, Curator of Exhibitions, Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale, will be the featured speaker.

January 16-17, 1998

Ft. Lauderdale Antiquarian Book Fair, 1st floor of the Main Library. Sponsored by the Bienes Center, The Florida Center for the Book, and The Fontaneda Society.

January 16-February 9, 1998

Wendell Minor: Art for the Written Word. Checklist to be printed.

Opening reception and lecture on January 16, 1998, by Wendell Minor, in conjunction with the first day of the Ft. Lauderdale Antiquarian Book Fair.

February 12-March 15, 1998

Florida Artists' Book Prize Exhibition and Award Ceremony. Checklist to be printed. Catalog to be published.

Opening reception and Award Ceremony, February 12, 1998.

March 19-May 29, 1998

Shell Books and Shells: An Exhibition from the Collections of Wayne Harland and Earl Chesler.

Opening reception and gallery talk, March 19, 1998, by Wayne Harland and Earl Chesler.

June 5-Sept. 25, 1998 (tentative)

The Literature of the WPA: an Exhibition.


In July 1996, Paulette & Robert Greene, longtime Fontaneda Society members, announced their plan to develop a collection of books-about-books in honor of their membership in the Fontaneda Society: Book Collectors of South Florida. The collection will reside in the Bienes Center.

Since books-about-books is such a broad subject, the Greene's gift will focus mainly on the book collecting aspect of the field. As the collection continues to grow they hope it will encourage others to begin collecting and to become interested in the book arts. Indeed, reading the pages of the Colophon is one such way a beginning or seasoned collector can learn more about the art of creating books. Colophon: a Book Collector's Quarterly was published in various formats throughout the 1930s and 40s. Consistently handsome in design and sophisticated in content, it was formed of individual signatures from various fine presses bound into a hardback volume with original articles by the leading creative writers, critics, and reviewers of the era. Each issue was lavishly illustrated and usually included one original commissioned graphic work.

To date over one hundred titles on collectors and collecting have been donated by the Greenes and are available for public use in the Bienes Center's reading room. All the titles will be reference materials and will not circulate.


Broward County Library's Bienes Center for the Literary Arts and the Florida Center for the Book are pleased to announce the sponsorship of a new annual Florida Artists' Book Prize.

The first annual prize of $2,000 will be awarded for a work created in 1997. An exhibition of a selection of the entries and an award ceremony will be held in Fort Lauderdale at the Bienes Center from February 12-March 15, 1998.

Criteria for entry include: limited edition, and not a trade edition or one-of-a-kind; primary residence of the artist must be the State of Florida; title must be created in 1997; one copy must be submitted that becomes the property of the Bienes Center.


The 9th Annual Fort Lauderdale Antiquarian Book Fair will be held January 16-17, 1998 on the First Floor of the Broward County Main Library and features book sellers from across Florida and the U.S. One of the highlights of the book fair will be the programs presented by the sellers on all aspects of collecting. These will include Mike Slicker of Lighthouse Books in St. Petersburg "Is There Gold in Your Attic," Sheldon Kurland of Barrister Books in Davie "The Beginning Collector," Robert Hittel, Bookseller of Fort Lauderdale "Beginner's Guide to Evaluating Your Books" and Steve Eisenstein of A-Book-A-Brac-Shop in Miami Beach "How to Identify Rare Books and First Editions." There will also be continuous Book Arts Demonstrations on Saturday, January 17, 1998, by local book artists. Organized by Fontaneda President Linda Rollins of Capella Book Arts in Fort Lauderdale, the program will include bookbinding, papermaking, paper repair, and calligraphy demonstrations.

A wine and cheese reception and opening of the exhibition, Wendell Minor: Art for the Written Word, Jan. 16-Feb. 9, 1998, will be held at 5:00 pm in the Bienes Center on the Sixth Floor. Mr. Minor will speak at a program beginning at 5:30 pm. The Bookseller Reception sponsored by the Fontaneda Society will take place on the First Floor of BCL directly following the Bienes Center's opening.

Admission, programs, demonstrations, and the reception are free to all. Profits from the Antiquarian Book Fair are used to acquire rare books and special materials for the Bienes Center's collections. For more information about the Fort Lauderdale Antiquarian Book Fair call 954-357-8243.


Book donor, volunteer, and past president of the Fontaneda So-ciety, Earl Chesler has been a true and loyal friend to Broward County Library and the Bienes Center. Earl has donated hundreds of books over the years including Limited Editions Club rarities, a 1646 edition of Seneca, and Floridiana, as well as many other rare and finely bound editions.

When Earl retired in 1992 as a Real Estate Appraiser, he began volunteering at Broward County's Main Library helping with the Friends of the Library Book Sales. Earl worked four or more hours each day sorting, pricing, and stocking the Book Sale shelves with donations. He currently helps staff the Bienes Center's Reading Room desk, assists with cataloging, and performs many other miscellaneous duties. The Bienes Center has been fortunate to have Earl's services as a volunteer on a full-time basis since 1994.

Earl's year as President of the Fontaneda Society: Book Collectors of South Florida (1996-97) was highlighted by programs presented by knowledgeable world class collectors of Civil War books, Charles Dickens, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Voltaire. It was also the first year that the Fontaneda Society became actively involved in the Antiquarian Book Fair by sponsoring a reception for the booksellers and providing booth sitters to give the sellers a break for meals.

In Spring, 1998, Earl will be teaming up with Wayne Harland as they both loan shell books and shells for an exhibition in the Bienes Center. The exhibit will open on March 19, 1998 with an illustrated talk and reception by Earl and Wayne.

The Bienes Center is very grateful to Earl for his continued support and hard work.


Jim Findlay, Librarian, and Peggy Bing, Cataloger/Curator, have written an illustrated nineteen-page article entitled: Touring Florida through the Literature of the Federal Writers' Project. It will be published in January 1998 in the annual issue of The Wolfsonian's Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts. Bienes Center Benefactor Jean Fitzgerald donated the FWP collection to BCL in 1986.


Peggy Bing, Bienes Center cataloger/curator, recently compiled a 12 page printed bibliography entitled: Book Collecting: a Selected Bibliography, which is distributed by BCL and is available free of charge. It contains sections on: the book collector, book collecting guides, bookseller directories, price guides, selected reference sources, and miscellanea that are held in the BCL system.

Editio Princeps [Latin for First Edition] is issued two times annually. © 1997 Bienes Center for the Literary Arts · Broward County Main Library · 100 S. Andrews Avenue, 6th Floor · Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Back to Bienes Center home page.