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Volvelle collection

 Collection
Call Number: ART 1

Scope and Contents

Jessica Helfand, a graduate of the Yale School of Art Graphic Design Program (MFA ‘89) and a respected critic of visual culture, collected hundreds of examples of the volvelle format. In December of 2004, Helfand donated the collection to the Arts Library. Volvelles, or graphic wheels, are “various reckoning devices consisting of movable discs surmounted by or carrying other graduated or figured circles for calculating, for example, phases of the moon, the time of the rising or setting sun, or the times of the tides.”1 They are efficient tools for collating a large amount of information into a compact delivery device, yet have also been used purely for novelty. Topics of the volvelles range from astronomy to pop culture and fashion. Several, such as language and geographic wheels, serve as educational tools; others have more technical and scientific applications. The volvelles are made of a variety of materials including many forms of paper and card stock, plastic, metal, and leather. Helfand’s book, Reinventing the Wheel, which was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2002, served as the catalogue for an exhibition of the same title at The Grolier Club in New York City in the spring of 2004. The volume contains many of the volvelles that are a part of this collection, although some titles vary from those listed in this finding aid. Ms. Helfand also gave a number of books containing volvelles to the Library. The books are catalogued individually in Orbis, Yale’s online catalog, and can be found by conducting a Special Collections Subject search for “volvelle collection.” In addition to the volvelles, the collection contains one box of Helfand’s files relating to her book and to her Grolier Club exhibit.

1Art and Architecture Thesaurus. 2004. J. Paul Getty Trust. 1 August 2005. <http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/vocabularies/aat/>.

Dates

  • 1897-2012

Creator

Language

English

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has not been transferred to Yale University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Jessica Helfand, 2004.

Arrangement

The volvelles are arranged alphabetically by title within various size categories. Each volvelle title has a unique number; pamphlets, brochures, etc. that accompany volvelles are filed under the number of the respective volvelle. A box listing of Helfand’s files follows the listing of the volvelles.

Extent

7.92 Linear Feet (19 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/arts.art.0001

Overview

Jessica Helfand, a graduate of the Yale School of Art Graphic Design Program (MFA ‘89) and a respected critic of visual culture, collected hundreds of examples of the volvelle format. In December of 2004, Helfand donated the collection to the Arts Library.
Title
Guide to the Volvelle Collection
Author
Compiled by Susan Brady and Arts Library Staff
Date
July2005
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2010-01-26: Transformed with yale.addEadidUrl.xsl. Adds @url with handle for finding aid. Overwrites @url if already present.

Repository Details

Part of the Yale University Arts Library Repository

Contact:
Arts Library Special Collections
180 York Street
New Haven CT 06511
203-432-1712