Die menschliche sterblichkeit, unter dem titel Todten-tanz, in 61 original-kupfern (1759)
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Since the 1940’s the University Library has amassed a collection of over 600 emblem books written from 1540-1800, published in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and England. No other American library has such extensive holdings. Emblem books can possibly be looked upon as the multi-media publications of the 17th and 18th centuries. Each emblem is composed of three constitutive elements - a motto, an illustration or “pictura” in the form of a woodcut or engraving, and an explanatory poem or "subscriptio." An emblem is more than the sum of its parts, because the interplay between text and image produces a greater meaning than any of the individual components can provide. In 1998 the University Library began collaborating with Professor Mara Wade of the German Department to provide enhanced access to the German emblem books through digitization. The initial digitization efforts were funded by the UIUC Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. Die menschliche sterblichkeit, unter dem titel Todten-tanz, in 61 original-kupfern (1759) is the first emblem book to be digitized at the UIUC Open Content Alliance scanning center. Visit the German Emblem Book Project website.