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Norma B. Rubovits papers

Identifier: Wing-Modern-MS-Rubo

Scope and Content of the Collection

Professional files and decorated, especially marbled papers assembled by Chicago paper artist Norma B. Rubovits.

The personal files include correspondence, exhibit announcements, supply catalogues, articles on marbling techniques and history, articles and leaflets on paper making and bookbinding, newspaper and magazine clippings. Specimen papers include many marbled by Ms. Rubovits, including her marbled vignettes; marbled collectibles, including cards and decorated fabrics; printed, paste and other decorative papers; traditional and contemporary Turkish marbled papers; and marbled papers by other artists with whom she corresponded and exchanged papers. Of particular interest are her correspondences with fellow binders and marblers Gérard Charrière, Phoebe Easton, Don Guyot, Christopher Weimann and Vi Wilson.


  • Creation: 1800s-2009
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1964 - 2009



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Norma B. Rubovits Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Norma B. Rubovits Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Norma B. Rubovits

Paper marbling and book artist.

Norma B. Rubovits (b. August 26, 1918 in Tulsa, Oklahoma) began experimenting with paper marbling in the mid-1960s while she and her husband Frank were studying bookbinding with Chicago binder Elizabeth Kner. Largely self-taught in an era when marbling manuals were scarce, Ms. Rubovits developed a network of book artists with whom she exchanged ideas, information, and marbled papers. Among her correspondents were traditional Turkish marblers Mustafa Düzgünman and Nurhan Becidyan; Richard Wolfe, Christopher Weimann and Don Guyot; Henry Morris of the Bird & Bull Press, and bookbinders Kerstin Tini Miura and Bill Anthony as well as other artisans, historians, and booksellers from around the world. Ms. Rubovits was less interested in “edition marbling” (producing papers with identical patterns) than in exploring the possibilities of marbling as an art form. She modified traditional marbling patterns and techniques to create what she first referred to as “doodles” and later named marbled monoprints or marbled vignettes. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, she considered herself an amateur who marbled by choice and was selective about the kind of marbled papers she made. Individual book artists sought her work for their collections and for special bindings of the kind created by Gérard Charrière and Bill Minter. She gave or sold her marbled papers to the Newberry Library for special projects, and small binderies bought them for everything from the miniature books of the Ward Schori Press to the limited edition bindings of Sam Ellenport’s Harcourt Bindery. Her marbled papers were first exhibited in 1969 at the Chicago Public Library as endpapers in books bound by her and her husband. Her work has since appeared in exhibits by the Guild of Book Workers (1971, 1981, 1986), the Niles Public Library and Anshe Emet Synagogue in the Chicago area (1972), the Doheny Library of the University of South California (1978), the Old Market Craftsmen Guild in Omaha, Nebraska (1980), and the Art Institute of Chicago (1987). The University of Alabama exhibited specimens of her work in 1988 and mounted a one-man show featuring her marbled vignettes in 1990.

Norma Rubovits died on March 16, 2016.


88 Linear Feet (28 boxes and 51 oversize boxes)


Professional files and decorated, especially marbled papers assembled by Chicago paper artist Norma B. Rubovits. The specimen papers include about 1200 marbled by Ms. Rubovits herself and about as many marbled sheets that she acquired by exchange from other artists. Also here, many antique marbled endpapers salvaged from bindery waste.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Biographical, 1966-2001
Boxes 1-2
Series 2: Correspondence, 1969-2009
Boxes 3-8
Series 3: Subjects, 1854-1996
Boxes 9-14
Series 4: Papers marbled by Norma B. Rubovits, 1964-1992
Series 5: Turkish marbled papers, unprocessed
Series 6: Marbled papers by other artists, unprocessed
Series 7: Marbled collectibles, unprocessed
Series 8: Other decorated papers (printed, paste, etc.), unprocessed

Collection Stack Location

4 22 11-14; Artifact Cage


Gift of Norma B. Rubovits, 1991-2011; some specimen papers donated by other collectors and paper artists in honor of Ms. Rubovits.

Related Material

Between 1991 and 2010, Norma Rubovits donated over 200 volumes on book binding, marbled and decorated paper, and other book arts, including some forty specimens of her own book bindings. These books are cataloged in the Wing collection and traced under her name. In 1992, Dawson’s Book Shop (Los Angeles) produced a limited edition portfolio of marbled vignettes by Norma Rubovits with an interview with Norma on technique; there is a copy in the Wing collection.

Processed by

Rob Carlson, 2010; Andrew Peters and Cynthia Peters, 2011.

Inventory of the Norma B. Rubovits papers, 1800s-2009, bulk 1964-2009
Unverified Partial Draft
Rob Carlson, Andrew and Cynthia Peters
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States