Pamela Olson – Circular Logic


© 2014
edition of 35
dimensions in inches: 6 × 5 × .5


About this piece:

This edition is based on a series of nineteenth-century circulars housed in the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad archive at the Newberry Library. Railroad managers routinely received circulars listing terminated employees and the reasons for their dismissal. The text for this book is taken directly from these lists, with the exception of employee names, which have been altered. A worker’s name is printed on the verso of each spread, with his job title on the recto, which folds out to reveal a silhouette representing him, alongside the reason for his dismissal. The cover depicts a CB&Q route map printed from polymer plates. The interior images are printed from metal ornaments and polymer plates created from handcut rubylith negatives, and the text is printed from Bulmer and Antique Condensed typefaces. Each book is bound in a paper case and housed in a three-flap portfolio.
The design, color, and type for this edition was inspired by the typography and aesthetics of late nineteenth-century ephemera and photographic portrait booklets.
The CB&Q route map is printed from a photo courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago. Support for this project was provided by a College Book Art Association Project Assistance Grant and a University of Iowa Center for the Book Alumni Residency.


paper, linen thread, bookcloth, bookboard, cardstock

Artist bio:

Pamela Olson is based in Chicago, IL and holds an MFA in Book Arts from the University of Iowa. She has been making artist’s books for over ten years, and her work is housed in the collections of the Newberry Library, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the University of Florida, among others.

About Alicia Bailey


Pamela Olson – Circular Logic

by Alicia Bailey time to read: 1 min