Guide to the Research Collections
PRINTS DIVISION AND GENERAL PRINTS RESOURCES
The purpose of the Prints Division, determined at the time of its establishment in 1900 with the donation of the S.P. Avery collection, is to acquire representative examples of original prints and to provide books and other materials useful to the study of prints. The print collection ranges from the fifteenth century to the present, and includes some 150,000 prints and 12,000 books and pamphlets. It is open to the public upon presentation of an admission card obtained from the Research Libraries Administrative Office.
Prints are arranged by print maker within his nationality and period. Notable exceptions to this arrangement are found in the special subject collections, such as the I.N. Phelps Stokes collection of Americana, the Eno New York views, the South Sea Bubble caricatures, peep show prints, American political caricatures, and bookplates. There are also many original drawings in the collection. The division has developed a number of indexes which are of use in answering questions related to its well-rounded and representative collection of fine prints.
The collection of reference materials in the division is extensive. It consists of three parts:
A comprehensive group of reference books consisting of historical and technical works on printmaking, biographies of printmakers and catalogs of their work, bibliographies of prints, and the like. Periodicals devoted exclusively to prints and printmaking are also available.
A selective group of illustrated books containing original graphic work.
A large collection of clippings and ephemeral material relating to individual artists. Reproductions of the works of such artists as Nast and Keppler have been bound in scrapbooks, and frequently provide information not found in published works.
There is, in addition, a small collection of print-maker's tools (original metal plates, lithographic stones, wood blocks, etc.), and a collection of mounted original bookplates arranged by name of owner or designer.