Graphic Arts

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Julie Mellby, Graphic Arts Librarian

When Elmer Adler brought his personal collection of books and prints to 40 Mercer Street in 1940, what began as a limited experiment was swiftly proclaimed the nerve center of campus activity. Twelve years later the collection moved to Firestone Library and was permanently incorporated into Rare Books and Special Collections, where it continues to thrive and grow.

The graphic arts intersect with many disciplines and the boundaries of Princeton University Library’s Graphic Arts collection are widespread, touching many periods and genres. Acquisitions are often made thanks to the support of friends and colleagues, both on and off campus, and the few treasures highlighted in Welcome Additions emphasize this.

Thanks to the Program for Latin American Studies, we were the first to acquire Antonio Martorell’s Las Antillas Letradas, which so beautifully adorns this book’s cover. Experts in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies helped to select and catalogue a rare group of illustrated Soviet sheet music; while it was a collaboration with alumni, students, and staff in political science who led the acquisition of Franklin McMahon’s painting, Signing of the Israeli/ Egyptian Peace Accord, The White House, September 17, 1978.

Special thanks go to the Friends of the Princeton University Library, who continue to support rare and wonderful acquisitions of graphic arts, most recently with the magnificent gouache-colored engravings by Giovanni Ottaviani after the Vatican frescoes designed by Raphael. Finally, it is together with the students of the future that we subscribed to The Future Library, receiving a certificate for 100 paper books to be printed in the year 2114. Long live the Graphic Arts Collection!

Graphic Arts Collection Highlights