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Graphic Arts Collection

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
Graphic Arts Librarian

The Graphic Arts Collection began in 1940, when Elmer Adler brought his collection of 8,000 books and 4,000 prints to Princeton for an experiment in the study and teaching of graphic arts. Today the collection holds closer to 60,000 prints, drawings, photographs, paintings, sculpture, and printed ephemera along with an international book collection specializing in fine press, artists’ books, and illustrated editions. [More] Research collections support the study of paper and papermaking, printing, printmaking, typography, and book design. A world-class reference collection holds over 600 volumes on all aspects of printing and print making. 

Regarding fine art appraisals, see this list.

Collection Strengths

  • Thanks to alumni donations, we hold comprehensive collections of prints, drawings, and illustrated editions by William Hogarth, Thomas Rowlandson, James Gillray, George Cruikshank, Honoré Daumier, Thomas Nast, Whitney Darrow Jr., Henry Martin, and many others from the 18th century to the present

  • The Graphic Arts division houses the Laurence Hutton Death Mask Collection.  Each of the death masks can be viewed online in the digital collection.  

  • For an online checklist of optical devices housed in Graphic Arts, see Optical Devices on Display, Department of Special Collections, 2012. A number of the Opitical Devices are on display on C floor.

  • Vintage photographs by Carl Van Vechten, Alexander Gardner, and Edward Steichen were given by these artists specifically to the graphic arts collection.  

  • Charles Rahn Fry Pochoir Collection holds nearly 200 books, magazines, portfolios, and individual examples of pochoir (stencil) coloring, primarily from Paris in the early 20th century Paris.

  • An extensive collection of 19th century American birds-eye-views was given by Leonard L. Milberg, Class of 1953. Elmer Adler’s collection specializing in portraits of artists and writers now numbers over 6,000.

  • Of special interest are the Sinclair Hamilton Collection of American Illustrated Books, which includes over 2,600 books and broadsides with woodcuts or wood engravings from 1670 to 1870; a nearly complete set of books designed and printed by John Baskerville; 2,000 volumes illustrated with origin

  • Over 4,000 oil, watercolor, pastel, and pen & ink paintings and drawings have been acquired including important work by Arthur Dove, Thomas Rowlandson, William Blake, and Junius Stearns. Comprehensive collections of F.O.C.