Mission & Programs

Mission & Programs

Founded in 1884, the Grolier Club is America’s oldest and largest society for bibliophiles and enthusiasts in the graphic arts. Named for Jean Grolier (1489 or 90-1565), the Renaissance collector renowned for sharing his library with friends, the Club’s objective is to promote “the study, collecting, and appreciation of books and works on paper.” Through the concerted efforts of an international network of over eight hundred men and women—book and print collectors, antiquarian bookdealers, librarians, designers, fine printers, binders and other artisans--the Grolier Club pursues this mission through its library, its public exhibitions and lectures, and its long and distinguished series of publications.

Exhibitions

The Grolier Club was one of the first organizations in America to treat books and prints as objects worthy of display, and since 1884 the Club has mounted more than nine hundred exhibitions on topics ranging from Blake to Kipling, from chess to murder mysteries, from Japanese prints to Art Nouveau posters. There are nine exhibitions a year, most of them organized by the Club’s bibliophile membership: four in the Club’s new state-of-the-art gallery on the ground floor, and five in the second floor gallery, all open to the public free of charge, Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm.

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Lectures & Symposia

Each year the Grolier Club hosts a number of public events on the history of the book, the book and graphic arts, the book trade, and the serious pleasures of collecting. Free “Club Meeting” lectures are offered four times a year in connection with exhibitions in the main gallery, and full- and half-day conferences and panels—free, or at a modest charge—are often held on the themes of these exhibitions. The Club also partners with peer research libraries and other bookish organizations, such as the Bibliographical Society of America, the American Printing History Association, Rare Book School, and the American trust for the British Library, to present topics of interest to the book-loving public. The majority of these gatherings are videotaped and archived on the Grolier Club page of the Vimeo website, www.vimeo.com.

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Publications

Since its founding the Grolier Club has published nearly five hundred scholarly books and exhibition catalogues—some of them now the standard references in their fields—on such subjects as photography, William Blake, Mayan writing, Albrecht Dürer’s alphabet book, and the well-known “Grolier Hundred” selections in literature, science, medicine, and children’s books. Many of the publications have been printed and designed by the leading book artists and typographers of the past and present, including Theodore Low De Vinne, D. B. Updike, Bruce Rogers, Stanley Morison, Joseph Blumenthal, the Mardersteigs, and Jerry Kelly. Visitors to the Grolier Club may purchase books on site, or they may be ordered through Oak Knoll Books, exclusive distributors of Grolier Club publications. Certain Grolier Club titles published jointly with other organizations, or published by others to accompany Grolier Club events, are available directly from the Club.

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Library

The Grolier Club has fostered interest in the book arts for over one hundred and thirty-five years in a most important sense through the development of a world-renowned research Library devoted to the arts of the book. From its modest beginnings as a cooperative reference collection for Club members, the Library has grown to over one hundred and fifty thousand items--manuscripts, incunabula, examples of fine printing and binding, book catalogues of all types--and today welcomes any qualified researcher needing to explore its rich holdings in all areas of printing and related book arts, bibliophily, and the book trade.

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