Statement of Purpose: The Library of The Grolier Club, which includes the Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Collection [hereafter, “the Library”], is a research collection established to serve the primary mission of the Club, which is “to foster the study, collecting, and appreciation of books and works on paper, their art, history, production, and commerce.” The role of the Library is to collect, preserve, and make available for research materials relating to this mission.
Introduction: The Grolier Club Library was founded in 1884 as a reference library for the Club's bibliophile membership. Early in the Club’s history, library acquisitions tended to emphasize books and prints illustrating the book arts. However, in the early 1920s, the Library’s holdings in the literature of collecting and the book trade, including book catalogues of all types—printed and manuscript inventories of private libraries, catalogues of antiquarian booksellers, and book auction sales—began to emerge as a central focus. Now, after several decades of concentrated collecting in these areas, the Grolier Club Library’s holdings of book catalogues are among the most comprehensive in the country; and these, along with the papers of important bibliophiles, bibliographers, and antiquarian book dealers, have long been recognized as an important and often unique resource for Library patrons.
While the Library continues to collect in nearly all other areas relating to the art and history of the book and graphic arts, it recognizes that the explosion of reference material in these disciplines, particularly in the last few decades, has made comprehensiveness prohibitive. Indeed, much of its reference collection of books about books may be duplicated or surpassed by major public and academic libraries in the region. Nevertheless, the Library’s accessibility, manageable scale, and narrow focus—in addition to its unique emphasis on the literature of collecting and the book trade—endow it with several distinct advantages over larger, more generalized collections.