ESMERIAN, RAPHAËL. Papers, 1891-1981 (bulk 1944-1973)
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Guide to the Raphaël Esmerian Papers

Title:
Raphaël Esmerian Papers, 1891-1981 (bulk 1944-1973)

OCLC No. (unique ID):
817719160

Dates:
1891-1981

Bulk Dates:
1944-1973

Extent:
6.77 linear ft. (4 boxes and 2 binders)

Abstract:
This collection comprises the papers of Raphaël Esmerian that relate to his personal library of rare books.

Access Restrictions:
Collection is open for research use. Copyright restrictions may apply; please contact The Grolier Club for requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce the materials.

Preferred Citation:
[Description and date of item (or folder title)], [Box/folder number], Raphaël Esmerian Papers, The Grolier Club of New York.

About the Finding Aid:
This finding aid was prepared by Rachel E. Greer in Microsoft Word at The Grolier Club, October 2012.

Provenance:
This collection was donated to The Grolier Club in 2011.

Access Points:

Names
Esmerian, Raphaël (1903-1976)

Subjects
Book Collecting—New York (State)—New York—20th century
Book Collecting—France—20th century
Booksellers and bookselling—New York (State)—New York—20th century
Booksellers and bookselling—France—20th century
Bookbinding—France—17th century
Bookbinding—United States—20th century—Exhibitions

Corporations
Pierre Bères (Firm)
Bibliothèque nationale de France
Pierpont Morgan Library
Galerie Creuzevault
Grolier Club
Grolier Club--Exhibitons

Titles
Bibliothèque Raphaël Esmerian

Genres
Letters
Clippings
Photographs
Negatives (photographic)
Notes

Language Note:
Material is in French and English.

Biographical Note: 
Raphaël Esmerian was a Frenchman of Armenian descent, born in 1903 in Paris. After two years at Cambridge, Esmerian returned to Paris to apprentice to his father’s lapidary business. He then moved on to gem dealing, which became his primary career. After a brief stint in the French Army in 1939, he and his wife fled occupied France in 1940 to Portugal, and eventually made their way to New York City in the fall of that year. [1]

Esmerian began collecting rare books at the age of 15, and by the 1950s had amassed what has been called the “single most important collection of French bookbindings in the United States.”[2] Esmerian’s collection was chief among those featured in a 1957 History of Bookbinding Exhibition at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore. Esmerian followed that exhibition with Bookbinding Styles During the Renaissance in France, from the Collection of Raphaël Esmerian, an exhibition held at The Grolier Club, where he was a member, in 1966. In 1972, Esmerian produced a five volume sale catalogue of his library, Bibliothèque Raphaël Esmerian, notable as a fine reference work on the books in his collection and included in the Library holdings of The Grolier Club. His collection was sold at auction using the catalogue he wrote in Paris over a decade in the 1970s. Raphaël Esmerian passed away in 1976. [3]

Scope and Content Note:
This collection contains material generated by Raphaël Esmerian’s activities as a rare book collector in New York City from the 1940s until his death in 1976. The types of material represented include: business correspondence between Esmerian and his agents and dealers in the United States and Europe, photographs and negatives representing Esmerian’s bindings, Esmerian’s collection of research files and clippings which include information both about occurrences in the book world and Esmerian himself. The collection also contains research notes and drafts related to several projects, most notably Esmerian’s five-volume sale catalogue, Bibliothèque Raphaël Esmerian, as well as a card file of handwritten entries about his fine French binding collection.

Arrangement Note: 
This collection arrived in two groupings of material, manuscript material and photographic material. The archivist used these groupings to create the following series designations:

·     Series I: Book Collection Files

·     Series II: Visual Material

·     Oversize Series I: Book Collection Files

·     Oversize Series II: Visual Material

For manuscript material, the archivist transcribed folder titles from the folders or envelopes that originally contained the material. Esmerian tended to organize his papers by project title or rare book dealer’s name. Folder titles devised by the archivist are noted in brackets. Estimated dates are also noted in brackets. Oversize series correspond in scope, content, and arrangement to the regular series; oversize items were placed in a separate but corresponding series due to size. For more information about each series, please see the scope and content and arrangement notes for each.

                                                         

Container List:

Series I: Book Collection Files

Scope and Content Note:

This series contains materials related to Esmerian’s rare book acquisitions, his general interests, and his production of exhibitions and catalogues. The types of material represented in this series include: clippings, correspondence, handwritten notes and drafts of: articles, exhibition cards, and the drafts and manuscripts of his work Bibliothèque Raphaël Esmerian. This series also includes a card file and two bound notebooks containing catalogue entries of his collection. Esmerian probably used much of this material as a basis for his exhibition Bookbinding Styles During the Renaissance in France, from the Collection of Raphaël Esmerian and his catalogue, the Bibliothèque Raphaël Esmerian. This series also contains materials related to Esmerian’s trade in rare books and manuscripts including correspondence, invoices, bills of sale, statements, and other material.

Arrangement Note:

This series is arranged alphabetically. Much of the material related to Esmerian’s trade in rare books is organized by firm or dealer name. Folder titles in brackets were created by the archivist in the absence of any identifying information.

Box #

Folder #

Folder Title

Date

1

1

Ader

1969

1

2

[Alphabetical Ledger of Book Collection]

Undated

1

2a

Antiquariato Librario Radaeli

1964

1

3

L’Art Ancien S.A.

1968

1

4

L’Artisan du Livre

1963

1

5

La Bastide Blance

Undated

1

6

Baltimore Exhibition, 1957

1957-1958

1

7

Pierre Berès

1959-1968

1

8

Bibliothèque Nationale

1957-1969

1

9

Librairie Auguste Blaizot

1961-1970

1

10

[Bookplates]

Undated

1

11

[Bound Book Register] (1 of 2)

Undated

1

12

[Bound Book Register] (2 of 2)

Undated

1

13

Cartier

[1959]

1

14

Catalogue

[1970s]

1

15

Catalogue XVII Siècle

[1970s]

1

16

Carlo Alberto Chiesa-Libri Antichi

1963

1

17

Pierre Chrétien-Livres Rares

1958-1959

1

18

[Clippings]

1973-1980

1

19

[Collecting Miscellany] (1 of 3)

[1960s]

1

20

[Collecting Miscellany] (2 of 3)

[1973]

1

21

[Collecting Miscellany] (3 of 3)

Undated

1

22

[Connaissance des Arts, May 1972]

1972

1

23

[Connaissance des Arts, May 1973]

1973

1

24

Cortlandt-Bishops

Undated

1

25

Henri Creuzevault

1961

1

26

Henri Creuzevault, Naissance d’une Relieure

1984

1

27

F. De Nobele

1967

1

28

[Duodo Binding Research and Correspondence]

1958

1

29

Pietro Duodo’s Library

Undated

1

30

Karl U. Faber

1963

1

31

[Le Figaro, June 7, 1973]

1973

1

32

[French Collector Catalogue Clippings]

1967-1981

1

33

Gazette des Beaux-Arts

1891

1

34

[General Correspondence]

1951-1969

1

35

Giraud-Badin

1962-1970

1

36

Lucien Goldschmidt

1959-1965

1

37

Grolier Exhibition

[1966]

1

38

Grolier Club

1958-1971

1

39

[Grimaldi Research]

[1966]

1

40

K.A. Gumuchian, Inc., 1944

1941-1948

2

1

Georges Heilbrun

1969-1970

2

2

Hellmut Schumann AG

1968

2

3

Kennedy Galleries, Inc.

1963-1965

Box #

Folder #

Folder Title

Date

2

4

H.P. Kraus

1961-1965

2

5

William S. Kundig

1950

2

6

Librairie Lardanchet

1961-1970

2

7

[Livres de Peintres Material] (see also Oversize Series I)

1966

2

8

Librairie Alexander Loewy

1961-1970

2

9

Edouard Loewy

1956-1968

2

10

Marc Loliée

Undated

2

11

Maggs Bros. Ltd.

1962

2

12

“Marché de L’Art”, L’Express May 1980

1980

2

13

Le Monde, June 9, 1973

1973

2

13a

[Non-photographic Binding Images]

Undated

2

14

Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc.

1948-1951

2

15

[Paul et Virginie bound notebook]

Undated

2

15a

[Research for Graham Pollard]

1966

2

16

Librairie Ancienne-G. Privat

1964

2

17

Quaritch

1958-1969

2

18

Rau, Arthur 1958 & 1959

1955-1962

2

19

Rauch

1947-1965

2

20

[Reiglement de Lay, 1618]

Undated

2

21

Relieurs [Bookbinders]

1954-1968

2

22

Revue Des Arts Graphiques, February 25, 1893

1893

2

23

Rosenbach Co. 1946-1947-1948

1944-1969

2

24

Schab

1963-1969

2

25

Sotheby & Co.

1964-1970

2

25a

Willman Spawn

1966

2

26

30 Livres de Peintres, 1965

[1965]

2

27

F.L. Tulkens

1968-1969

Box #

Container #

Container Title

Date

2

Card File 1

[Card Catalogue of Esmerian’s Book Collection]

Undated

Series II: Visual Material

Scope and Content Note:

This series contains hundreds of photographic prints and large format negatives, and a small number of slides that portray primarily Esmerian’s fine French bindings and were included in his catalogue. There is photographic material included within the manuscript materials in the collection, where appropriate, but the material included in this series was grouped separately upon arrival at the Grolier Club.

Arrangement Note:

This series is arranged alphabetically in sections designated by format. Where images were identified, they are arranged alphabetically within the section. Any information provided on original envelopes or sleeves was noted on the archival label and the enclosure was discarded. 

Binder

Section Title

Date

A

[Large Format Negatives, A-Z]

[1970s]

A

[Photographic Prints, A-Z]

[1970s]

A

[Slides]

[1970s]

A

[Unidentified Color Transparencies]

[1970s]

Binder

Section Title

Date

A

[Unidentified Large Format Negatives]

[1970s]

B

[Unidentified Photographic Prints]

[1970s]

Oversize Series I: Book Collection Files

The scope and content and arrangement of this series mirror that of Series 1: Book Collection Files, except that because the material is arranged by size, the contents are alphabetized within each box, rather than by the series as a whole.

Box #

Folder #

Folder Title

Date

3

1

Pierre Berès

[1959-1968]

3

2

[Collecting Miscellany]

[1973]

3

3

[Decorative Motifs for Grolier Club Exhibition] (1 of 2)

[1966]

3

4

[Decorative Motifs for Grolier Club Exhibition] (2 of 2)

[1966]

3

5

Pietro Duodo’s Library

Undated

3

6

Fortune, December 1959

1959

3

7

[Lifetime Membership Certificate, The Metropolitan Museum of Art]

1958

3

8

Notes for Precious Stones

Undated

4

1

Catalogue XVII Siècle

[1970s]

4

2

Le Figaro, Jeudi 7 Juin 1973

1973

4

3

[Grolier Club Exhibition]

[1966]

4

4

[Livres de Peintres Material]

1966

4

5

Le Monde, Samedi 9 Juin 1973

1973

Oversize Series II: Visual Material

The scope and content and arrangement of this series mirror that of Series II: Visual Material.

Box #

Folder #

Folder Title

Date

3

9

[Bindings]

[1970s]

3

10

[Bindings]

[1970s]



[1] Laird, Michael, “Raphaël Esmerian,” Grolier 2000: A Further Grolier Club Biographical Retrospective in

Celebration of the Millennium. Edited by the Grolier Club 2000 Committee. New York: Grolier Club,

2000. Pp 88.

[2] Ibid, 89

[3] Laird, pps. 90-91.

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