SPERLING, PHILIP. Notebooks, 1947-1996
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Guide to the Philip Sperling Notebooks, 1947-1996


Philip Sperling Notebooks, 1947-1996.

Sperling, Philip, 1911-1997


Bulk dates:

4 volumes, 25 cm and smaller; in 1 box, 0.75 linear feet

Collection of 4 notebooks compiled by collector Philip Sperling. Notebook entries include bibliographies, personal collection lists and related notes, as well as citations of books Sperling wished to read and/or purchase. All the notebooks have numerous pasted-in items such as stamps, bookplates, newspaper and magazine clippings, typed poems and a selection of Sperling’s own letterheads and mailing labels.  Some correspondence is also pasted into the volumes.  Although some items bear earlier dates, the vast majority of the collection was created between approximately 1980 and 1996.

Material is in English.

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

Items in this collection were created by Philip Sperling and donated to the Grolier Club by his daughter and Grolier Club member Amy R. Sperling in April, 2019. 

Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street, New York, N.Y. 10022-1098.

Preferred Citation:
[Description and date of item], [Box/folder number], Philip Sperling Notebooks, 1947-1996. The Grolier Club of New York.

About the Finding Aid:
This finding aid was prepared by Kendra Meyer in Microsoft Word at the Grolier Club, May 2019.

Biographical/Historical Note:
Philip Sperling was born in New York City and attended City College of the City University of New York. In 1942 he left his position as a purchasing agent to serve in the Second World War. As Staff Sergeant in the US Army Headquarters Detachment, 325th Medical Battalion of the 100th Infantry Division, Sperling was stationed at various points in Europe.[i]  He returned to the United States in early 1946.  Sperling married Sylvia Rudder in 1944, and they had one daughter, Amy R. Sperling.  In 1973, he retired from his employment at the Metropolitan Wire Goods Corporation.[ii]  He worked at the Grolier Club as Library Assistant from 1973 to 1976, and remained a dedicated member and volunteer of the Club until shortly before his death in 1997.  Sperling’s collecting interests and activities notably focused on material related to English 19th-century English publisher William Pickering and his works.

Related Materials Note:
Related materials may be found in the following collections:
Grolier Club Institutional Records, Record Group 1, Series 3: Records of the Librarian/Director 1884-2004Series IX: Philip Sperling, Assistant: Box 42, Folders 8-12, Grolier Club.
Philip Sperling Collection, 7 boxes, identifier: 02-17.0011. Institute on World War II and the Human Experience, Florida State University. http://purl.fcla.edu/fsu/WWII_17_0011

Access Points:
Sperling, Philip, 1911-1997.
Sperling, Amy R.
William Pickering (firm)
Pickering, William, 1796-1854
Eyton, Joseph Walter King.

Book Collecting. New York. 20th century.
Book Collectors. New York. 20th century.
Posters. Private collections.


Scope and Content Note:
The collection consists of four notebooks kept by Sperling and which primarily contain bibliographical lists and research notes.  Many clippings, notes, and examples of bookplates, letterheads and stamps are pasted in throughout each of the volumes.  Sperling appears to have reviewed and annotated the notes at some point after the initial writing. Frequent annotations are directed to his daughter Amy, drawing her attention as reader to certain entries. Volume 1 contains an inventory of posters and other ephemera in Sperling’s collection.  Data contains item title, a note identifying format, (poster, broadside, etc.) and relative dates, artists or institutions.  Some notes describe the storage location of the items. Volumes 2 and 3 both primarily deal with his collecting activities of William Pickering material, including bibliographic data, lists and research notes.  Volume 3 in particular catalogs the items Pickering either had produced or purchased from the 1848 Sotheby’s sale of the library of Joseph Walter King Eyton. Volume 4 is comprised of lists of books of interest to Sperling, as well as other clippings, notations and general scrapbook-type additions. 

Arrangement note:
Notebooks are arranged in rough chronological order and volume numbers were assigned by the archivist.  Titles were taken directly from the covers or title page titles written in Sperling’s hand.

Container List:







‘Posters, Broadsides, Ephemera, etc. in the collection of Philip Sperling’




‘re: William Pickering et al.’




‘re: William Pickering the Eyton Library’




‘Books of interest, to read perchance to buy and keep!’


[i] “Biographical or Historical Information”, Sperling, Philip, collection. Institute on World War II and the Human Experience, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida. http://purl.fcla.edu/fsu/WWII_17_0011. https://archives.lib.fsu.edu/repositories/6/resources/140 Accessed June 07, 2019.

[ii] "Philip Sperling, Collector of Rare Books, 85." New York Times (New York), January 19, 1997. Accessed June 7, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/1997/01/19/nyregion/philip-sperling-collector-of-rare-books-85.html.

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