Collection Description - Print Collection
The collection includes:
- artist clipping files
- a collection of close to 200,000 original prints — ranging from woodcuts, engravings, etchings, lithographs and screenprints to digital prints — covering the history of the art in the West from the 15th century to the present
- Japanese prints from the 10th century to the present
- illustrated books
- artists’ books
- a small collection of drawings.
The Print Collection is a comprehensive collection of original works of art on paper, organized by printmaker, unlike the Picture Collection in the Mid-Manhattan Library, a picture resource made up primarily of reproductions and arranged by subject.
Among the collection’s strengths are its holdings of 19th- and 20th-century American prints, with a particular focus on New York artists, and 18th- and 19th-century Japanese color woodcuts.
Of special note are:
- a significant survey of 18th- and 19th-century American and European political cartoons and caricature
- a rich collection of American historical prints, including The Phelps Stokes Collection, and the Eno Collection of New York City views
- the continually growing holdings of contemporary prints
The collection comprised of approximately 18,000 primarily 19th-century prints donated in 1900 by Samuel Putnam Avery.
The collection visually documents a 400-year sweep of American history, beginning with the European discovery of the Americas and tracing the transformation of the landscape into an urbanized United States at the end of the nineteenth century.
The Library safeguards nearly 300 manuscripts in this category.