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Last modified: May 18, 2012, 3:53 PM
Founded in 1884, the Grolier Club of New York 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 foster "the study, collecting, and appreciation of books and works on paper." The Club maintains a research library on printing and related book arts, and its programs include public exhibitions as well as a long and distinguished series of publications.
The 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 eight hundred exhibitions on topics ranging from Blake to Kipling, from chess to murder mysteries, from Japanese prints to Art Nouveau posters. There are eight exhibitions a year, four in the ground floor gallery (Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm), and four in the second floor gallery (Monday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm), all open to the public free of charge.
Since its founding the Grolier Club has published nearly five hundred 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, and medicine. 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.
The Grolier Club has fostered interest in the book arts for over one hundred and twenty-five years, through exhibitions, publications, lectures, and—perhaps most importantly—through the formation of a research Library devoted to the arts of the book. From its modest beginnings as a cooperative reference collection for the Club's bibliophile membership, the Library has grown to over one hundred thousand volumes, and today welcomes any qualified researcher needing to explore its collection of books and manuscripts on printing and related book arts, bibliophily, and the book trade. The Library is open by appointment, Monday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm.