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Identifier: GA 21

New Jersey Book Arts Collection


  • Majority of material found within 1994-2010


2.2 Cubic Feet (5 manuscript boxes and 1 half manuscript box)

Language of Materials



Although materials relating to bibliography and bibliphily were collected in Special Collections and University Archives in the past, it was in 1995, following the success of the first New Jersey Book Arts Symposium that SP/UA first began to collect the book arts as such. The design for the Collection followed that of the NJBAS, that it would document book art in and about New Jersey, with an emphasis on contemporary work and on artists' books--rather than say on papermaking, or paper-marbling, bookbinding, graphic design, illustration, printmaking, calligraphy, although these fields are implicit within the Collection. Like the Collection, the Archive tends to focus on individuals rather than on craft, theme, region, theory, chronology, etc., with an exception made for the part of the Archive involving book arts activities within the Libraries.

The Archive grew organically as a miscellany of administrative papers, letters, articles, slides, etc. and only took form as an archive in 2002-2003, when Maria Somers began the task of imposing order upon it. Principally, the archive exists as an echo of the New Jersey Book Arts Collection. In addition to documenting the artists whose works are represented in the Collection, it also documents New Jersey artists whose works are (as yet) absent from the Collection, and book art activities within New Jersey. Obviously, the largest and most important part of this last category is the annual New Jersey Book Arts Symposium, which since 1995 has been held at the Dana Library, and activities related to it.

Finally, as the New Jersey Book Arts Collection has become known and gathered prestige, book artists outside of New Jersey have contributed books, prints and other book arts related materials to the Collection, and the Archive includes ephemera related to these gifts, and (selectively) to book arts activities in surrounding regions.

Arrangement Note

The records are arranged alphabetically when dates are known, put into order by context, or placed at the end if no certain date can be ascertained. In addition, items such as posters, invitations and programs are at the beginning of folders about the NJBAS, and the curriculum vitae for artists included in the collection are noted at the beginning of each folder.


Current Collecting Focus

New Jersey Book Arts Symposium:

Documenting the annual symposium and the related activities of the New Jersey Book Arts Symposium committee is an important mission of the Archive. A substantial amount of documentation for the NJBAS is already available on the Web. The website for the New Jersey Book Arts Symposium provides ample documentation of the various symposia beginning in 1995 and extending to the present, including paper presentations, an online exhibition (1996), photographs and descriptions of several symposium.

Contemporary New Jersey book artists whose works are a substantive part of the collection:

While the New Jersey Book Arts Collection documents book arts activities "horizontally" within the State, by being inclusive, it also makes an effort to represent book a1ts activities "vertically," by emphasizing the works of NJ artists of particular importance. Therefore, the Archive has a special emphasis on New Jersey book artists whose works are represented more comprehensively within the Collection, i.e. Suellen Glashausser, Lois Morrison, and John Ross. (Note that wood engravers are collected separately in the related John DePol Collection of American Wood Engraving.)

Other Contemporary New Jersey Book Artists:

The Archive solicits material relative to this very large group of artists, and seeks to define this category of New Jersey book history and culture. However, its size relative to our limited means contraindicates collecting in this category very aggressively.

Book Arts Activities Within the Libraries

The Archive solicits documents and ephemera relating to book arts activities within the libraries, including activities related to book arts generated by the Mabel Douglass College Library, Special Collections and University Archives, the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Museum, the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper, and the Art Library.

Book Arts Materials Outside New Jersey

Ephemeral materials relative to the book arts that come to us unsolicited are selectively included within the collection. However, they are not described in detail in the finding aid, and no special efforts are made to acquire them.

Relevant Collections at Rutgers University Libraries

A finding aid for the John DePol Collection of American Wood Engraving documents the prints, correspondence and ephemera relating to John DePol, with links to finding aids relating to other areas of American wood engraving collected by Special Collections, including a Lynd Ward collection of prints and woodblocks and an archive of George Whittle Howes materials, which houses tools, prints, woodblocks and photographs among other artifacts.

Inventory to the New Jersey Book Arts Collection
Edited Full Draft
Maria T. Somers and Ian Grayson
Spring 2003 and March 2020
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.
Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.