The Library collection ranges from medieval manuscripts to original works of art on paper to the latest information on techniques used by studio artists. More than 130 archives contain unique material from individual artists, galleries, companies, scholars, and organizations.
The Rakow Research Library holds an extensive and growing number of archives. Currently there are over 130 collections from individual artists, galleries, companies, scholars and organizations. They consist of unique primary materials such as personal papers, notebooks, sketchbooks, scrapbooks, drawings, blueprints, ephemera, posters, cartoons, photographs, slides, and transparencies. The archival collections are available for use by researchers; a few may have some restrictions.
The Library owns a significant auction catalog collection and currently receives catalogs from modern art, decorative arts, and antiquities sales world-wide. The catalogs are a unique resource, helpful in determining the prices of glass objects sold at auction while providing accompanying details about objects such as dimensions, artist, year of creation, and provenance.
With over 850 active subscriptions and over a thousand titles from the 18th to the 21st century, the Library houses a large periodical collection to support the study of glass. The periodical collection not only consists of many glass-related magazines, collector club newsletters, and scholarly journals, but also serial publications in broader subject areas such as art, architecture, archaeology, science, and technology.
The Library collects books that describe
- the art of glass: glass art, architecture and sculpture; mosaics; stained glass; neon; glass beads and jewelry; techniques of glassmaking; glass craft projects
- the business of glass: glass manufacture; glassmaking firms; union publications; worker conditions and health issues
- the history of glass: styles from different time periods and countries; history of glass technology
- the objects of glass: collectibles; tableware; lighting; scientific instruments
- the people of glass: artists’ biographies and exhibition catalogs; glass collectors’ catalogs
- the science of glass: glass chemistry; properties of glass; optics; uses of glass
Books in related fields of study are also collected in order to support research of glass topics. Areas of particular interest include archaeology, general art and architecture, decorative arts and craft, museum studies and collection catalogs, antiques price guides, and world history and cultures.
The Rakow Library is notable for its extensive collection of glass company trade catalogs, representing firms worldwide. The collection, numbering approximately 17,000, dates from 1722 to the present. Trade catalogs are unparalleled resources in providing primary source information for scholars researching glass in its artistic, historic, economic, and sociological aspects. The Rakow Library is fully committed to %%gathering%% and preserving these perishable documents.
Films & Videos
The Rakow Library acquires video materials in support of the instructional, research, and informational scope of its collection policy. Made available to on-site users, this non-circulating collection includes educational and instructional videos, documentaries, lectures, presentations, non-commercial productions, and more to aid in the study and research of glass.
Works on Paper
The Library is home to thousands of works on paper on the history, art, business, and science of glass and glassmaking; these works include art originals, design drawings, technical drawings, prints, photographs, and posters and range in date from the 16th century to the present. From a mid-19th century preliminary design sketch for a stained glass window to a 20th century monoprint made of copper leaf and rice paper to a photograph of the interior of a Corning area cutting shop around the turn of the 20th century, the Library’s collection of flat work is extensive and always growing. Additionally, items from this collection can often be seen on display in temporary exhibitions at the Library, the Museum, and various institutions around the world.