Special and Archival Collections

Special & Archival Collections

The principal strength of holdings in these collections is in the breadth and depth of primary source material. Our earliest resources in this category are medieval manuscripts followed by 15th and 16th century printed works, valued not only for their glass-related content but also for the high standards of historical book production which they embody. Among the more outstanding primary source materials from later periods are scientific treatises published in the 17th and 18th centuries; 19th and 20th century designs for glass objects executed by an international roster of artists; production drawings from both American and European glass studios or manufactures; batch books documenting unique glassmaking recipes; stunningly illustrated pattern books and trade catalogs from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods; and a broad range of archival collections from historical and contemporary sources, including the notebooks, personal diaries, and letters of individual artists and glassmakers; the private and public papers generated by galleries, studios, collectors, and organizations; and the working papers and personal libraries of individual researchers.

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Every archive has mysteries waiting to be discovered and solved. Recently at the Rakow Research Library, we discovered some unusual items in one of our core collections: The Frederick Carder Papers. Frederick Carder (1863-1963) was a pioneering English glassmaker who co-founded the Steuben Glass... more
In its narrowest definition, a sketchbook is simply “a book filled with paper that is used for drawing” (Merriam-Webster). But if you look closely, sketchbooks are so much more than just pages with markings. They can also help provide an intimate journey into an artist’s mind. A sketchbook can be... more
If you are an artist working in glass interested in donating materials that document your life and career, we will be collecting items for our artists’ file at the Rakow Library during the Glass Art Society (GAS) conference, June 9-11. You can also stop by to talk with our archivists about your... more