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Whitefriars Archive at The Rakow Research Library

Hear from Chief Librarian Jim Galbraith on the recently acquired Whitefriars archive at The Rakow Research Library.

The Library received a National Leadership Grant for Libraries; Collaborative Planning Grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to help conserve and digitize the Whitefriars Collection of stained glass cartoons. A cartoon is a full-scale drawing used to plan a stained glass window. 

James Powell and Sons, more popularly known as Whitefriars, was among England’s oldest and most prominent glass company, operating for more than 250 years before closing its stained glass business in 1973, and the rest of the company in 1980. The Museum of London acquired the Whitefriars’ extensive collection of design drawings and cartoons, but due to the impressive size of some of the works (more than 20 feet long in certain cases), storage proved to be an issue, and the Museum of London offered the cartoon collection to the Rakow. The gift was made in 2008, consisting of 1,800 rolls of cartoons, which contained between 5,000 and 7,000 works.