Grolier Club. Institutional History: Members, Buildings, and Activities.
Grolier Club House Committee. 1890-1896.
In 2016 the Club was contacted on behalf of the descendant of an early Grolier Club member to see whether the Club might be interested in acquiring a small leather-bound notebook, titled “House Committee -- Grolier Club Punch Recipes, 1890-1896.” The price was reasonable, and the purchase was quickly concluded. Alcoholic punches were a common festive feature of New York club life in the 1890s. Many were quite elaborate, and the Grolier Club “Rum Punch” recipe required seven ingredients, a complex series of steps, two days’ preparation time, and a six-month aging process. The acquisition of the booklet coincided with the discovery of a file of complementary material in the Grolier Club’s own House Committee archives, including manuscript notes of a similar rum punch recipe, and a typescript prepared by longtime Grolier Club Librarian Ruth Shepard Granniss.
Purchased in 2016 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.
Horace Walpole: A Memoir; with an Appendix of Books Printed at the Strawberry Hill Press
Austin Dobson, 1840-1921. Illustrations by Percy and Leon Moran. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1890 (New York: De Vinne Press).
Most bibliophile societies do not maintain formal premises of their own, and the Grolier’s decision in 1890 to build a home for its members was a momentous one for the Club, and for the book world at large. This watercolor rendering of the then-new Grolier Clubhouse at 29 East 32nd Street, along with the Grolier Club arms, hand-painted on the half-title of Austin Dobson’s 1890 edition of Horace Walpole: A Memoir, no doubt reflects the pleasure and pride of the unknown Grolier Club member who first owned the volume.
Purchased in 2019 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.
Elevation and Floor Plan of the Grolier Club Clubhouse at 29 East 32nd Street, from American Architect and Building News, June 1, 1895, no. 1014.
Chromolithograph, 16½ x 12½ in.
The institutional archives of the Grolier Club contain relatively few early views of its two buildings, at 29 East 32nd Street (1890-1917), and 47 East 60th Street (1918 to date), and the images we have come mostly from contemporary published sources. This chromolithograph of the front façade and floorplans of the Grolier's first purpose-built Clubhouse at 29 East 32nd Street is a relatively recent discovery. A plate from The American Architect and Building News, it shows the accommodations available to the Club’s 250 members in June 1895, just five years after the building was constructed. Although the Club has photographs and drawings of the original rooms, until now we had no idea of the dimensions of those spaces, or how they were configured.
Purchased in 2018 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.
An Address made by the President of The Grolier Club on the occasion of the presentation … to Mr. Edward G. Kennedy of a Silver Tankard … in recognition of the great service rendered by him to the Club in the matter of The Whistler Catalogue and Reproductions, March 1, 1910.
This splendidly calligraphed and illuminated proclamation was made for Edward G. Kennedy (1849-1932), print dealer, collector, and Grolier Club President (1912-1916), in honor of his groundbreaking The Etched Work of Whistler. Published by the Club in 1910, this monumental, multi-volume work reproduced Whistler’s etchings on a large-scale using the collotype method, which was revolutionary at the time. Unfortunately, the “silver tankard” that Kennedy received as a congratulatory gift has not survived.
Gift of Martha Fleischman, 2019.
The Grolier Club, 1934.
Vernon Howe Bailey (1874-1953). Pen and ink on paper, 19 x 13½ in.
In 1934 the New York Sun published a number of drawings of New York social clubs by well-respected local artist Vernon Howe Bailey, part of a daily series of pieces commissioned from Bailey by the Sun appearing under the title “Intimate Sketches of New York City.” The large-format pen-and-ink drawing was photographed to produce the newspaper printing plate, and then became the property of the New York Sun. The drawing passed to publisher and editor William T. Dewart when the paper closed in 1950 and remained in Dewart’s family until the Club purchased it in 2010. The drawing shows the Grolier Club and the surrounding streetscape as it appeared until the construction of a 54-story residential tower to the west of the Club in 2015.
Purchased in 2010 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.
Color printed invitation for “Illustrated Natural History Books,” Grolier Club, 1957.
Fritz Kredel, 1900-1973.
German-born artist and graphic designer Fritz Kredel trained with Rudolf Koch in Offenbach before moving to America in 1938. The printed invitation Kredel designed for the December 17, 1957 opening of the Grolier Club exhibition “Illustrated Natural History Books,” curated by Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt, exemplifies his whimsical style, influenced by folk tales, literary classics, children’s literature, and medieval woodcuts. The invitation is accompanied by the artist’s original pen and ink drawing of the design and two transparencies for registration of the brown and yellow inks.
Purchased in 2017 with Grolier Club Library Harper funds; supported by a gift from Hersh and Fern Cohen.
Mary Hyde Eccles Collection, 1903-2002.
The 1962 Grolier Club Iter Italicum, although not the first Grolier Club tour of libraries and private collections abroad, was the most lavish to date, and by far the best documented. The tour was the brainchild of Grolier member and former Club president Donald F. Hyde, ably and energetically assisted by his wife, Mary, later Viscountess Eccles, and a member in her own right. Upon Lady Eccles’ death in 2003, the Club received a valuable and interesting trove of material relating to her participation in various Grolier Club trips and functions, including diaries, itineraries, annotated programs, and albums of photographs. Her personal records of the 1962 Grolier Club tour of Italy are particularly complete and interesting.
Gift of the estate of Mary Hyde Eccles, 2004, supplemented by the gift of Gabriel Austin, 2008.