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Grolier Club Exhibitions

Catherine Vanderpool

Books and the printed word were always central in our family’s life, and I can still feel (and smell) my first very own book, The Wizard of Oz, core of my childhood collection of Oz books long lost in the chaos of many family moves criss-crossing the country and continents. Along the way, the printed word became my trade, as student, scholar, writer, editor, publisher, and as steward of others’ collections, notably as President of the Gennadius Library in Athens. Living and working in Greece for years, perforce I started accumulating things Greek, books and textiles. Once rooted firmly back in the U.S., I continued to accumulate, especially in the areas of Greek and Roman archaeology and art; sculpture; exhibitions, collections and collectors; and the afterlife of classical antiquity as well as its appropriation. Thanks to new-found friends at the Grolier, I have begun to scrutinize this accumulation with different eyes. [I also admit to a guilty pleasure: historical epics of the ξίφος και σανδάλια (i.e. sword and sandal) variety, tribute to a family heirloom read early and preserved in spite of a lifetime of wandering: a battered, 1897 copy of Henryk Sienkiewicz’s “Quo Vadis”.]

Sport der Hellenen: Ausstellung griechischer Bildwerke, Museum zu Berlin

Sport der Hellenen: Ausstellung griechischer Bildwerke, Museum zu Berlin.

Carl Blümel, ed. Berlin: Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft, 1936.

My interest in the appropriation of classical antiquity to promote national ideologies led me to this catalogue of a major archaeological exhibition that accompanied the elaborate pageantry of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Noted archaeologist Carl Blümel (1893-1976) is credited as editor, but recent scholarship suggests that the exhibition was created by archaeologist and pioneering sports historian Alfred Schiff (1863-1939), unacknowledged because he was Jewish. This copy is inscribed by F. Kinchin Smith (1895-1958), a prominent British classicist.

Die Proportionen des menschlichen Körpers: mit Massangaben dargestellt nach den berümtesten Antiken

Die Proportionen des menschlichen Körpers: mit Massangaben dargestellt nach den berümtesten Antiken.

Girard Audran, with commentary by C. Fenner. Zürich: Art. Institut Orell Füssli, 1894.

As a scholar of ancient sculpture, I was lucky to discover this folio on my first foray as a Grolier member to the Brooklyn Antiquarian Bookfair last September. Beginning in the early Renaissance, Greco-Roman sculpture inspired wonder, emulation, theorization, and collecting. Gérard (Girard) Audran’s folio, Les Proportions du Corps Humain, first published in 1683, became a widely-popular artists’ manual translated into English, Italian, and German. This 1894 first edition was printed by Switzerland’s oldest publishing house.

Selected Bindings from the Gennadius Library Selected Bindings from the Gennadius Library

Selected Bindings from the Gennadius Library.

Lucy A. Paton. Cambridge: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Printed at the Chiswick Press, 1924.

Because of my years with the Gennadius Library, I was thrilled at this acquisition, the kind gift of a Grolier member. Distinguished Greek diplomat, patriot, and passionate bibliophile, John Gennadius (1844-1932) amassed rare books and archives illuminating Hellenic civilization. In 1922, he entrusted his collection to the American School of Classical Studies. As a token of gratitude, the School honored him with this now rare edition printed in 300 copies, of which this is #6.

Catherine Vanderpool