Written By: Adina Vega
Edited by: Gabrielle S. Vasquez Bates and Jenny Roach
The official crest of the Grolier Club was founded in 1884.
So you love books, but do you really love books? If so, you may want to visit one of the Grolier Club’s exhibits in New York City. The Club, America’s most comprehensive and oldest society for bibliophiles, is a nominated members-only club that hosts various free exhibits for book lovers. It is named after the great French Renaissance bibliophile Jean Grolier de Servières, Viscount d’Aguisy (1489/90-1565), Treasurer General of France. Grolier was known for sharing his library with his friends. His motto was: “Io. Grolierii et amicorum” [of or belonging to Jean Grolier and his friends].
Founded on January 23, 1884, the Club promotes “the study, collecting, and appreciation of books and works on paper.” Over eight hundred professionals contributed to the collection, including book and print collectors, antiquarian book dealers, librarians, designers, fine printers, and binders. The Library promotes the love of books through exhibitions, publications, lectures, and the creation of a research library dedicated to the art of the book.
A collection of works by Charles Dickens, circa 1913.
One collection the Club is well-known for is the Charles Dickens chronologically listed catalog. It is a detailed exhibition gathered from the club’s library and the collections of its members. The catalog contains the published works of Dickens, speeches, miscellaneous Dickensiana, manuscripts, letters, portraits of Dickens, and personal relics.
The inside of the Grolier Club in New York City.
The Grolier Club Library currently welcomes researchers to explore a collection of more than 100,000 volumes on the art and history of the book. It includes bibliographies, chronologies of printing and graphic processes, and historic printing, binding, and illustration examples. The Club Library features the literature of collecting and the book trade, including print and manuscript inventories of private libraries, catalogs of antiquarian booksellers, and book auction sales.
Although the club membership is private and earned through nomination only, the exhibits are free and open to the public. For more information on this fantastic biblical collection, including tours and pictures, please visit https://www.grolierclub.org/.