Print Collection > Researching Prints

Introduction to the Collections


The Print Collection of The New York Public Library houses a substantial collection of original prints, illustrated books, a small collection of drawings, and a reference collection on the subject of prints, printmaking and book illustration.

The reference resources in the Prints and Photographs Study Room include catalogues raisonnés of printmakers’ work, ephemera files, monographs, periodicals and exhibition catalogues covering the history of printmaking, printmakers, printers and publishers, book illustration, the history of caricature, and artists’ books. There are also technical manuals of the various fine art printmaking techniques, from woodcuts to digital processes. Also on hand are price guides and bibliographies for prints.

This guide offers a selection of bibliographic and online resources for researching prints and printmakers, as well as indications of how to determine what prints are in the Library’s collections. All classmarks are for Print Collection copies, unless otherwise noted. Print Collection materials must be requested, and viewed in the Prints and Photographs Study Room (Room 308).

Literature on works in other media, including drawings and posters, is found in the Art and Architecture Collection. Photographs and the history of photography are covered by the Photography Collection.

It should be noted that original prints are located throughout the diverse collections of the four NYPL Research Libraries, for example in the Arents Collection, the Berg Collection and Pforzheimer Collection in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library; the Photographs and Prints Division of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and the Dance Collection, Music Collection, and Theatre Collection of the Library for Performing Arts. While some of these collections are catalogued in CATNYP, it is advisable to contact the individual divisions for more information on their holdings.

Please consult the librarians and specialists in the Prints and Photographs Study Room, Room 308, if you need further assistance in your research. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may also e-mail the staff.