Grolier Club

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The Grolier Club's home at 47 East 60th Street

The Grolier Club is a private club and society of bibliophiles in New York City. Founded in January 1884, it is the oldest existing bibliophilic club in North America. The club is named after Jean Grolier de Servières, Viscount d'Aguisy, Treasurer General of France, whose library was famous; his motto, "Io. Grolierii et amicorum" [of or belonging to Jean Grolier and his friends], suggested his generosity in sharing books.[1] The Club's stated objective is "the literary study of the arts pertaining to the production of books, including the occasional publication of books designed to illustrate, promote and encourage these arts; and the acquisition, furnishing and maintenance of a suitable club building for the safekeeping of its property, wherein meetings, lectures and exhibitions shall take place from time to time ..."[2]

Collections and programs[edit]

The Grolier Club maintains a research library specializing in books, bibliography and bibliophily, printing (especially the history of printing and examples of fine printing), binding, illustration and bookselling. The Grolier Club has one of the more extensive collections of book auction and bookseller catalogs in North America.[3][4][5] The Library has the archives of a number of prominent bibliophiles such as Sir Thomas Phillipps,[6] and of bibliophile and print collecting groups, such as the Hroswitha Club of women book collectors (1944–c. 1999)[7][a] and the Society of Iconophiles.[8]

The Grolier Club also has a program of public exhibitions which "treat books and prints as objects worthy of display, on a par with painting and sculpture."[9] The exhibitions draw on various sources including holdings of the Club, its members, and of institutional libraries. In 2013, it hosted an exhibition on women in science.[10]

The Grolier Club is a member of the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies.[11]


The founders of the club were William Loring Andrews, Theodore L. DeVinne, A. W. Drake, Albert Gallup, Robert Hoe III, Brayton Ives, Samuel W. Martin, E. S. Mead, and Arthur B. Turnure.[12] Perfection in the art of bookmaking is encouraged. E. D. French engraved the club's own bookplate as well as bookplates for many of its members.

Honorary members have included I.N. Phelps Stokes (elected 1927), Bruce Rogers (1928), Henry Watson Kent (1930), Franklin D. Roosevelt (1934), Rudolph Ruzicka (1946), Lawrence C. Wroth (1950), Carl Purington Rollins (1951), Elmer Adler (1952), Joseph Blumenthal (1967), and Mary C. Hyde Eccles (1989); while Honorary Foreign Corresponding members have included Emery Walker (elected 1920), Alfred W. Pollard (1921), Sir Geoffrey Keynes (1922), Michael Sadleir (1925), Stanley Morison (1951), Giovanni Mardersteig (1964), Howard M. Nixon (1971), Nicolas Barker (1972), John Carter (1973), and Hermann Zapf (2003).[13]

Harry Elkins Widener, the wealthy young bibliophile whose early death in sinking of the RMS Titanic inspired his mother to construct Harvard's Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, had been a member.[14][15]

From April 20 to June 5, 1971, a newly-discovered pre-Columbian Maya codex was displayed in the club, giving the codex the name the Grolier Codex. In 1973 the club published a facsimile of the codex in a book by Michael D. Coe.[16]

The Grolier Club has had three locations since its founding in 1884. Its first home was rented. It moved in 1890 to a Romanesque Revival building at 29 East 32nd Street (now a designated landmark), and in 1917 to its current home (designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue)[5] at 47 East 60th Street in New York's Silk Stocking District.

In 2013, plans were announced for a 51-story apartment tower to be built beside the Grolier Club, using air rights purchased from the club and from the adjoining Christ Church.[17]

List of presidents[edit]

The following people have served as presidents of the club:[18]

  • Robert Hoe III (1884–1888)
  • William Loring Andrews (1888–1892)
  • Beverly Chew (1892–1896)
  • Samuel Putnam Avery (1896–1900) Porträt: Medaille 1897 by Anton Scharff (1845–1903)
  • Howard Mansfield (1900–1904)
  • Theodore Low De Vinne (1904–1906)
  • Edwin B. Holden (1906)
  • Richard Hoe Lawrence (1906–1908)
  • William F. Havemeyer (1908–1912)
  • Edward G. Kennedy (1912–1916)
  • Arthur H. Scribner (1916–1920)
  • Henry Watson Kent (1920–1924)
  • William B. Osgood Field (1924–1928)
  • Lucius Wilmerding (1928–1932)
  • William B. Ivins Jr. (1932–1935)
  • Frederick Coykendall (1935–1939)
  • Harry T. Peters (1939–1943)
  • Edwin De T. Bechtel (1943–1947)
  • Frederick B. Adams Jr. (1947–1951)
  • Irving S. Olds (1951–1955)
  • Arthur A. Houghton (1955–1957)
  • C. Waller Barrett (1957–1961)
  • Donald F. Hyde (1961–1965)
  • Gordon N. Ray (1965–1969)
  • Alfred H. Howell (1969–1973)
  • Robert H. Taylor (1973–1975)
  • Herman W. Liebert (1975–1978)
  • Robert D. Graff (1978–1982)
  • Frank S. Streeter (1982–1986)
  • G. Thomas Tanselle (1986–1990)
  • Kenneth A. Lohf (1990–1994)
  • William Bradford Warren (1994–1998)
  • William T. Buice III (1998–2002)
  • Carolyn L. Smith (2002–2006)
  • William H. Helfand (2006–2010)
  • Eugene S. Flamm (2010–2014)
  • G. Scott Clemons (2014–2018)
  • Bruce J. Crawford (2018- )


The Club has issued editions of the following works:[12]

  • Richard de Bury, Philobiblon
  • George William Curtis, Washington Irving
  • Robert Hoe, Catalogues of Early and Original Editions from Langland to Wither; Bookbinding as a Fine Art
  • Geoffrey Keynes, A Bibliography of William Blake (1921)
  • Theodore Low De Vinne, Historic Printing Types
  • William Matthews, Modern Book Binding

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Jean Grolier Biography Archived February 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ The Grolier Club, Constitution, Article I, section 2. 2005 edition.
  3. ^ Grolier Club Library Overview Archived February 5, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Lasting Impressions: The Grolier Club Library (New York: Grolier Club, 2004) pp. 8–12.
  5. ^ a b About The Grolier Club Archived April 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Phillipps Archived April 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Hroswitha Club: Records and Publications, 1944–1999".
  8. ^ "Society of Iconophiles (New York, N.Y.): Records, 1895–1930".
  9. ^ Exhibitions Archived July 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Landmark exhibition recognizes the achievements of women in science and medicine at The Grolier Club". December 22, 2013. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  11. ^ FABS - Member Clubs Archived April 5, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ a b Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Grolier Club" . New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
  13. ^ Members of the Grolier Club, 1884–2009 (New York: Grolier Club, 2009), pp. 9–12.
  14. ^ John Woolf Jordan (1911). Colonial Families of Philadelphia. Lewis Publishing Company. pp. 1500–.
  15. ^ Grolier Club (1921). Transactions of the Grolier Club. Grolier Club. pp. 179–.
  16. ^ Club, ~ Grolier (October 23, 2019). "The Relationship between the "Grolier Codex" and The Grolier Club of New York*". The Grolier Club. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  17. ^ "Zeckendorfs Pay $40 million for Park Avenue Church's Air Rights". The New York Times. February 26, 2013.
  18. ^ A list of club presidents, complete to 2009, appeared in Members of the Grolier Club, 1884–2009 (New York: Grolier Club, 2009), pp. 158–159. A previous list, complete to 1982, appeared in Members of the Grolier Club, 1884–1984 (New York: Grolier Club, 1986), pp. 149–150.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°45′50″N 73°58′12″W / 40.7639°N 73.96995°W / 40.7639; -73.96995