The Grolier Club

The Grolier Club is a private society of bibliophiles, which is located in the ritzy Upper East Side. Offering free public exhibitions, and a library featuring bookseller catalogues from the 17th through 20th centuries, the club is inspired by Jean Grolier de Servieres who served as a treasurer in the royal French courts during the 16th century. It's America’s oldest and largest society for bibliophiles and enthusiasts in the art and history of the book and graphic arts. The Club’s two public galleries are open Monday-Saturday, 10 am-5 pm; the Grolier Club Library is open to the public by appointment only. Click to book your NYC Uptown Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour.

History

The Grolier Club
The Grolier Club (Photo Credit: Michael Moran)
The Grolier Club was established in 1884 by nine New York businessmen who were passionate about collecting books and other printed materials.It was named for Jean Grolier, the Renaissance collector renowned for his patronage of scholars and printers, for the magnificent bindings he commissioned, and for a generous habit of sharing his library with friends. After six years in rented quarters at 64 Madison Avenue, the Club constructed its first building at 29 East 32nd Street in Midtown Manhattan. Designed in the Romanesque Revival style, this charming building was designated an official landmark in 1970. By 1916, steady growth in membership and programs had forced the Club to relocate and build its current home in the ritzy Upper East Side. Despite having a prime location in an affluent and exclusive neighborhood, the Grolier Club has always welcomed the general public. The original mission of the club was to simply share a common appreciation for unique books. The name of the club is inspired by Jean Grolier de Servieres, who served in the royal French courts during the 16th century. Favoured by King Louis XII, Grolier acquired an enormous collection of books in grand libraries. His position as a treasurer provided convenient opportunities to get literature and other publications from France, Italy and other wealthy European nations. Many historians believe that Grolier had one of the most diverse and magnificent libraries of his time. Some scholars also consider Grolier an important figure in the Renaissance. The Grolier Club has always been more than a private bibliophile society. It is international in scope and is devoted not only to its members but also to engaging new audiences, inviting them to celebrate the Grolier and its remarkable mission to promote the art and history of the book. Click to book your NYC Uptown Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour.

Collections at the Grolier Club

As an exclusive society, much of the Grolier Club is open only to members. However, anyone with a demonstrated need to consult its world-renowned collections may make an appointment to use the Library. The Grolier Club Library collections includes books, prints, historic letters, archives and manuscripts pertaining to the design, production, sale, and collecting of books from various eras in European and American history. Some of the earliest works can be traced back to the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The Grolier Club's core collection includes bookseller and book auction catalogues that were quite popular from the 17th through 20th centuries. The unifying theme of this 200,000-volume repository is books about books—author and subject bibliographies (including many rare and early examples), histories of printing, publishing and collecting, exhibition catalogues, and bookseller and book auction catalogues. An appointment can be made to use the library’s resources for scholarly purposes. The two handsome rooms of the Exhibition Hall and the Library express the two poles of the Grolier Club’s collective experience: bringing together, preserving and studying books of significance; and sharing them both among members and with a wider public.

Visiting The Grolier Club

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In December 2018, The Grolier Club celebrated the 100th anniversary of its current home, and the reopening of its renovated first floor and Exhibition Hall. To launch the dramatic new space is a spectacular presentation of ten centuries of French printing and book arts drawn from the Grolier’s own renowned collections. As it has done for over 130 years, The Grolier offers free admission to the public for its wide-ranging exhibitions of American and European print culture. Exhibitions are accompanied by scholarly publications, lectures and symposia in support of the Grolier’s mission to promote the appreciation of books, not just as texts, but as historical documents and works of art. Widely recognized as the premier New York venue for the display of rare books and prints, the scope of the recent renovation includes the latest innovations and conservation specifications for display cases, lighting, ventilation, and sound systems. The project has enhance the auditorium function of the exhibition hall for educational events and greatly expanded visible storage for the rare book collection on the upper balcony. The entry and circulation areas are now more accessible for all. The Grolier Club is situated on the corner of Park Avenue and 60th Street in Manhattan's Upper East Side. Located only one block away from the club, the 59th Street-Lexington Avenue station is served by six New York City subway lines. The 4, 5 and 6 lines connect Manhattan with Brooklyn and Queens. The N, R and Q routes also run through most of Manhattan. Defining the southeastern tip of Central Park, Grand Army Plaza provides a good reference point when you're searching for the Grolier Club that's within the shadows of modern skyscrapers. There are at least a dozen bus stops that are located within a few blocks of this club. Part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) network, the buses run along 5th Avenue, Madison Avenue, Lexington Avenue and some of the side streets. Having a fair mix of commercial and residential properties, the Upper East Side offers several covered parking garages for temporary visitors.

Location: 47 E 60th Street (between Park and Madison Avenues), New York, NY, 10022

Click here to visit The Grolier Club official website.

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47 E 60th Street

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