The Library of Congress Fine Prints Collection contains about 85,000 prints created as art works, ca. 1450-present (most dating between 1800 and the present). Prints by American printmakers and artists (e.g., Paul Revere, Mary Cassatt, Jim Dine, Joseph Pennell) predominate, but creators in many other countries are also represented (e.g., Albrecht Dürer and Marc Chagall). Subjects vary widely, for example, portraits, religious themes, historical events, and street scenes.
The Library's Prints and Photographs Division houses more than 2,500 woodblock prints and drawings by Japanese artists of the seventeenth through early twentieth centuries including Hiroshige, Kuniyoshi, Sadahide, and Yoshiiku.
Located in the Prints & Photographs Division, this collection contains more than four thousand original drawings by American book, magazine, and newspaper illustrators, made primarily between 1880 and 1910. The collection includes illustrations for magazines, novels, and children's books; cartoons; cover designs; and sketches for posters. More than two hundred artists are represented, including Charles Dana Gibson, Elizabeth Shippen Green, Oliver Herford, and Jessie Wilcox Smith. The collection was the brainchild of William Patten, art editor for Harper's Magazine during the 1880s and 1890s, who established the Cabinet of American Illustration in 1932, in cooperation with the Library of Congress, in order to create a national collection of original works of art documenting what he and others considered the golden age of American illustration that took place from the 1880s through the 1920s. Donations by artists, publishers, and their families have fostered the growth of the collection.
Some 4,700 drawings created by American artist, illustrator, printmaker, and writer Joseph Pennell (1857-1926) are preserved in the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Pennell created the drawings, between about 1880 and 1926, for many purposes. Pennell illustrated books and magazines, developed compositions for his lithographs and etchings, and pursued personal interest and pleasure by creating images such as views seen from his own windows. Although many of the sketches appeared in publications and a number were exhibited, most of the drawings were unpublished during his lifetime. Pennell used a variety of papers and multiple drawing media including pen and ink, watercolor, wash, gouache, charcoal, pastel, pencil, crayon, and lithographic crayon. Pennell frequently drew in sketchbooks and also made series of drawings from direct observation. Many of the almost 3,400 loose sheet drawings were originally in sketchbooks, and some 1,300 images are still bound together in 42 of his original volumes.
The Documentary Drawings category includes more than 3,000 drawings made between 1750 and 1970. Eye-witness sketches made during the U.S. Civil War are the most frequently used images. Also included are topographical views, bank note vignettes, portraits, and courtroom sketches. A large group of Russian drawings show areas of China in the 1800s. Among the well-known artists represented by numerous works are William Birch, Howard Brodie, Kenyon Cox, Edwin Forbes, Augustus Kollner, James Fuller Queen, John Rubens Smith, Elihu Vedder, George Wallis, and Alfred and William Waud.
The drawings are organized into two filing series called DRWG/US (drawings by artists in the United States) and DRWG 1 (drawings by European and other artists).
The Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division acquired these drawings chiefly through donations and continues to add new material.
This collection of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz Correspondence and Related Material (157 items; 618 images) consists mostly of letters, 1929-1947, written by painter Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) and her husband, Photo-Secession movement founder, gallery director, editor, and photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), to their mutual friend, filmmaker, cameraman, screenwriter and director Henwar Rodakiewicz (1902-1976). Also included are a few items of print miscellany related to exhibitions or gallery publications.
This category consists of all of the individually issued prints and drawings in the Ben and Beatrice Goldstein Foundation Collection: 1,688 items dating primarily from the 1880s to the 1960s. The collection focuses on working people, American industry, and political issues. Art work by social realists, women, African Americans, and Mexicans is well represented.
The primary mission of the Watson Library Digitization Initiative is to expand access to the Museum's rare and unique research materials by developing, supporting, and promoting a distinctive digital collection of these items.