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Thomas J. Watson Library

Thomas J. Watson Library, the Museum's central library, is the heart of research and scholarly activity at the Museum. Its collection, together with the distinctive collections of the Museum's departmental libraries, comprises one of the preeminent libraries for research in the history of art.

In Circulation

The Art of Japanese Books

Mindell Dubansky, Preservation Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Earlier this month, the Thomas J. Watson Library sponsored two events devoted to the scholarship of Japanese books of the Edo period. These events were developed to create an environment of collegial collaboration surrounding the subject of Japanese books and to celebrate the Museum's acquisition of the Arthur and Charlotte Vershbow Collection of Japanese Illustrated Books, a group of over 250 ehon (illustrated books) from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries.

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Of Note

Digitizing Met History: The Crosby Brown Catalogues

Robyn Fleming, Assistant Museum Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Monday, October 20, 2014

In honor of the 125th anniversary of the first gift of musical instruments to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Thomas J. Watson Library recently digitized the complete set of catalogues of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments. These catalogues, dating from 1888 through 1915, document the remarkable growth of this collection during its early years at the Met—growth which was almost entirely a result of the keen eye, strong social ties, and generous patronage of Mary Elizabeth Adams Brown.

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In Circulation

Books on Street Art in Watson Library

Jessica Ranne, Associate Manager of Circulation and Technical Services

Posted: Friday, October 17, 2014

Street Art. Graffiti. Tagging. When you enter the majestic Metropolitan Museum of Art, these may not be the first things that come to mind.

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In Circulation

2014–2015 Museum Fellows Orientation to Watson Library

Katherine Borkowski, Digital Resources and Instructional Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Saturday, October 11, 2014

Every fall, Watson Library is excited to welcome a new group of Museum fellows for an orientation to Watson Library, and this year was no different. Through the Museum's Fellowship Program, about fifty graduate students, museum professionals, and senior scholars from around the world come to the Met each year to conduct fellowships in art history, curatorial research, conservation, and scientific research, as well as education and public practice. For many of these fellows, the Museum's libraries are integral to the research that they do during their stay at the Met.

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In Circulation

How Can We Help You? (Seriously, We Want to Know)

Lisa Harms, Former Assistant Museum Librarian for Collections and Access, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Two forms of ID. A letter of recommendation. Coat and bag checked in the Great Hall. One of the two doors to the library locked at all times. And an interrogation so intense that all it lacked was a bright light shining in your face. This was the Watson Library registration procedure of years past. Though the library was rich in its collections and resources, the first impression we made on our patrons was far from inviting. Now let's time travel to present-day Watson Library to see how far we've come and understand why Watson Library has made outstanding service an important part of our mission.

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In Circulation

"Pre-Coated Repair Materials": A Book-Conservation Workshop

Mindell Dubansky, Preservation Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Sherman Fairchild Center for Book Conservation in Watson Library recently hosted a hands-on workshop taught by Sarah Reidell—conservator of rare books, paper, and parchment at the New York Public Library's Barbara Goldsmith Conservation Laboratory—entitled "Pre-Coated Repair Materials." This intermediate-level program was developed for conservators and advanced technicians with a thorough knowledge of common repair techniques for paper and parchment conservation. The workshop included training in the preparation of toned and untoned water-, solvent-, and heat-reactivated, pre-coated repair materials used for the conservation and stabilization of book and paper artifacts. During the workshop, participants had the opportunity to experiment on sample materials and to create comparative sample sets for future reference.

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In Circulation

The Ernst Herzfeld Papers at the Met: A Digital Resource Documenting the Study of Near Eastern Civilization

Matt Saba, Mellon Curatorial Fellow, Department of Islamic Art

Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It is my pleasure to introduce In Circulation readers to the Ernst Herzfeld Papers, a new resource that will be developed as part of the Digital Collections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries. Ernst Emil Herzfeld was a German archaeologist, historian, and philologist of the Near East active during the early twentieth century. The Met acquired a portion of Herzfeld's personal papers in 1943, while a larger portion went to the Smithsonian Institution and another group deposited in the Museum für Islamische Kunst, Berlin.

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In Circulation

Color, Design, Shape: Architecture from the 1920s and 1930s

Holly Phillips, Associate Manager for Acquisitions, Thomas J. Watson Library; and Diane De Fazio, Volunteer, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Watson Library currently has on display an international selection of architecture books on subjects including Bauhaus philosophy and Art Deco decor.

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In Season

The Death of Joseph Breck and the Formation of The Cloisters Library

Michael Carter, Librarian, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Thursday, September 11, 2014

When, in 1925, the Metropolitan Museum purchased the building and collection amassed by George Grey Barnard that he had named "The Cloisters," its stewardship was given to Joseph Breck, then chief curator of the Decorative Arts Department. As the first director of The Cloisters museum and gardens, he oversaw a new installation of the collection, the electrification of the galleries, and the laying of garden spaces. But his greatest charge was coordinating the design of an entirely new building, funded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in what is now Fort Tryon Park.

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In Circulation

A Guide for the 1820s Traveler

Deborah Vincelli, Electronic Resources and Instructional Services Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

This delightful travel book, entitled L'Ami des Voyageurs, was donated by Jayne Wrightsman in 2009 and is part of the Wrightsman Fine Bindings collection. Published in Paris around 1820, the book's binding is embroidered in green silk, embellished with gold thread and silver, pink, and gold spangles. The front cover (above) and back cover (below) each feature a painted portrait of a woman under mica.

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