Beyond Books and Cross-Continents: Cataloguing English Printing Copperplates and Woodblocks in American Library Collections


Museums and libraries have already established clear systems for historical objects, printed books and manuscripts. However, there are rarely any cataloguing methods or indeed any items on their catalogues on printing objects, namely engraved or etched copperplates and woodblocks. These objects are often neglected and become hidden collections in museums and libraries. The reason for this might be that scholars of historical books or prints mostly do researches based on the works on paper. However, recent research reveals that they contain important messages not observable on paper. This paper considers the problems and reasons of the neglected printing plates and woodblocks, and the cataloguing methods for the use of wide audience and scholars, with specific examples at the Houghton Library, Harvard University, and the Huntington Library, California, which catalogues I established from the start.
The examples chosen for discussion will be George Cruikshank’s engraved copperplates from the Houghton Library, Harvard University, and the James Tarbotton Armstrong collection of printing woodblocks at the Huntington Library, California.
The paper also considers the phenomenon and reasons for American collectors’ interest in English printing objects and their identity with English culture, in the case of Philip Hofer, donor of the Houghton Library, and Henry E. Huntington, founder of the Huntington Library.

Author Information
Mei-Ying Sung, FoGuang University, Taiwan

Paper Information
Conference: LibrAsia2013
Stream: Literature

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