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Elizabeth Roth research papers on festivals, 1956-2006

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Title: Elizabeth Roth research papers on festivals
Dates: 1956-2006
Number: 2007.M.16
Creator/Collector: Roth, Elizabeth E.
Extent: 7.1 Linear Feet (32 boxes)
Abstract: Research materials on festivals and festival books from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and other countries, assembled by Elizabeth Roth, Keeper of Prints, Rare Books, and of the Spencer Collection at the New York Public Library.
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Language: Collection material is in English and German, with some French and Italian.
Repository: The Getty Research Institute
Special Collections
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles 90049-1688
(310) 440-7390
Author: Jasmine Larkin

Biographical / Historical Note

Elizabeth E. Roth worked at the New York Public Library from 1944 until her retirement in 1981, serving as Keeper of Prints, Rare Books, and of the Spencer Collection.

Born and raised in Switzerland, Elizabeth E. Roth moved to the United States in May 1939. With the help of a Swiss professor at Brooklyn College, she attended the Institute of International Education and chose to pursue her studies at the University of Minnesota. There, she attended the University's School of Library Science and after three years graduated with honors.

Upon graduation, Roth was offered several positions and chose to work at the New York Public Library, starting in its Central Children's Room on Fifth and 42nd Street. In February 1947, she was offered a position as First Assistant in the Department of Prints, and became assistant to Karl Kup, who for three decades served as the NYPL's Keeper of Prints, of the Spencer Collection, and chief of the Art and Architecture Division. When Karl Kup retired from the NYPL in 1968, Roth took over his duties and was appointed Keeper of Prints in 1969. She also became keeper of the library's Spencer Collection, comprised of illustrated books, festival books, manuscripts, and fine bindings.

In 1969, Roth became a member of the Cosmopolitan Club. She was also a member of the Hroswitha Women Book Collectors Club in New York. Women book collectors, such as Mary Hyde, were members of this club before the Grolier Club changed its rules on the admittance of women as members.

After retiring in 1981, Roth divided her time between Zürich, Switzerland, and New York, where she was invited by Janet Byrne to pursue research at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Print Room, and then in the Thomas J. Watson Library, Roth prepared an annotated bibliography of festival books, a subject suggested to her by Karl Kup. In this annotated bibliography, Roth investigated not only the Spencer Collection's rich holdings in festival books, but also those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Pierpont Morgan Library, Paul Gourary's collection, Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (SKB), and the Zentralbibliothek, Zürich.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Elizabeth Roth research papers on festivals comprise Roth's extensive archive related to the preparation of her unpublished bibliography of festival books. The materials included are card catalogs, auction catalog clippings, dealers' catalogs, articles, conference papers, bibliographic references, and correspondence, with the bulk of the archive (30 boxes) containing notebooks of draft entries for a bibliography of festival books.

Elizabeth Roth prepared the bibliography assessing the holdings of the following institutional and private collections: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale; Biblioteca nazionale centrale di Firenze; the British Museum; the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence; the Getty Research Institute, Special Collections; the Hispanic Society of America, New York; Houghton Library, Harvard; Lipperheidesche Kostümbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; National Gallery of Art, Washington; New York Public Library, Spencer Collection; Paul Gourary; Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum, New York; and Staatliche Kunstbibliothek, Berlin.

Elizabeth Roth also drew extensively upon the holdings of the following book dealers: L'art ancien, Zürich; The Bookpress Ltd., Virginia; Christie's, London; E.P. Goldschmidt & Co., London; Galerie Bassenge, Berlin; H.P. Kraus, New York; Lathrop C. Harper, Inc.; Lucien Goldschmidt, New York; Bruce McKittrick, Philadelphia; Christian M. Nebehay, Vienna; Hellmut Schumann, Zürich; H. Tenner, Heidelberg; Ingo Nebehay/Robert Wagner; Bernard Quaritch Ltd., London; L.G. Roth; Libreria Antiquaria Soave, Turin; Maggs Bros. Ltd., London; Marlborough Rare Books Ltd., London; Müller-Graff; Myers & Co., London; Paul Breman Ltd., London; Sotheby's, London; Librairie Sourget, Chartres; Stanley Gibbons Antiquarian Books, London; Stuttgarter Antiquariats-Messe; William H. Schab Gallery, New York; William Salloch, Ossining; Swann Galleries, New York; and Ursus Books, New York.

The research papers assembled by Elizabeth Roth attest to the detailed investigation of designers, printmakers and other creators involved with the development of festivals in early modern Europe.


Arranged in three series:
Series I. Notebooks on festival books, 1957-2006;
Series II. Other research materials, 1956-2005;
Series III. Correspondence, 1981-2006.



Open for use by qualified researchers.

Publication Rights

Contact Library Reproductions and Permissions.

Indexing Terms

Subjects - Topics

Festivals -- History -- Bibliography
Illustrated books -- Bibliography
Roth, Elizabeth E. -- Correspondence


Roth, Elizabeth E.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Elizabeth Roth research papers on festivals, 1956-2006, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2007.M.16

Acquisition Information

Gift of Elizabeth E. Roth. Acquired in 2007.

Processing History

Preliminary processing performed by Vladimira Stefura. Jasmine Larkin completed the processing and wrote the finding aid in November 2012, under the supervision of Karen Meyer-Roux.

Container List

Series I. Notebooks on festival books, 1957-2006 6.27 Linear Feet (30 boxes)
Series I comprises draft entries for a bibliography of festival books, assembled in notebooks dedicated to France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and other countries. In these notebooks, Roth compares copies of festival books held in institutional and private collections, and by book dealers. Bibliographic differences are noted, such as paginations, illustrations, dedications, editions and printings. The sections on Germany and Italy also include catalog entries for festival books in the Spencer Collection at the NYPL.
Festival books in other countries are also surveyed, although in less depth: Austria (1723-1880), Belgium (1853-1856), Canada (1810), Denmark (1588-1749), England (1493-1937), Mexico (1760-1849), Norway (undated), Peru (1619), Poland (1669), Portugal (1582-1862), Russia (1742-1899), Spain (1513-1917), Sweden (1663-1845), and United States (1825-1913).
The series is arranged alphabetically by country and then in chronological order within each country. As per Roth's arrangement, festivals in Brussels and Antwerp held prior to the creation of Belgium (1830) are filed under the Netherlands, whereas festivals held in these cities after 1830 are filed under Belgium. Several countries, such as Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, were grouped together by Roth, and these groupings are filed according to their original order in the archive. Correspondence in these notebooks has been left in situ. For further correspondence, see Series III.
1 Austria, Belgium
1 Canada, Peru, United States
1 Denmark, Sweden, Norway
2 England
3-4 1493-1634
5-7 1645-1749
8-9 1750-1900
10 NYPL Spencer Collection, 1485-1958
11-12 1484-1673
13 1674-1699
14-15 1716-1846
16 1850-1958
17 NYPL Spencer Collection, 1591-1835
17-18 1499-1619
19-20 1620-1680
21-22 1680-1749
23-24 1750-1963
25-26 1515-1695
27-28 1700-1906
29 Russia, Poland
30 Spain, Portugal, Mexico
Series II. Other research materials, 1956-2005 0.69 Linear Feet (2 boxes)
Series II includes bibliographies, card catalogs, clippings from auction and dealers' catalogs, bibliographic references, Roth's annotated personal notebook and notecards, and articles and conference papers by other scholars.
The bibliographies are primarily of French and Italian festival books. Also present are bibliographies related to festival books from the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal, and other countries. There is also a bound photocopy of the Katalog der Lipperheideschen Kostümbibliothek (pages 635 through 720), annotated by Roth.
Filed by type of research materials.
box folder
31 1 General
31 2 France
31 3 Italy
31 4 Netherlands
31 5 Spain, Portugal
31 6-7 Lipperheidesche Kostümbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Auction catalog clippings and book dealers' holdings
box folder
31 8 E.P. Goldschmidt and Company, London, Catalog 171
31 9 Leona Rostenberg, New York
31 10 Lucien Goldschmidt and Company, New York, Catalog 57
31 11 Marlborough Rare Books Limited, London
31 12-13 Personal notebook
Annotated with notes on festivals, festival books, monarchies, conferences, artists, and references.
box folder
32 1-3 Articles
32 4 Conference papers
32 5-6 References
32 7-8 Newspaper and magazine clippings
32 9-11 Miscellaneous
Includes notes and photocopies on German script and black letter, paper definitions, measurement conversions, and a chart of the papal coat of arms.
Series III. Correspondence, 1981-2006 0.14 Linear Feet (1 box)
Series III contains correspondence of both a personal and official nature. While most of the correspondence from the archive can be found in Box 32, the correspondence in the notebooks was left in situ. For the correspondence related to festival prints by Herrera, which in fact comprises letters between Janet Byrne, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Eleanor M. Garvey, Houghton Library, see Series I, under Spain (Box 30).
Arrangement is alphabetical.
box folder
32 12 Antonucci, Emil
32 13 The Bookpress Ltd.
32 14 Bowles, Edmund A.
32 15 C.G. Boerner
32 16 Christie's
32 17 Hoffman, Léon-François
32 18 [Le Corbeiller], Clare
32 19 Reed, Marcia
32 20 Waddell, Roberta
32 21 Unidentified