Collecting for the Winterthur Library


The Winterthur Library is a center for advanced research in America’s artistic, material culture, and social history from the 17th into the mid-20th century.

The library collects imprints, trade catalogs, periodicals, auction catalogs, manuscripts, prints, original works of art on paper, pieces of ephemera, unpublished monographs, photographs, microforms, and multimedia resources.

Because Winterthur considers these varied resources as part cultural artifacts, part research tools, the library has been actively acquiring such materials for more than 50 years with an eye for their usefulness on many levels. The result is an assemblage that researchers can peruse and interpret in ways limited only by the sorts of questions they ask of it.

The library focuses on the documentation of American household goods and their use, decorative arts and design, and the material culture of everyday life in America from the 17th through the early 20th centuries. Particular strengths include architecture and design books, both printed and manuscript diaries and travel narratives, children's books, women's magazines, the literature of domestic economy and etiquette, periodicals that promote or describe lifestyles, city directories and guidebooks, handwritten personal and business accounts in the form of diaries, family papers, tax records, and letter books of craftspeople and merchants, original drawings (architectural, artistic, and amateur), wills and household inventories, children's toys and games, scrapbooks, and fabric swatch books.

We welcome hearing from anyone who would like to assist in developing the holdings of the library.  You may contact us at

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