Collecting for the Library

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

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periodicals, auction catalogs, manuscripts, prints, original works of art on paper, printed and manuscript ephemera, unpublished monographs, photographs, microforms, and multimedia resources.

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, 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.

Anyone who would like to assist in developing the holdings of the library may contact us at, 302-888-4681, or if mailing, at Winterthur Library, 5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur, DE 19735.

Gifts that enhance the library's holdings are welcome. Potential donors should discuss the nature of possible gifts with library staff in advance. Library staff evaluates potential donations just as they do purchases to ensure relevance to the needs of the library and reserves the right to accept or decline gifts, in whole or in part, based on collection development criteria. All gifts become the property of Winterthur Library. At the discretion of the library staff, items not accepted for the collections will be returned to the donor, offered to another library, sold, or discarded. Determining the value of a gift is the responsibility of the donor, as Winterthur staff is not permitted to provide written or oral appraisals. Formal acknowledgements are sent to donors for their gifts. To those who donate, many thanks for helping us develop the collections of the Winterthur Library.

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