The collector was encouraged in his interest by Herbert Mitchell, retired Avery bibliographer, whom he met at an Ephemera Society of America conference, when the latter was assembling for Avery Library what is now the largest collection of catalogs of the American building trades in existence. "We are extremely grateful to Robert Biggert for his outstanding expertise and generosity," said Claudia Funke, Curator of Rare Books. "This material complements perfectly Avery’s extensive collections of American trade catalogs and city and town view books. Together the three form an unrivalled resource for understanding American architecture, industry, and urbanism."
The collection, which is fully arranged by state, city, and company, is available to researchers by appointment in the Avery Classics rare book reading room.
Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 65,650 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/ is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.
The Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library is one of the most comprehensive collections relating to architecture and the fine arts in the world. Avery collects a full range of primary and secondary sources for the advanced study of architecture, historic preservation, art history, decorative arts, city planning, real estate, and archeology. The Library contains more than 400,000 volumes, including 35,000 rare books, and receives approximately 1,000 periodicals. Avery’s Drawings and Archives collection includes one million architectural drawings and records. The Library is home to the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, an operating program of the Getty Research Institute, which is the only comprehensive American guide to the current literature of architecture and design.