Rare Book & Manuscript Library Acquires Philip Grushkin Collection

Grushkin (1921-1998) was a major book designer working in New York publishing from the 1940s through the 1980s. He was also art director and vice president at the art publisher Harry N. Abrams where he oversaw art direction of H.W. Janson’s /The History of Art /(1962), among many other works. He taught calligraphy at Cooper Union from 1946 to 1968 and taught book design at New York University from 1948 through the 1970s. He also served as Director of Book Design at the Radcliffe Course in Publishing Procedures, Harvard Summer School.

The collection contains over 2,000 items, including book jackets with related artwork comps, roughs and mechanicals, documentation of his cover designs for Mercury Publications, letterhead and logo designs, and a large collection of book jackets by George Salter (1897-1967), an inspiration, and later teacher and mentor of Grushkin’s. 

Also included are design documentation and ephemera for many significant books of the time, including The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir (Knopf, 1953); From Cave Painting to Comic Strip by Lancelot Hogben (Chanticleer, 1949), Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis (Harcourt Brace, 1955), and Here is New York by E.B. White, (Harper, 1949). 

The material joins other collections in the RBML which document design and publication, notably the papers of book designer Ernst Reichl (1899-1981), the archives of Overbrook Press (active 1934-1969), the papers of George Macy (1916-1970) and the archives of the Limited Editions Club and the Heritage Press.    

“The archive has great research and teaching value because it covers such a long period during the heyday of hand lettering in jacket design, and includes jackets by two major figures, Salter as well as Grushkin,” said Jane Rodgers Siegel, Rare Book Librarian at RBML.  “This will also enrich the RBML’s large holdings related to publishing and the printing industry.”   

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 13 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff and hosts over 4.7 million visitors each year.  The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.