Finding aid for the Elizabeth Roth research papers on festivals, 1956-2006
Finding aid prepared by Jasmine Larkin
Title: Elizabeth Roth research papers on festivals
Date (inclusive): 1956-2006
Roth, Elizabeth E.
7.1 linear feet
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
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 New York Public Library.
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Language: Collection material is in
German, with some
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.
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Elizabeth Roth research papers on festivals, 1956-2006, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2007.M.16
Gift of Elizabeth E. Roth. Acquired in 2007.
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.
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.
Subjects - Topics
Roth, Elizabeth E.--Correspondence
Notebooks on festival books,
6.27 linear feet
Scope and Content Note
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.
Canada, Peru, United States
NYPL Spencer Collection, 1485-1958
NYPL Spencer Collection, 1591-1835
Other research materials,
0.69 linear feet
Scope and Content Note
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 31, Folder 6-7
Lipperheidesche Kostümbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Auction catalog clippings and book dealers' holdings
Box 31, Folder 8
E.P. Goldschmidt and Company, London, Catalog 171
Box 31, Folder 9
Leona Rostenberg, New York
Box 31, Folder 10
Lucien Goldschmidt and Company, New York, Catalog 57
Box 31, Folder 11
Marlborough Rare Books Limited, London
Box 31, Folder 12-13
Scope and Content Note
Annotated with notes on festivals, festival books, monarchies, conferences, artists, and references.
Box 32, Folder 7-8
Newspaper and magazine clippings
Box 32, Folder 9-11
Scope and Content Note
Includes notes and photocopies on German script and black letter, paper definitions, measurement conversions, and a chart
of the papal coat of arms.
0.14 linear feet
Scope and Content Note
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.