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Roth (Elizabeth) Research Papers on Festivals
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical / Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Elizabeth Roth research papers on festivals
    Date (inclusive): 1956-2006
    Number: 2007.M.16
    Creator/Collector: Roth, Elizabeth E.
    Physical Description: 7.1 Linear Feet (32 boxes)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: 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 the New York Public Library.
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    Language: Collection material is in English and German, with some French and Italian.

    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.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Elizabeth Roth research papers on festivals, 1956-2006, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2007.M.16

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Elizabeth E. Roth. Acquired in 2007.

    Processing History

    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.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Topics

    Festivals -- History -- Bibliography
    Illustrated books -- Bibliography
    Roth, Elizabeth E. -- Correspondence


    Roth, Elizabeth E.