Finding aid for the Elizabeth Roth research papers on festivals, 1956-2006
Title: Elizabeth Roth research papers on festivals
Date (inclusive): 1956-2006
7.1 Linear Feet
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles 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 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.
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
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
Subjects - Topics
Festivals -- History -- Bibliography
Illustrated books -- Bibliography
Roth, Elizabeth E. -- Correspondence
Notebooks on festival books,
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
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
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,
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,
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.
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.