Penn Libraries Receive Gotham Book Mart Collection

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Media Contact:Joe Zucca | zucca@upenn.edu | 215-573-4643
Media Contact:Jeanne Leong | jleong@upenn.edu | 215-573-8151December 19, 2008

University of Pennsylvania Libraries Receive Gotham Book Mart Collection

PHILADELPHIA –- The University of Pennsylvania Libraries are now home to some 200,000 items from New York’s landmark Gotham Book Mart, which closed last year. The collection is primarily modern and contemporary poetry and literature, but it also includes works on art, architecture, jewelry, music, dance and film.
“We’re honored to steward the collection and give it new life as an academic resource,” said Carton Rogers, vice provost and director of libraries, said.
When the Gotham Book Mart closed, the disposition of its contents was in question. But thanks to an anonymous donor, the collection will round out the Rare Book and Manuscript Library collection already rich in pre-1850 antiquarian materials.
The wide ranging collection includes many first editions, books from small presses, experimental literary magazines, outsider literature published by Black Sparrow Press and poetry published by St. Mark’s Church. There are books from the personal libraries of Truman Capote and Anais Nin. The collection comprises proofs, advance copies, pamphlets, photographs, posters, reference works, catalogs, broadsides, prints and postcards. There are items signed by Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Robinson Jeffers, Woody Allen, Wallace Stevens and John Updike.
At Penn, modernist scholars will make use of the Gotham materials as part of undergraduate assignments and for research at the graduate level.
The Penn Libraries will also work with faculty and researchers to identify materials to be digitized so the Gotham Book Mart Collection will be available to a wider audience.