Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America

Archives related to: Adler, Elmer, 1884-1962

titleCollection of papers relating to the estate of Elmer Adler, 1934-1964 (bulk 1962-1964).
locationGrolier Club
collection titleCorrespondence of executors of the Adler Estate, Grolier Club members John M. Crawford and Edward Naumberg, with the law firm Strasser, Spiegelberg, Fried & Frank (1962-1964). Includes financial material. Also printed ephemera, including tributes and obituaries, photographs of Adler and of Casa del Libro in San Juan. The ephemera includes a small amount of material from Pynson Printers. Also letters of thanks from recipients of Norman H. Strouse's The lengthened shadow.

Elmer Adler worked in his family's clothing firm in Rochester, N.Y. while developing an avocation as a book and print collector. In 1922 he came to New York City and established the Pynson Printers; he began to makea reputation as a book designer. Adler served as a typographic consultant to several magazines and to The New York Times. From 1930 to 1940 he published The colophon : a book collector's quarterly. In 1940 he was invited to establish a Department of Graphic Arts at Princeton University. Three years after his retirement from Princeton in 1955, he was asked to establish an art-of-the-book program in Puerto Rico. La Casa del Libro, a museum and design center, opened in 1956, and Adler was associated with it until his death on January 11, 1962.
extent1 box (.25 linear ft.) 4 photographs (20 cm. X 25 cm.)
formatsCorrespondence Financial Records Ephemera Photographs Printed Materials
accessContact repository for restrictions and policies.
record source
finding aidUnpublished finding aid available in repository; folder level control
updated01/28/2019 15:36:21

titleElmer Adler Papers, 1651-1961 (bulk 1925-1955) ©2007 Princeton University Library
locationPrinceton University
collection titleConsists of the personal papers of Adler as well as the business archives of two of his adventures in graphic arts, the Pynson Printers and THE COLOPHON. Included is correspondence relating to his early interest in graphic arts through L. Adler Brothers & Co., a family-owned clothing manufacturer, and the Memorial Art Gallery, both of Rochester, N.Y. Subsequent career developments, outside of New York, are also documented, including Adler’s tenure as Curator of Graphic Arts at Princeton (1940-1952), a department which he was instrumental in creating, his educational lecture tours, and the establishment of La Casa del Libro, a typographical museum in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There is also an autograph collection of 18th and 19th-century material, including New York and Massachusetts deeds.

The business archives of Pynson Printers, Adler’s printing enterprise, consist primarily of press jobs. These jobs range from simple advertisements to complete publication and production of books and are all examples of fine printing. The progression of many of these productions, especially the COLOPHON, is documented through correspondence; the finances of this press is revealed through voucher files, check stubs, and numerous ledgers. The COLOPHON archives consist primarily of correspondence from readers, contributors, and the presses that printed many of the signatures for the earlier editions. A large part of this reflects the economic situation of the 1930s. There are also several boxes of original manuscripts and financial statements.

Adler’s great personal involvement in all of his undertakings prevents a clear-cut division between his private life and business endeavors. He maintained both personal and professional relationships with important figures in the graphic arts and publishing fields, including Alfred A. Knopf, Bennett Cerf, Dard Hunter, Rockwell Kent, John T. Winterich, Al Stanford, and Arthur Sulzberger. His work, especially BREAKING INTO PRINT, brought him in contact with many well-known authors, such as Willa Cather, Robert Benchley, H. L. Mencken, Christopher Morley, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Throughout the collection there is correspondence representing many private and commercial presses and book clubs, most notably, the New York Times, Random House, the Carteret Book Club, the Grolier Club, and the Limited Editions Club.

Biographical/Historical note:
Adler was a printer, publisher, editor, and author. He founded The Pynson Printers (New York) in 1922, helped found Random House in 1927, and founded THE COLOPHON in 1930 and the NEW COLOPHON in 1947.

Location: Rare Books: Manuscripts Collection (MSS)
Call number: C0262
extent211 linear feet
formatsBusiness Papers Personal Papers Writings Correspondence Ephemera
accessCollection is open for research use.
record link
record source
finding aidFinding aid in repository and on repository's Web site. Finding Aid Published in 2006, ©2007 Princeton University Library
updated11/12/2014 11:30:01