Posts Tagged 'The Mildred R. and Frederick M. Mayer Library'

As the Page Turns

Have you ever looked up information online and discovered that what you were looking for is in a published book, but after a few clicks found out that the book is not actually available online? Perhaps this was your experience—at first it appears that the publisher has made some parts of the book available, and you start browsing it, but just when you get to the good part, the online content stops! That happens a lot with art books, which are usually the best kind of books to browse in person. Nothing can replicate the experience of holding a book in your hand, especially an art book that has a beautiful hardcover binding, sturdy paper, lovely images, and reliable information. There is also a certain thrill of discovery when you are browsing in a library of any kind, and you find out something new that you would not have known otherwise. It can make your day!

In the DMA’s Mayer Library, thanks to a team-based summer moving project, you can now browse 500 more books than before, along with literally thousands of art magazine issues dating from the 1800s up to today. In order to make the items available, new shelves were added and the staff moved almost everything to new locations—over 60,000 items from 2,241 shelves! The library adds an average of 1,500 items every year, but most of them are stored in closed stacks—that means the books are available on request; however, the good news is that as soon as the books are processed and in the online catalog, we display them in a New Books area. New titles are on view every week, so no matter when or how often you visit the library, there is always something new and exciting to discover. Within this expanded browsing area, you can also now find publications by the DMA all together right at the front of the library, along with the current exhibition catalogs. If you don’t see what you’re looking for in the reading room, our reference librarian on duty will be happy to help you find it. We plan to keep adding items to our reading room selection, and your question might help us do that. We look forward to welcoming you to the library—see you soon!

Jacqueline Allen is the Mildred R. and Frederick M. Mayer Director of Libraries at the DMA.

Shelf Life

In celebration of National Library Week, we are taking a tour of The Mildred R. and Frederick M. Mayer Library, the DMA’s art research library located on the second mezzanine level.

Established in 1936, the collection opened to the public in 1944, and over time has grown as an essential resource for use by DMA staff, docents, and the public.

Library at Fair Park, circa 1940s-1950s

In 1993, the Hamon Wing of the DMA opened and the library moved into its current space.

At the library’s entrance there is a display case used to highlight items from the library’s collection.

Currently in the display case is Temporada de lluvias: 360⁰ panoramas of the Maya lowlands by Phillip Hofstetter with poems by David Freidel. Three-foot-long pages reproduce photographs of ancient Maya ruins. The book is covered in Maya bark and banana leaf and bound with Maya sisal twine.

Entering the reading room, visitors sign in and can peruse new exhibition catalogues and art magazines, browse through reference books, or take a moment to reflect in one of the three alcoves with a view of the Fleischner Courtyard and downtown. This Webster’s unabridged dictionary from 1946 is very popular!

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In the library you can view paintings on local subjects by Texas artists from the DMA’s collection, including Scene of Three Murders by Julie Bozzi, which is about three unrelated murders at the same location on the Trinity River, and the hyperrealist Looking North, Fort Worth 1999 by J.T. Grant, See all works on display in the library through the online collection.

Originally established from gifts and the purchase of 1,400 titles, today the library has over 100,000 volumes supporting research on all areas of the Museum’s encyclopedic art collection. The majority of the materials are stored in areas not open to the public. Here are a few examples of what you can request to view in the library:

Moveable stacks housing the library’s non-circulating collection.

With many rare items in the collection, one of the oldest and rarest books is a Bible in Latin published in 1526 with woodblock printed illustrations. Fewer than 20 other institutions in the world own this edition.

A few rare books from the Locked Case section of the library stacks.

The full title of this bible is Biblia cum concordantiis Veteris et Novi Testamenti et sacrorum canonum : necnon et additionibus in marginibus varietatis diversorum textuum : ac etiam canonibus antiquis quattuor Evangeliorum : novissime autem additae sunt concordantiae ex viginti libris Iosephi De antiquitatibus et Bello Iudaico excerptae que solerti cura nuperrime repurgata est et excusa : in qua pluribus scatebat mendis, published by [Lyons] : Venundatur Lugdun[um] in ædibus Iacobi Mareschal Prope Nostre Dame de Confort, 1526.

There are 20,000 vertical files on local and international, well-known and lesser-known artists. Artists files contain handwritten notes, resumes, clippings, photos, exhibition announcements, press release,s and other small ephemera compiled over the last 60 years.

Items from the artist file on Otis Dozier (1904-1987), a prominent Texas artist.

Though current issues of art magazines and auction catalogs are available in the Reading Room, there are approximately 350 serials and 20,000 auction catalogs dating back to 1945 also located in storage.

At the heart of the library, sometimes-unnoticed behind walls and desks are the keeper, organizers and preservers of the DMA’s extensive research collection. This small, dedicated band of librarians and catalogers serve over 4,000 patrons per year, including students working on research papers, area appraisers, scholars researching items in the DMA collection, and individuals who want to learn more about the artist in their personal collections.

Pictured here are not the current librarians, but the card catalog is still in the library.

Be sure to stop by and check out the Mayer Library.

Pauline Martin is the Assistant Librarian at the Dallas Museum of Art.


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