Established in 1979, with the support of the Rutgers Advisory Council for Children’s Books and an initial grant from the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, the holdings of the Rutgers Collection span more than seventy years of American children’s book illustration and have grown to include over four thousand works by more than one hundred artists. Works in the collection date from the late 1920s to the present. Representation of individual artists in the collection varies greatly, from as little as one illustration to hundreds of objects. Many artists are represented by at least one book with preparatory materials, or by representative samplings from several works.
The mission of the Rutgers Collection is to collect, preserve, study, and make accessible examples of an art form that is often a child’s first introduction to the fine arts. Research, exhibitions, and activities related to the collection reflect the belief that examining the artist’s process enhances understanding and deepens appreciation of a finished book, and of illustrated materials in general. In order to fulfill its mission, the Rutgers Collection acquires materials that reveal the process of creating an illustrated book for children, from notes, sketches and manuscripts to full-color illustrations and finished books.
The Zimmerli Art Museum offers an ongoing program of exhibitions from the Rutgers Collection in a specially designated gallery, and an outreach program entitled Creating a Children’s Book, based on materials from the collection designed for regional schools. The collection is available for scholarly study by appointment at the Morse Research Center for Graphic Arts and through university classes and lectures. Manuscripts associated with the Rutgers Collection are maintained by the Special Collections Department of the Archibald Alexander Library, also on the Rutgers College Avenue Campus in New Brunswick, and are available for study by appointment.
Information about the Rutgers Collection is not yet available electronically. For more information please visit zimmerli museum.