The Helen Farr Sloan Library is fortunate to have special collections that add depth and distinction to key research areas of the Library’s collection. These special collections are available for use by researchers and are fully accessible from the Library’s online catalog.
The Howard Pyle Library Collection
The Howard Pyle Library Collection includes a nearly comprehensive selection of Howard Pyle’s illustrated books as well as many works from Pyle’s personal library of reference works. The Library is also fortunate to have many of the illustrated works from Pyle’s most accomplished students. The collections of illustrated works from the students of Pyle include: N.C. Wyeth, Frank Schoonover, and Gayle Hoskins. The Howard Pyle Library Collection contains over 600 volumes and the illustrated works of his students number over 300 volumes.
The Bancroft Library Collection
The Bancroft Library Collection consists of over 600 books and periodicals from the personal libraries of Samuel Bancroft, Jr. and his son, Joseph Bancroft. Samuel’s library was not focused exclusively on the Pre-Raphaelites; he also collected books on the old masters, fine illustrated books, and sets of engravings. The library was enlarged after his death by Joseph, who continued his father’s collecting of the Pre-Raphaelites but was also interested in William Blake and in fine printing. He was a member of the Grolier Club and the Limited Editions Club and added their publications to the library, which was given in 1935 to the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts. In 1940 Joseph’s widow gave approximately 75 additional books from her late husband’s collection.
The John Sloan Library Collection
The John Sloan Library Collection is comprised of major elements of John Sloan’s personal book collection, including works he illustrated as well as materials added since the donation of the collection by Helen Farr Sloan in 1978. John Sloan’s own book collection provides an insight into the life and milieu of one of America’s greatest artists of the first half of the 20th century. The materials added to the collection include treatises, monographs, and exhibition catalogues that focus on John Sloan, “The Eight”, or the Ashcan School of American art. The Library Collection currently numbers over 2,600 volumes.
The M. G. Sawyer Collection of Decorative Bindings
The M. G. Sawyer Collection of Decorative Bindings consists of over 3,000 books with decorative American and British publishers’ bindings, dating from the mid-19th through early-20th centuries, donated by Mary Sawyer in 2009.