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Loring, Rosamond B. (Rosamond Bowditch), 1889-1950, collector. Rosamond B. Loring collection of decorated papers: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Lamont Map Room
Call No.: 52L-1000
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Loring, Rosamond B. (Rosamond Bowditch), 1889-1950, collector.
Title: Rosamond B. Loring collection of decorated papers,
Date(s): 1500-1950.
Quantity: 1 collection (circa 33 linear feet (141 boxes)
Quantity: Extent is approximate.
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: This collection of decorated papers consists chiefly of marbled, paste, Dutch gilt, flocked, and printed papers, including some made by Mrs. Loring.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

52L-1000. Bequest of Rosamond Loring, who died 17 September 1950; received: 1952.

Processing history:

According to a letter written to Olga Hirsch in 1939, Loring organized the collection into these categories: Paste, Marble, Early Printed, Modern Printed, Douglas Cockerell, Oriental, her own papers, book covers, Ingeborg Börjesson, W.C. Doebbelin, and Modern Pictorial Endpapers. She mounted many papers on thin cardboard, and stored them in flat portfolio boxes.
At Houghton Library the collection was reboxed and refoldered ca. 1980 by Dennis Marnon and Doris Freitag, who also attempted to recreate the order and categories of papers as discussed in Loring's Decorated book papers. A finding list was created with one line of description for each of the 57 boxes.
In 2002 the decision was made to rehouse the collection in boxes and folders that met current conservation standards. For the same reason, and to conserve space on the shelves, the papers were removed from the cardboard backings. Any annotations by Loring on the backings were photocopied and the copies stored in the folders with the papers to which they relate. Notes on the folders include: transcriptions of Loring's notes when present (upper left corner); series and folder number (upper right corner); and cataloger's description and number of pieces in the folder (lower edge). Processing and cataloging in 2002-2007 were done by Susanne Olson, Audrey Jawando, J. F. Coakley, Quang Anh Duong, and Olympia Sosangelis.

Conditions Governing Access:

Restricted: Access requires the permission of the Curator of Printing and Graphic Arts.
Examination is by appointment with the Department of Printing and Graphic Arts.

Conditions Governing Use:

Reproductions for publication must be ordered through Houghton Library from Harvard College Library Imaging Services. Permission to publish or distribute images of papers must be sought from the Department of Printing and Graphic Arts.

Preferred Citation:

Cite whole collection as: Rosamond B. Loring Collection of Decorated Papers (52L-1000). Houghton Library, Harvard University.
Cite individual pieces of paper as: Rosamond B. Loring Collection of Decorated Papers, Houghton Library, 52L-1000, [series no.].[folder no.],[piece no.].

Related Materials

Loring's bequest to Houghton Library included her library of paper sample books, books about decorated paper, and books containing examples of decorated papers. These are classified as *52L-1 through *52L-713. Additional books and paper samples have been given by her family or purchased on a fund endowed in her name and are also classed under *52L.

Separated Materials

The portion of the decorated paper collection that consists of Modern Pictorial Endleaves, that is, printed endleaves from 20th-century commercial editions, is cataloged separately as: Rosamond B. Loring Collection of Printed Endpapers (*52L-1001).

Biographical / Historical

Rosamond B. Loring (1889-1950) was a maker, collector, and historian of decorated papers. She was the author of Marbled papers (1933); Decorated book papers (1942; 2nd ed., with additional material, 1952; 4th ed., with additional material, 2007);"Colored Paste Papers", The New Colophon 2/5 (January 1949): 33-40; Marbled and Paste Papers: Rosamond Loring's Recipe Book [facsimile ed.] (2007).


The following are referred to in this finding aid by author's name or short title: Other sample books referred to in this finding aid are in the Rosamond B. Loring collection in Houghton Library, with call-numbers as follows:


Organized into the following series: Items are numbered within each series. For example, IV.3 is the 3rd item in series IV. Except for series I subseries F, all items consist of one folder. The letter a, b, or c before an item number denotes the size of the folder for that item. (Folders of the same size are boxed together.) a = 38 x 29 cm.; b= 61 x 46 cm.; c= 76 x 61 cm. Some oversize items in series I marked "d" are in a box 106 x 80 cm.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains approximately 10,000 pieces of historical decorated paper, dating from the 16th century to the mid-20th century. Principal categories are marbled papers, paste papers, Dutch gilt and flocked papers, and printed papers. Most papers are European in origin, but there is a selection of Asian papers. The collection includes marbled and paste papers made by Loring herself and by her student Veronica Ruzicka, as well as papers made by a number of her contemporaries. There is a selection of the tools used by Loring to make marbled and paste papers.

Container List