Category Archives: Research Services

Avery Library Remembers Our Veterans

Today is Veterans Day. Avery Library has a great deal of material related to monuments, memorials and military architecture.

Our Drawings & Archives collection has Henry Ogden Avery‘s competition entry for a memorial for Ulysses S. Grant  [unbuilt] as well as drawings by Harold Van Buren Magonigle for a World War I Veterans Memorial in New Britain, Connecticut.

Our Classics Collection has a privately printed 1881 pamphlet on the Veteran’s Room at the 7th Regiment Armory in NYC.

We also have material on World War II memorials, Korean War monuments, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and information on military base retrofits.

We honor our veterans and their service by preserving this material and making it available for research.   







Outsider Art books at Avery

In addition to traditional subjects in Art History, Avery Library also collects books on the strange, unsettling world of Outsider Art.  Outsider art is a term used to describe art created by untrained artists who create works outside the boundaries of official culture.

Here are a few examples of some current titles we have received:

Klaus Biesenbach, editor.
Henry Darger.
Munich ; New York : Prestel in cooperation with the American Folk Art Museum, 2009.
Avery Fine Arts:  ND239 D239 H38

The iconic American outsider artist is presented here in a new critical light, locating him for the first time as a major figure in the history of contemporary art.  Self-taught and working in isolation until his death in 1973, Henry Darger realized an elaborate fantasy world of remarkable beauty and strangeness, through hundreds of paintings and an epic written narrative. This book examines the radical originality of Darger’s art, including his use of collage, incorporation of religious themes and iconography, and frequent juxtaposition of innocence with violence.


Martina Weinhart and Max Hollein, editors.
Weltenwandler : die Kunst der Outsider = World transformers : the art of the outsiders.
Frankfurt : Schirn Kunsthalle : Ostfildern : Hatje Cantz, 2010.
Avery Fine Arts: N6494 P7 W46

This book presents a wide range of art by artists working beyond the bounds of conventional artistic production, ranging from the nineteenth century to the present day, including the dream worlds of Swiss artist Aloise; the precise mathematical utopias of George Widener; and the "Ewigkeitenendeland" (End-of-Eternities Land) of Austrian artist August Walla. Others represented here are A.C.M., Emery Blagdon, Darger, Auguste Forestier, Magde Gill, Karl Junker, Friedrich Schroder-Sonnenstern, Judith Scott, Oskar Voll, Adolf Wolfli and Birgit Ziegert.


Jill Mullin.
Drawing autism.
New York : Mark Batty Publisher, 2009.
Avery Fine Arts: N71 M93

First identified in 1943, autism has over the last decade become an international topic of conversation. Drawing Autism celebrates the artistry and self-expression found in the drawings, paintings, and collages created by people diagnosed with autism. The work of over fifty contributors exhibits an array of unique perspectives on how these individuals see the world and their place in it.



The drawings of the electric pencil.
[New York?] : Electric Pencil Press, 2010.
Avery-LC: N7432.5 .A78 D73 2010g

Around the year 1910, a patient at State Lunatic Asylum No. 3 in Nevada, Missouri, who referred to himself as The Electric Pencil, executed 280 drawings in ink, pencil, crayon and colored pencil. These beautiful drawings of animals, people and buildings were executed on both sides of 140 ledger pages, each bearing the name of the hospital in official type across the top, thus dramatizing the interface of the institutional and the creative.  His many portraits–head-and-shoulders or just heads–feature formal, sometimes dazed-looking men and women with elaborate hats or razor-parted hair who stare out of the page with wide, piercing eyes in a manner that suggests both a possible chilling regime of "mental health" treatment and the unblinking, unsettling gaze of those who haunt the margins of sanity and society.

–by Paula Gabbard, Fine Arts Librarian; Chris Sala, Architecture Librarian; Jeffrey Ross, Indexer/Reference Librarian



Avery Real Estate Brochures in NY Times

Today’s New York Times has an article by Diane Cardwell about Manhattan real estate booms and busts which uses brochures and marketing materials from the Avery Library New York Real Estate Brochure Collection

The collection was donated by Yale Robbins, Henry Robbins, and David Magier in 1986. It consists of over 9,200 advertising brochures, floor plans, price lists, and related materials that document residential and commercial real estate development in the five boroughs of New York and outlying vicinities from the 1920s to the 1970s.


Avery Library Welcomes Students!!

Welcome to Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library! 

The Avery Library  homepage has a lot of useful information including hours, services, subject and research guides, and information on our departments including Drawings & Archives, Avery Classics Collection (Rare Books) and the Avery Index .

We are also on Facebook and Twitter so "like" us and follow us!







You can now access Sanborn maps easily through the new ProQuest Sanborn Maps Geo Edition!

Check it out: go to Library Web and select Databases. Do this simple keyword search: "sanborn proquest geo" and click on the link. Under "To Get Started" you can search by an address or simply choose a location by clicking on the link "Browse to a location" and choose a city from the alphabetical list that appears. You click on any location on the map that appears and the Sanborn map for that specific spot will download, with a choice of years to view and compare.

About Geo and Sanborn: ProQuest Sanborn Maps Geo Edition (1867-1970) provides digital access to thousands of large-scale maps of American towns and cities, searchable by address and GPS coordinates.

Sanborn fire insurance maps are the most frequently consulted maps in libraries. Founded in 1867 by D.A. Sanborn, the Sanborn Map Company was the primary American publisher of fire insurance maps for nearly 100 years.

By applying the latest in geo-referencing technology to the collections, Sanborn Maps Geo Edition allows for increased discovery and greater ease of use that can unlock the histories of urban America.

–by Jeffrey Ross, Avery Indexer/Reference Librarian



Burlington Magazine Online Index Now Available

Burlington Magazine Publications Ltd. has created an Online Index which includes the entire content of The Burlington Magazine dating from March 1903 to December 1987, with additional coverage to 2002 in progress. The Burlington Magazine has been a major source of scholarly art historical research since its inception, and has been indexed to a greater or lesser extent by commercial and academic indexing services including the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals (1903-2011), Art Retrospective and Art Full Text (1929-2011), Bibliography of the History of Art/International Bibliography of Art (1972-2006), ArtBibliographies Modern (1973-2011), and others.

The Burlington Magazine Online Index is free to use, subject to free registration (a Columbia email account and a password), and allows access to JSTOR’s scanned, full-text articles and illustrations of the magazine (currently 1948-2005 for JSTOR coverage). Searches can be conducted by content and by illustrations. Print copies of The Burlington Magazine are accessible on open shelves in Avery Library (N1 B925).

–by Barbara Sykes-Austin, Avery Indexer/Reference Librarian


Avery Library’s Laura Trujillo Wins Information Services Student Employee of the Year Award

We are pleased to announce that Avery Library’s own Laura Trujillo has won one of the Information Services Student Employee of the Year Awards, presented by the Columbia University Libraries Staff Recognition Committee. 

Laura has worked at Avery Library since her very first days as a Columbia University student and will be graduating with a degree in biology.  Juggling a rigorous pre-med courseload and serving as a crew chief for CAVA, the Columbia University Emergency Medical Service, Laura still found time to excel in her employment at Avery Library, providing excellent service for students, faculty, and staff alike.  While she will be missed here at Avery Library, Laura is moving on to bigger and brighter things as she will be attending the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota, in the fall. 

 Please join us in thanking Laura for all her hard work these last four years.

–by Zak Rouse, Access Supervisor

Avery Display of Recent Acquisitions

Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library will host it’s sixth annual Reception & Display of Recent Acquisitions on Monday, May 16th 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

This event showcases some of the most extraordinary, significant and beautiful books, drawings and art works that have been added to Avery collections this past academic year. On view will be selections from: Avery Classics (rare books), Drawings & Archives, Art Properties, and Avery’s research collections in architecture and fine arts. Also included are selections from our colleagues in Area Studies who help Avery build a truly global collection on art and architectural topics from world regions such as Africa, Eurasia, Eastern Europe, South and Southeast Asia among others.

Join us for this once-a-year visual treat and celebration of Avery’s collections!

Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library now has a blog!

Welcome to the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library blog where we will post frequent updates on our collections, special events, digital projects as well as notices about ‘Avery on the road’ — Avery archival and rare collections on exhibit around the world, ‘Avery in the news’ — reviews and commentary from Avery staff about Avery topics in worldwide news outlets, ‘Avery Index to architectural periodicals’ — updates on our coverage, services, and new features