The Collection of Printed Books and Periodicals
The Collection of Printed Books and Periodicals contains more than 100,000 volumes in open stacks adjacent to the main reading room and about 20,000 rare American and European imprints in closed stacks. The collection focuses on the documentation of American household goods and their use, decorative arts and design, and the material culture of everyday life in America from the 17th through the early 20th centuries.
The holdings of rare books are particularly strong in architecture and design books; travel narratives; American painting and graphics; children's books; descriptions of craft techniques; women's magazines and the literature of domestic economy and etiquette; periodicals that promote or describe lifestyles; and city directories and guidebooks. A sizable portion of the rare book collection offers insights into the European antecedents that informed American taste and design. American and British manufacturers' and retailers' trade catalogs provide an invaluable record of product designs, technological developments, and marketing strategies.
In addition to monographs, rare books, serials, and trade catalogs, the Collection of Printed Books and Periodicals offers currently published periodicals as well as auction and exhibition catalogues.
The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera
Named for Winterthur's first curator, the Downs Collection contains about 3,000 record groups. Downs consists almost exclusively of primary research materials, including personal and business accounts in the form of diaries, family papers, tax records, and letter books of craftspeople and merchants. In addition, the Downs Collection contains drawings (architectural, artistic, and amateur); wills and household inventories; children's toys and games; scrapbooks and journals; and fabric swatch books. An extensive microform collection, including copies of material owned by other public repositories and private individuals, supplements the manuscript holdings.
An important complement to the Downs Collection is the Edward Deming Andrews Memorial Shaker Collection, named to honor America's pioneer Shaker scholar. The collection features manuscripts, books, and visual materials related to the Shakers as well as the research archives compiled by Dr. Andrews and his wife, Faith.
The Visual Resources Collection
Visual Resources is made up of tens of thousands of photographs in the Decorative Arts Photographic Collection (DAPC) and the Photographic Index of American Art and Design (PIAAD).
DAPC is a unique research resource of photographs of decorative arts objects made and used in America prior to 1920 and now located in public and private collections throughout the United States and England. DAPC documents the work of individual craftsmen, workshops, and manufactories. Images of furniture and silver are particular strengths. Indexes in the collection provide basic biographical and bibliographical information on craft workers compiled from newspaper advertisements, city directories, and major secondary sources. Winterthur’s Boston Furniture Archive, a growing online resource on furniture produced in Boston from 1630 to 1930, has digitized relevant photographs and catalog information from DAPC.
PIAAD is the fine arts counterpart to DAPC. It contains photographs of American paintings, sculpture, graphic arts, drawings, Fraktur, gravestones, and architecture.
The Winterthur Archives
The Archives records the creation and development of Winterthur as a private estate and a public museum. The archives includes papers relating to Winterthur compiled by Henry Francis du Pont and his immediate family, as well as the records of Winterthur Farms and administrative documents of the museum.
The Archives documents a period of collecting and patronage, evolving attitudes toward museum display rooms in the 20th century, and aspects of early 20th-century taste in landscape design. Materials include autochrome views of the Winterthur garden and landscape, architectural drawings reflecting the development of Winterthur and its ultimate transition from home to public museum, and H. F. du Pont's correspondence with antiques dealers from the 1920s to 1969, the year he died.