A Finding Aid to the Ex Libris Records, 1973-2007, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.exlibr
Creators:
Cohen, Arthur Allen, 1928-1986
Cohen, Elaine Lustig, 1927-
Ex Libris (Firm)
Dates:
1973-2007
Languages:
English
Collection is in English
Physical Description:
2 Linear Feet
Repository:
The records of Ex Libris measure 2.0 linear feet and date from 1973-2007. Ex Libris was a New York City based antiquarian establishment that dealt in rare 20th century avant-garde books and periodicals, and was founded by Elaine Lustig Cohen and her husband Arthur A. Cohen. The records include professional files, sales records, printed material, and photographic material.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
TThe records of Ex Libris measure 2.0 linear feet and date from 1973-2007. Ex Libris was a New York City based antiquarian establishment that dealt in rare 20th century avant-garde books and periodicals, and was founded by Elaine Lustig Cohen and her husband Arthur A. Cohen. The records include professional files, sales records, printed material, and photographic material.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 4 series
  • Series 1: Professional Files, 1973-2007 (0.9 linear feet; Box 1)
  • Series 2: Sales Records, 1979-1998 (0.1 linear foot; Box 1)
  • Series 3: Printed Material, 1973-circa 1991 (0.9 linear feet; Box 2)
  • Series 4: Photographic Material, circa 1980s (0.1 linear foot; Box 2)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Ex Libris, a New York City based antiquarian establishment that dealt in rare 20th century avant-garde books, periodicals, and archives, operated from 1973-circa 2000, and was founded by Elaine Lustig Cohen (1927- ) and her husband Arthur A. Cohen (1928-1986). Elaine Lustig Cohen is a graphic designer, previously married to the graphic designer Alvin Lustig (1915-1955), who later married her long-time friend Arthur A. Cohen, a scholar, theologian, and author, in 1956.
The Cohen's began collecting avant-garde books and ephemera from antiquarian bookstores and artists in Europe. Ex Libris began when the couple amassed a surplus of material and Arthur placed an ad in the New York Times that said, "send for my list of Dada, Surrealist, Avant-Garde periodicals and ephemera." The inventory of Ex Libris grew to include other movements of modernism including Bauhaus, Futurism, Cubism, De Stijl, German Expressionism, Constructivism, and Fluxus.
Ex Libris published catalogs of their inventory, designed by Elaine, which were sent to libraries and museums all over the world. The catalogs are now collector's items. Exhibitions were organized at Ex Libris that complemented their inventory, and they often loaned material to be included in exhibitions elsewhere.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Hilary Price in 2015.
Author
Hilary Price
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The records were donated in 2015 by Elaine Lustig Cohen, co-founder of Ex Libris.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
The Ex Libris records are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Preferred Citation
Ex Libris records, 1973-2007. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art are the Elaine Lustig Cohen papers concerning Alvin Lustig, 1982, available on microfilm reel 2802.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Futurism (Art) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dadaism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Surrealism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Booksellers and bookselling -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/