Resource Guide: Home

“Home is where the heart is”

“Home is where the hatred is”

The notion of Home is complicated. Today we are featuring some of our favorite books that examine our relationship to “home.” Longing to be back, the home we all share, finding a new home, returning home, dysfunctional homes, and love.

AMC² Issue 5: Notes From Home
By Timothy Prus & Ed Jones
London : Archive of Modern Conflict, 2012
TR179.5.A273 . N68 2014 (RARE)

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The Archive of Modern Conflict is an archive that collects vernacular photography, originally related to images related to conflict and war but has broadened their scope to include all vernacular photographs. Their semi-regular journal will ask an artist or collective to mine the collection and present a certain theme. Issue 5 of AMC² coincided with a 2013 exhibition of real photo postcards chosen from the collection by Timothy Prus and Ed Jones. Each postcard is from a summer holiday and the English east coast, during the first half of the 20th century.  The special edition, wrapped in a pink candy-striped bag mimics something that may have held a boardwalk treat. In addition to sending images of the travelers back home or images of where they are staying, each image in the book features the text written to their loved ones on the facing page. These notes hint at a longing for home, and also the regret of their absence from home during their retreat.

For images: Publishers website

100 New York Mysteries
By Aaron Krach
New York : Aaron Krach, 2012
TR179.5.K7334.N49 2012 (RARE)

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“I moved to New York from Los Angeles and fell instantly in love with The City. I’d visited to Paris and Rome, Chicago and Miami, but New York was The City. And it felt like home. The city also looked and felt alive, offering mysterious bits of beautifulness everywhere I looked. In 2003, I started taking pictures of steam coming out of the streets and sidewalks. I was mildly obsessed. We didn’t have steam like this in L.A. so I set out to capture every permutation of it: seeping, spewing, erupting, leaking, blowing, and more. This book has no words. It’s a silent movie turned into a novel, a very personal story about something that is truly fantastic.” – Artist’s Website 

For Images:

Pictures From Home
Larry Sultan
New York : Abrams, 1992
TR681.F28.S85 1992 (RARE)

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An iconic photobook, Larry’ Sultan’s “Pictures From Home” captures Sultan’s visits to his parents’ home in Southern California throughout the 1980s. He shares these moments via color images from both his camera and stills from Super-8 home movies while text provides a kind of conversation for the viewer.

For Images:

Life Is Elsewhere
Sohrab Hura.
New Delhi, India : Self Published (Ugly Dog) ; 2015.
TR179.5.H873.L54 2014 (RARE)

Look It’s Getting Sunny Outside!
Sohrab Hura.
New Delhi, India : Self Published (Ugly Dog) ; 2018.
TR179.5 .H873.L66 2018 (RARE)

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Making work about family is complicated, and in Sohrab Hura’s two books Life is elsewhere and Look It’s getting sunny outside!!!, he gives us a visceral look into his own. At face value, both books (which were published three years apart) might seem like a progression from darkness to light, a transitioning out of dysfunction, but upon closer inspection, we familiarize ourselves with Hura’s penchant for paradoxes.

Read more of Erika Morillo’s exploration of these books here:

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Close To Home: An American Album
D.J. Waldie
Los Angeles : J. Paul Getty Museum, c. 2004.
TR592.5.C56 2004

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Close to Home: An American Album” presents glimpses into everyday American life during the 1940-1960s through a collection of vernacular photography.  Although the identity of those in the images is unknown, they are at the same time universal.

For Images: 




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Instagram takeover: VOID

Publisher Highlight: VOID

In an effort to collaborate with some of the publishers and artists in the ICP library’s collection, we started an Instagram takeover series to highlight exciting works that represent the vanguard in photobooks. Our first takeover was by the Greece-based publisher VOID, a non-profit organization focused on alternative publishing, exhibitions, and education engaging in a series of projects around photography and other visual arts. Their team of 3 composed by João Linneu, Myrto Steirou & Sylvia Sachini is passionately working together to promote photography since October 2016. Here we share some highlights from their takeover last month.

We are taken by VOID’s penchant for the obscure and their aesthetic which seems to always teeter between life and death.

‘Mayflies’ by Dimitra Dede, first published by Void in the form of a zine in 2016,’ dramatizes the creative process of mourning. After the loss of her mother, the artist experiences the interruption of her own timeline on one end while having to fulfill her own role as a mother to the other end.

Both the photography and design in VOID’s publications are highly experimental; the materials used seem to be an extension of the emotional content in the photographs or aspects of the physical landscape: “For ‘Except the Clouds’ we wanted a paper with a very rough feeling to remind the streets of Athens.”

In ‘Beyond the Mirror’ a high quality extra white paper was used to make justice to the contrasty black and white photos:


A central element to VOID’s ethos is also the handmade nature of their bookmaking practice. For example, ‘Meat’ by Olivier Pin-Fat, is a completely handmade book printed using 5 different printing techniques in more than 8 different types of paper (including kitchen paper). “ It took us more than two years to finish binding 250 copies of 300+ pages one by one by hand.”

VOID’s approach to photobooks transcends the photographs they showcase; the labor-intensive, handmade quality of each publication seems like an integral part of the photographic body of work itself, with the photographs, materials and bookmaking process working in unison to elucidate a larger concept.

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Check out these great puzzles from our collections blog!

Fans in a Flashbulb

Unidentified Photographer, [Gold Miners], ca. 1850 (2008.116.1)

This daguerreotype of gold miners, mining for gold 170 years ago, transformed, like an alchemical miracle, into a playable puzzle is here.

Unidentified Photographer, [Two Unidentified Men], ca. 1860 (2.2001)

This ambrotype of a pair of unidentified men as a playable puzzle is here.

Unidentified Photographer, [Two Unidentified Women], ca. 1842 (2007.74.1)

This daguerreotype of two unidentified women as a playable puzzle is here.

Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified Girl with Statuette], ca. 1850 (2009.22.1)

This daguerreotype of an an unidentified girl and statuette as a playable puzzle is here.

Eadweard J. Muybridge (1830-1904), LeCount Bros. & Mansur’s Stationery Establishment, ca. 1873 (947.2005)

This stereoview of Mansur’s Stationery Establishment as a devilishly difficult playable puzzle here.

Carleton Watkins (1829-1916), From the “Best general View,” Mariposa Trail, Yosemite Valley, Mariposa…

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Japanese Photo Book Monday #1

Good morning to readers of Monsters & Madonnas: The ICP Library Blog. Today we are beginning a new “column” of blog posts following our ongoing Instagram series Japanese Photo Book Monday. Many of the books we will cover are part of the 10×10 Japanese Photobooks collection, and we originally wrote them up as part of a presentation about the collection given by our librarian Emily Dunne at Fototeca Latinoamericana last summer. Check back on Mondays for additional installments of the column as you add to your already undoubtedly extensive quarantine reading list. From all of us at the library – we hope everyone is staying safe and staying healthy.

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Takayuki Ogawa – New York Is

NEW YORK IS documents Takayuki Ogawa’s 1968 visit to New York City. His images call to mind the best of the best of classic black and white American photography – Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Harry Callahan, and Roy Decarava. Ogawa traveled to Wall Street, Harlem, Central Park, and photographed soldiers, children, hippies, businessmen, beach bums, concerts, and art galleries. The American flag is a dominant visual anchor and appears countless times in Ogawa’s images. Veering from street photography to abstraction, Ogawa disappears a skyscraper into a white sky, a subway crowd into a black floor, and an American flag at a nationalist demonstration into the void.

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Yuichi Hibi – 127

Shot in 1994, the year Rudy Giuliani was elected mayor of New York, 127 collects Yuichi Hibi’s portraits of the then-rapidly disappearing “dark underbelly” of the city. As reminiscent of Weegee and Arbus as of Midnight Cowboy, Hibi’s high contrast black and white images capture hard yet vacant stares – many of the sitters do not seem to be aware that they are being photographed. Hibi makes no effort to whitewash the people he photographs, in some ways he is attempting to stop or even turn back the clock by way of his camera.

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Kunie Sugiura – Artists and Scientists

A landmark work in the long and twisting career of Kunie Sugiura, ARTISTS AND SCIENTISTS was made in the early 2000s and images leading artists and scientists in silhouette as massive photograms, often with props. What Sugiura is after here is not so much the superficial contours of a person’s face, but some piece of the model’s soul that is transmitted by gesture and presence. Take for instance the “portrait” of Daido Moriyama. Sugiura pictures him twice: once in white on black, again in black on white. In both images, he simply holds a camera with the lens extended. He appears hunched and almost looks to be giving the camera to some unseen subject standing just out of the frame in front of him. He mediates the world around him by way of his camera, it is his gift both to and from what he photographs. By eliminating the traditional signifiers of portraiture and adding her own, Sugiura emphasizes the work of those she photographs – their work being what she is concerned with in the first place.

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Tintypes for Coloring

Fans in a Flashbulb

Unidentified Photographer, [Butcher], ca. 1875 (2007.54.4)

A PDF of this easy on the eye butcher is here.

Unidentified Photographer, [Apple Vendor], ca. 1875 (2007.54.20)

A PDF of this fecund apple vendor is here.

Unidentified Photographer, [Iceman], ca. 1875 (2007.54.9)

A PDF of this cool iceman is here.

Unidentified Photographer, [Blacksmith], ca. 1860 (77.2004)

A PDF of this beguiling blacksmith is here.

Fred Weese, [Farrier], June 20, 1886 (81.2004)

A PDF of this far-out farrier is here.

Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified Man with Camera], ca. 1875 (2008.57.5)

A PDF of this bookish photographer is here.

Unidentified Photographer, [House Painter], ca. 1875 (2008.81.52)

A PDF of this out of this world painter is here.

Six tintypes, portraits of workers “working,” with us workers “working from home” in mind. Please download, print…

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We Reign Supreme

During ICP’s temporary closure, Community Day will continue to take place online through virtual programming for all ages including workshops, storytimes, curated reading lists, and digital educational resources. Visitors can also access audio guides of ICP’s current exhibitions in up to 10 languages through Gesso, and see more ways they can engage with ICP from anywhere.  Register here: Community Day, March 28 


Al Pereira, Queen Latifah on the set of Fly Girl, New York City, 1991.

In honor of Women’s Herstory Month, visitors of all ages are welcome to join us for We Reign Supreme: Crown-making & Self-honoring Workshop inspired by Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop. Participants will look at the symbolic use of crowns across cultures and artistic disciplines and design their own paper crown to be photographed in using Fuji Instax cameras. Feel free to come in your own crown—it can be anything from your hair or a headwrap to a special hat; you decide!

March “We Reign Supreme” Recommendations: 

Byzantine Contempo by Tawny Chatmon

byzantine contempo | tawnychatmon

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Tawny Chatmon, from Byzantine Contempo

In this body of work, Tawny Chatmon examines issues of race and rethinks African American portraiture by shifting the focus from oppression to the wealth of memories, beliefs, and traditions black children can inherit. Chatmon uses a multilayered approach, embellishing her regal portraits of black children and women with paint, 24-karat gold leaf, collage, and digital illustrations.


Tawny Chatmon, Beloved, from The Awakening, 2018

In these interventions, Chatmon often places a crown or headpiece on her subjects, which serves as a reference to both ancient Byzantine portraiture and modern, natural hairstyles adopted by many Black individuals – afros, twists, locks, and barbershop cuts all appear in Chatmon’s portraits.

Inheritance feels very relevant in Chatmon’s work – her commentary on the politics of blackness, specifically the meaning and implications of raising a black child in America, are always at the forefront of her portraiture.

Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry

Crowns: A Brief History of Church Hats – Photo Essays


Michael Cunningham, From Crowns, 2000

For many religious individuals, God is King and is to be honored and respected in the way one lives their personal and spiritual life. Among various denominations, there is a long-standing tradition that women should not enter a house of worship without their heads covered, a tradition has been adopted and come into its own within the African-American community. 


Released in 2000, Cunningham and Marberry’s Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats showcases the glamour, history and social status of the church hat through personal stories and images. The book makes clear that a church hat’s purpose is not a simple head covering, but rather a statement – a status symbol – to be worn with pride and adorned with eye-catching fabrics and materials. A crown can give the wearer an added boost in confidence or, sometimes, evoke in others the less-sanctified feeling of envy. ([New York, NY]: Doubleday, 2000)


Anonymous, John Edmonds

John Edmonds: Anonymous

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John Edmonds, Phantom, 2017.

In his 2017 Light Work show, “Anonymous,” John Edmonds displays photographs of figures in hoodies and du-rags facing away from his camera. In the first series of images, Edmonds uses the anonymity granted by the hood as a vector to explore questions of otherness and preconceptions of the viewer. As summed up by Light Work, “We can quickly read this suite of images as a statement on the unjust death of Trayvon Martin and how individuals of color face issues of racism, safety, and injustice in systemic ways.”

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John Edmonds, Untitled (Hood 11), 2016



These images are taken outdoors in public places with Edmonds’s own hoodies. Edmonds’s du-rag photographs show the ascension into a powerful and beautiful kind of divinity that can come from a shared cultural form. Similarly faceless, this second set of images reimagines the anonymity of headwear to become a form of shared, positive identity that can stand in opposition to depersonalization. 


King of Arms  by Rashaad Newsome


This 2015 film is presented as a video with a custom frame that includes a hand-carved wooden crown. The piece focuses on a parade-like procession led by a marching band and second-line dancers. The film encompasses and synthesizes seemingly disparate cultural touchstones such as ballroom voguing, icons of heraldry, Mardi Gras imagery, and hip-hop iconography.

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Rashaad Newsome, still from King of Arms, 2015

The procession takes place on the streets of New Orleans and culminates at the New Orleans Museum of Art, where Newsome arrives in an adorned Lamborgini, outfitted in a Baroque costume and is crowned before all. This was the first in an ongoing series, with future Balls held in Miami and Bushwick.


Somnyama Ngonyama– Hail the Dark Lioness by Zanele Muholi

Somnyama Ngonyama – Hail the Dark Lioness




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Zanele Muholi, Somnyama Ngonyama– Hail the Dark Lioness; Aperture, 2018


Through a series of black and white performative self-portraits, Zanele Muholi addresses the politics of race and representation of black women throughout the history of photography. In Somnyama Ngonyama– Hail the Dark Lioness, published by Aperture in 2018, she covers herself with black paint, further accentuating her blackness; in her own words: “I’m reclaiming my blackness, which I feel is continuously performed by the privileged other.”

Muholi commands respect to herself and black women in history, in part by making herself a crown out of elements surrounding her, some of which are laden with meaning about domestic work and servitude, like clothespins, brillo pads, and rags. Other times she makes her crown out of fibers akin to animal hair, blonde hair or a white bedsheet reminiscent of a veil, questioning how these visual elements intersect with the attitudes towards black women and their position in contemporary photography.

TR140 .M841 2018

Collages by Lorna Simpson  

Lorna Simpson Studio, Collages


Lorna Simpson’s collage series began in 2011, with each series describing the magazine from which the images were sourced.


Lorna Simpson, Like a Rock, 2014, detail

The first of this series, Ebony, decontextualizes individual faces from the African American fashion magazine, situating them amidst a background of hair, crows, and other images from nature created with expressive watercolors that almost resemble galaxies.


Lorna Simpson, Riunite & Ice #23, 2018

In other collages, Simpson creates headdresses from geological formations, clouds, and other naturally-occurring phenomena. Simpson’s series continues with other vintage magazines including Jet and Aspen, with some of the later series also incorporating fragments of text and experimentation with different scales. (Chronical Books, 2018)


Couple, Harlem by James Van Der Zee

James Van Der Zee. Couple, Harlem. 1932

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James Van Der Zee, Couple, Harlem, 1932

The Harlem Renaissance is remembered at least in part by the impeccable personal style of some of its key figures, two of which can be seen above in James Van Der Zee’s 1932 portrait of an elegant, upper-class couple. 


Herman Leonard, Duke Ellington, Paris, 1958

Edward Ellington would embody this sense of regal formality from a young age, having received his moniker and title of “Duke” as a child in Washington D.C., long before he moved to New York City and become associated with the Renaissance.

Ellington would compose many tunes about Harlem, notably “Echoes of Harlem” as a showcase for trumpeter Charles Melvin “Cootie” Williams. 

Miles Davis, who is sometimes referred to as “The Prince of Darkness”, composed 1974’s “He Loved Him Madly” as a tribute to Ellington just one month after he passed away.



Lester “Prez” Young, NYC by Herman Leonard

Lester “Prez” Young, NYC


Herman Leonard, Lester “Prez” Young, NYC, 1948

Although quite different in personality from the understated and suave Ellington, the fiery Charles “Baron” Mingus would come to be seen by many as Ellington’s successor due to their shared use of large ensembles and flirtation with classical composition.


One of Mingus’s most well-known tunes is Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, an elegy to then-recently deceased saxophonist Lester “Prez” Young, who was known for his distinctive broad-brimmed version of the hat, and whose nickname was given to him by Billie Holiday.

Both Mingus and Young are among the musicians seen in Art Kane’s 1958 “A Great Day In Harlem” one year before Young’s death. Check out this page, where you can explore who all the musicians are.


New York Stories: Great Day In Harlem

Art Kane’s famous photo of jazz greats, titled “Harlem 1958”; approved for one-time use only. MUST CREDIT: Photograph by Art Kane – courtesy Art Kane Archive NOTE: this is a downsized low-res photo for web use


Queens Ann. P.S. Belly Cut Off  by Mariken Wessels 

Mariken Wessels: Queen Ann. P.S. Belly cut out

anybody’s image could become everybody’s image: an interview with Mariken Wessels


In her book Queen Ann. P.S. Belly Cut Off, Wessels explores the collection of photographs of a friend’s mother, Ann. Ann often makes interventions with her portraits by painting scarves or headwraps that conceal her chin, implying that she isn’t pleased with her appearance in the photographs and has adjusted them accordingly.

However, body image issues aside, Ann’s interventions in her portraits are beautiful; Ann has a recognizable style, and is extremely funny. She writes in a caption of a particularly elaborate painted headwrap: “Zeker ergens voel ik mij een “Koningin” (“In a way, I really feel like a “Queen”).  (Amsterdam, The Netherlands.: Alauda Publications, 2010) 

TR179.5.W47 .Q44 2010


Compiled by the ICP Library on the occasion of
March Reading (and watching and listening!) Recommendations

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Notes on Queering the Collection(s) @ the ICP Library

Queering the Collection, 2019, a collaboration between GenderFail and the ICP Library
  1. from the publisher

“Throughout 2018, the ICP Library collectively produced more than six in-house library installations and events considering representation in libraries at large. The success of this initiative resulted in an increase of the ICP Library’s holdings of queer, gender non-binary imagemakers, and artists of color.

“To celebrate the enriching dynamics of Queering the Collection and further bridge the gap between representation and collecting, the ICP Library collaborated with Be Oakley of GenderFail, along with Christopher Clary, Patricia Silva, and many other participating artists, curators, and bookmakers, to highlight these projects in a publication scheduled for release in March 2019.

“The Queering the Collection publication features an introduction by Paul Soulellis, founder of Library of the Printed Web, along with interviews with participating artists and imagemakers, photographs, and in-depth accounts of the events. Queering the Collection is designed and printed by GenderFail.

“Queering the Collection is the culminating publication based on the Queering the Collection program, a collaboration between GenderFail and the International Center of Photography Library. Queering the Collection is a series exhibitions, programs and events that presented a variety of curatorial perspectives on contemporary investigations of gender through archives, libraries, and collections.”

2. As far as I know, there was never an official collections policy for the Library at ICP. It grew fitfully over the early years uptown at 1130 Fifth Ave (1974-2001) through donations and occasional purchases, willed into existence through the zealousness and perseverance of Deputy Director and former Head of Education Phillip S. Block, who, ahead of the curve, understood the importance of photo books as cultural markers, as dynamic, creative things. Generous gifts from colleagues of founder Cornell Capa such as Jacob Deschin and David Douglas Duncan, and the general interests of Capa shaped around what he termed “concerned photography” generated a sizable collection of books related to photojournalism and documentary work, but the library was also reflective of all who entered the institutional doors. Uptown the vertiginous stacks were overseen by Lucia Siskin, a flamboyant artist and raconteur, who carried on a tradition of the library as an informal hub, a microcosm of ICP’s mandate as a “center” for many, for whom Lucia offered conversation and a willingness to expand the collection when needs were stated. Unfortunately the library was not helped by the architecture of the original building, the former home of Willard Straight and Dorothy Payne Whitney on Fifth Ave, where it filled three small rooms, two of which were storage.

Despite the fiscal austerity of its support, albeit stoked with a vision to the future and the deep commitment of Phil Block, when ICP moved to 43rd Street in 2001, it had a library of over 20,000 titles, along with hundreds of artist’s files, none of them cataloged. The move to a new space also brought on staff ICP’s first official librarian, Deirdre Donohue, who brought in subsequently a team of catalogers and archivists, assisted by an enthusiastic, diverse group of donors, volunteers, and students.

The move to the space in midtown and the extensive electronic cataloging of the collection coincided with the impact of digital technologies in publishing and a shift towards artisanal, small-scale production. Coterminous with the obsolescence of conventional print publication was an interest in books and book forms by artists, collectors, and dealers.

The creation of this market by dealers and collectors facilitated production stripped of great profit, but, as if in compensation, it encouraged the clubby spheres of cognoscenti. For artists and photographers, the sheer access of books, the simplified means of production, and the impulse to look at more, going backwards to go forwards, transformed the plebian library into a cultural fulcrum, wider than the limited aesthetic scope of a fine art museum. The intense eclecticism of the scope of the ICP Library collection and the deep enthusiasms of its staff and patrons brought an energy beyond cost. Book-making became part of school curriculum and a new focus on artist’s books enriched the collection. Donations, including a large group of Korean photobooks, and additions such as the complete set of Joachim Schmid‘s series Other People’s Pictures, along with the always growing library of books by alumni, are among the traces that remain from this engaged and shifting community.

Beyond initial workshops in desktop publishing, curricula developed through the artist and publisher Victor Sira in the then-new MFA program run by Nayland Blake, who also included coursework addressing archive and library research through Deirdre Donohue and collections curator Ed Earle; along with continuing education production classes taught by Christina Labey and Jason Burstein at Conveyor Studio. Library archivist Matthew Carson was a founding member of 10X10 Photobooks, bringing the work of that organization into an ongoing and overlapping relationship with the ICP Library.

3. This is a circuitous map of how the experiments instigated by GenderFail, involving collections, events, and the physical plant of the library itself, could find a temporary autonomous zone in the ICP Library.

As per current Librarian Emily Dunne, “it is crucial to remember H. R. Ranganathan’s five laws of library science:

  • Books are for use.
  • Every person their book.
  • Every book its reader.
  • Save the time of the reader.
  • The library is a growing organism.
“. . . She’s an OLD MAID!” [working at a library] from It’s a Wonderful Life, dir. Frank Capra, 1947

Posted in archival collections, artists' books, Book events, Christopher Clary, collections, Cornell Capa Papers, global village, ICP alumni, ICP Archives, ICP Library, International, Library alumni, memory, New Acquisitions, nostalgia, parataxis, publishing, queer, self-publishing, Unpacking the collection, vernacular photography, Vertical files, Visual Research, web browsing, Window Exhibit | Leave a comment