Texas A&M Acquires Impressive Collection of Decorated Papers

By Marketing and Communications | 08-05-2016

COLLEGE STATION, TX (July, 2016) – Texas A&M University Libraries is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Berger-Cloonan Collection of Decorated Papers. The collection, which was curated by Drs. Sidney Berger and Michèle Cloonan over more than 40 years, contains more than 20,000 pieces of paper from all over the world and spanning more than five centuries. It includes about 1,000 paper-sample books from American commercial paper mills. The Berger-Cloonan Collection will be housed in Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, where it will strengthen the Libraries’ holdings related to the history of paper and significantly extend curriculum related to book history and bibliography.

“We are honored and excited to be the home for this immense collection, impressive in both its depth and its breadth. It is a natural fit among our holdings, and an important acquisition for our institution,” said Kevin O’Sullivan, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, Cushing Library.

This collection is considered one of the strongest of its kind. Among the strengths it displays are marbling, paste papers, watermarks, block printing, wallpapers, Dutch-gilt and gold-varnish papers, Asian papers, and many examples of proto-papers. Likewise, the collection features many paper-related objects and ephemera, which illuminate the papermaking process and industry.

“We are delighted that our collection is now at Texas A&M University,” Dr. Cloonan said. “We built this collection over many decades and we always planned for it to go to a place where faculty, students, book artists, and researchers would have full access to it."

Dr. Francesca Marini, Director of Cushing Library, added, “I have known Dr. Berger and Dr. Cloonan since I was a doctoral student at UCLA and I have always been fascinated by their prestigious collection. We are thrilled to house this famous collection here at Texas A&M and are grateful to Dr. Cloonan and Dr. Berger for their trust in our organization.”

For questions regarding access to the collection, please contact Kevin O’Sullivan at 979-845-1951 or kmosullivan@library.tamu.edu.





About Texas A&M University Libraries
Texas A&M University Libraries house a rich array of resources assembled to support the research, learning and teaching at Texas A&M. Made up of five unique libraries, the Texas A&M University Libraries serve the entire diverse student and faculty population at Texas A&M through physical and online resources. To learn more about the services and materials available visit http://library.tamu.edu.


About the Collectors: 
Sidney Berger’s doctorate (University of Iowa, 1971) was in Medieval English Literature and Bibliography and Book History.  He teaches Rare Book and Special Collections Librarianship; History of the Book; Bibliography; The Book as Physical Object; Medieval Codicology; Paper in the Scholarly World; and many other book-related courses.  He is on the faculty of Simmons College (Boston) and the University of Illinois (Urbana/Champaign).  He taught papermaking for many years, and he now teaches a course called “The History, Materials, Manufacture, and Bibliographical Description of Paper” at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign.  He has published five books about paper and he writes a regular column on decorated paper for the magazine Hand Papermaking.  He has lectured widely on the subject and consulted on paper matters for more than 40 years. 

Michèle Cloonan was Chair of the Department of Library and Information Studies at UCLA and then Dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College.  She remains a faculty member at Simmons, teaching, among other things, preservation, library and information science foundations, and doctoral seminars.  She began her career at the Newberry Library as a bookbinder and conservator, working with Paul Banks and she interned with Tony Cains at Trinity College, Dublin’s conservation laboratory.  She has published extensively, including her study Early Bindings in Paper: A Brief History of European Hand-Made Paper-Covered Books With a Multilingual Glossary.  Her latest book, Preserving Our Heritage: Perspectives from Antiquity to the Digital Age, was recently awarded the Society of American Archivists’ Preservation Publication Award.