Printing Industries of America has agreed to donate to Cal Poly its renowned Edward H. Wadewitz Memorial Library, considered the largest, most complete, and most valuable graphic communication library in the world.
Rare materials from the collection will be added to the Special Collections and Archives department of the university’s Robert E. Kennedy Library. The main Wadewitz collection will be housed at a site to be prepared on the Cal Poly campus.
Site preparation, review, description and relocation of the collection will cost about $100,000; ongoing services to provide access to the collection will require about $20,000 per year. An initial contribution of $25,000 has been received, said Harvey Levenson, retired head of Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication Department and current director of the university’s Graphic Communication Institute. Those wanting to support this initiative to preserve the printing industry’s past are invited to make additional tax-deductible individual and corporate contributions and be recognized as a sponsor.
Founded in 1923 at the Lithographic Technical Foundation’s (LTF) headquarters in Chicago, the Wadewitz Library moved to Pittsburgh in 1965, when the LTF became the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF). GATF consolidated with Printing Industries of America in 2003, and the name was changed to Printing Industries of America in 2008.
For nearly 100 years, the Wadewitz Library has been a valuable resource for industry professionals and a unique tool for researchers, chemists, physicists, educators, scholars and students. The library houses what is thought to be the largest intact collection of technical information and literature for the field of graphic communication and printing processes and related publications in the arts, sciences, engineering and business.
Its holdings include more than 180 currently published magazines and periodicals; 100 inactive or no-longer-published magazines dating back to the first issues of National Lithographer published in 1894; more than 15,000 books, texts and reports describing every aspect of the graphic communication and print processes; past and present GATF/LTF-published materials; Printing Industries of America publications, reports and affiliate information; information on related industry associations; and a variety of directories and other reference material.
The collections of historical interest and value include:
• The Frank Preucil Collection of 1,400 books. Preucil was considered by many to be the “father of densitometry” because he promoted the use of color reflection densitometry to control and evaluate process color printing in lithography. This extensive collection on the subject of color reproduction is thought to be one of the most complete historical libraries on the graphic arts process. The collection also includes rare books on printing and one of the few complete collections of the Penrose Annual.
• The Dr. Fred W. Billmeyer Collection of more than 200 books on color and related subjects, several complete collections of periodicals relating to color, and bound transcripts and reports. Billmeyer was a world-renowned color scientist, and his collection includes materials from the International Commission on Illumination. He also authored many books on color and polymers.