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General Information

History

The Library’s Beginnings: Nathan Clifford Ricker

The foundation for the Library’s architecture and art collections was laid by the country’s first college graduate of architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor Nathan Clifford Ricker (1843-1924), who in 1873 purchased several important architectural treatises and folios. As his personal collection outgrew his office space, first a room, and then an entire wing of the Architecture Building were assigned to house the collection. By that time, his collection included not only the folios, but also a photographic collection and several rare first editions. In recognition of this founding role, the University’s Board of Trustees in 1917 authorized the Library to name the unit in Professor Ricker’s honor.

The Library Today

Today, the collections of the Ricker Library of Architecture and Art include:

  • More than 120,000 volumes and 33,000 serials (some housed in the Library’s main book stacks)
  • 35,000 microforms
  • A small but burgeoning collection of other media formats

The Ricker Library also provides access to several important electronic databases. The holdings cover the fields of architecture, architectural history, art, art history, museum studies, and art education.

Related collections exist in the following locations:


Collection Highlights

  • Art and Design

    The art and design collection includes both general and special period works on the history of art, monographs on artists, sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, crafts, museology, art education, graphic design, industrial design, and prints and printmaking. The unit has an extensive holding of exhibition catalogs from all time periods and geographic locations.

  • Architecture

    The architecture collection includes landmark titles in architecture, history and theory of design, historic preservation, professional practice and management, structures, and monographs on architects and building types. The unit maintains a particularly strong collection of information on current practicing architects.

  • Catalogues Raisonnés

    Ricker Library has a major collection of catalogues raisonnés on important artists, architects, and sculptors. We endeavor to buy both current and out-of-print editions.

  • Rare Items

    Among the unit’s treasures are several large portfolios dealing with Frank Lloyd Wright, complete runs of rare nineteenth-century architecture and art journals, and Ricker’s own translations of more than thirty classic works on architecture.

  • Cicognara Library

    Ricker Library has a subscription to the entire Cicognara Library on microfiche (Call numbersMFICHE700 C485). The Cicognara collection, housed in the Vatican Library, represents the 5,000 books on art and related subjects assembled by the eighteenth-century patron of the arts, Count Leopoldo Cicognara (1767-1834).

  • Midwestern Architectural Drawings

    Thanks to a unique cooperative agreement in the 1950s with the Art Institute of Chicago, 31 microfilm reels dealing with midwestern architectural drawings were filmed under the auspices of a microfilming project sponsored jointly by the Art Institute’s Burnham Library and the University of Illinois.


Library Exhibitions

Materials from our collections are highlighted in the two cases just inside the library entrance.

Current Library Exhibition:

Floral Ornamentation

December 20, 2016 – October 1, 2017

Floral_1   Floral_2

Images from: Etude de la Plante: Son Application aux Industries d’Art: Pochoir, Papier, Peint, Etoffes, Ceramique, Marqueterie, Tapis, Ferronnerie, Reliure, Dentelles, Broderies, Vitrail, Mosaique, Bijouterie, Bronze, Ovfeverie. Paris: Libraries Centrale des Beaux-Arts, 1903.

Past Exhibition:

Selection from Untitled Project: Robert Smithson Library & Book Club by Conrad Bakker
September 23-December 19, 2016

the left exhibition case   smithson_exhibition2

More details about this project are available here.

Material included in Ricker Library exhibitions rotate on a regular basis.


Endowed Funds

In 1988, the Ricker Library began to create a collection of books about residential architecture, thanks to a gift from architecture alumnus John G.Replingerin memory of architecture alumnus Albert O. Bumgardner. With the passing of John G.Replinger, a memorial fund has been established in his memory.

Ricker Library currently has six endowed funds:

  • Albert H. Nemoede
  • Frederick W.Salogga(FAIA funds)
  • Professor Harold A. Schultz (in honor of his dear friend and colleague, Professor Allen S. Weller)
  • Etta Mae Arntzen
  • Helen M. Reynolds
  • Anthony Petullo

These monies are used to buy items in new or burgeoning areas of instruction and research that the Ricker Library cannot, presently, purchase from state funds. Each item purchased from an endowment fund is designated by a bookplate. See below for examples of current bookplates.

If you are interested in making a donation to Ricker Library, please contact Melanie Emerson (memerson@illinois.edu).

Ricker Library Bookplates


Newsletter

Our newsletter is biannual, with a spring and fall edition each academic year. It is a valuable resource, which typically includes feature articles about new resources in the library, acknowledges recent donations to the library, and highlights interesting new items in the library collection.

Current issues of the newsletter are now available via email to donors and subscribers. If you would like a copy mailed to you, please send us an email. Access our latest newsletters from the list of links below.

Past newsletters are available through the links below. All links lead to PDF Files.


Contact Us

Questions? Send us an email at rickerlibrary@library.illinois.edu, or come by 9-5, Mon-Fri, to get in-person reference help! Don’t hesitate to contact a librarian if you have any questions. Need help with a paper or a research project and need help finding good sources? Schedule a one-on-one appointment with a librarian at the Ricker Library. Click here to schedule an appointment.