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 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:
- City Planning and Landscape Architecture Library
- Communications Library
- Rare Book and Manuscript Library
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 extensive holdings of exhibition catalogs from all time periods and geographic locations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Materials from our collections are highlighted in the two cases just inside the library entrance.
Past Library Exhibitions:
Learning to Draw: A Selection of Books and Manuals for Art Students
October 15, 2017- January 31, 2018
Image from: Initiation à la Composition Décorative by C. Patissié, Paris: Librairie Classique F. Nathan, 1911.
The exhibition is composed of three separate installations which showcase our instructional drawing books and manuals. Concepts explored include: tools and forms, design techniques, and the application of color theory.
December 20, 2016 – October 1, 2017
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.
Selection from Untitled Project: Robert Smithson Library & Book Club by Conrad Bakker
September 23-December 19, 2016
More details about this project are available here.
Material included in Ricker Library exhibitions rotate on a regular basis.
In 1988, the Ricker Library began to create a collection of books about residential architecture, thanks to a gift from architecture alumnus John G. Replinger in 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 nine endowed funds:
- Etta Mae Arntzen
- Jack Baker
- Arthur E. Biallas
- Albert H. Nemoede
- Anthony J. Petullo
- Helen M. Reynolds
- Frederick W. Salogga (FAIA funds)
- Professor Harold A. Schultz (in honor of his dear friend and colleague, Professor Allen S. Weller)
- John E. Sweet
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 email@example.com.
Ricker Library enjoys strong relationships with students and alumni, faculty and faculty emeriti. We are glad to receive receive requests to acquire gifts-in-kind of books, journals, and other forms of research material.
However, as Ricker has limited capacity to accept gifts, due to limited staffing and space, we do require an itemized list of potential gift items in order to ensure that we do not duplicate any materials we currently have.
Itemized lists would include the following:
- Publication information (publisher, place of publication, year, edition if applicable)
- Highly recommended: ISBN for books, ISSN for serials
Additionally, we cannot accept materials that are damaged, including items that are moldy or exposed to pests.
If you’d like to inquire about potential gift items, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your itemized list and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
If you’d like to learn more about giving to the library, please visit the Library Advancement webpage for more information. Thank you for your interest in giving to the Library!
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.
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Questions? Send us an email at email@example.com, 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.
- Main telephone: (217) 333-0224
- Fax: (217) 244-5169
- Schedule a reference appointment with a librarian
- Request a purchase