Special Collections Library

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About the Special Collections Library

A dynamic research library, the Special Collections Library holdings reflect the museum's collection of imperial Russian and 18th-century French decorative arts within a broad social context. The library contains approximately 38,000 items that consist primarily of: monographs, auction catalogs, rare and antiquarian materials, Marjorie Merriweather Post’s book collections, periodicals, and vertical and ephemeral files. 

The library is also home to a variety of electronic resources and subscribes to the following research databases: Invaluable, Auction.fr, JSTOR, and Oxford Art Online. 

Additionally, the library contains the personal collections of four prominent scholars: Andrei Avinoff (former Director of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History), Edward Kasinec (served as Chief of the New York Public Library Slavic and Baltic Division), Anthony Cross (historian and scholar of 18th century Slavic Studies, Cambridge, England), and Anne Odom (former Curator Emerita, Hillwood).  

The vertical files of the Special Collections Library at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens are a particularly rich resource. There are ephemeral materials here on art, artists, art institutions, collectors, and special subjects. The files are arranged by Artist, Geographical Area, and Subject. These collections are especially valuable for magazine and newspaper articles, exhibition brochures, and translations having to do with Russian art, artists, and museums. The artists’ names included in the vertical files have been added to the online catalog and may be searched above. Please note that this is a non-circulating collection and must be used on site. Photocopies may be made upon request.

Visiting and Lending Policy

Researchers are invited to use the Special Collections Library Tuesday-Friday, 10am-5pm. While walk-ins are accepted, please consider making an appointment to guarantee access to the library.

The public may use materials in the Library. Selected materials are loaned on a case-by-case basis through the interlibrary loan system available in public, special, and academic libraries. The Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens Special Collections Library abides by the interlibrary loan guidelines of the American Library Association.

Direct email inquiries can be made to astambach@hillwoodmuseum.org or call 202.243.3953 for more information about the library or to make an appointment.


01/2015: New from the Hillwood Archives: a Google Art Project web exhibition titled There & Back, Travel Films from the Hillwood Archives & Special Collections

Scholar-In-Residence Program

The Archives & Special Collections Library is proud to support Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens Scholar-in-Residence fellows, who receive full access to our library collections for their research. Past fellows have used library materials to support their studies on such interesting and varied subjects as pre-revolutionary Russian needlework and the adoption of coffee into French life in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

Recent visiting scholar Andrea Rusnock, Associate Professor of Art History at Indiana University South Bend remarked:

I want to thank you for the wonderful opportunity I had by being a Hillwood Scholar-in-Residence. It was a great experience for me to study actual objects first hand as well as using the library resources. It is a valuable program and I am grateful to have been one of the first recipients of this important venture.

More information about the Scholar-in-Residence program, including how to apply for a 2016 fellowship position, can be found here.  


Julia Landweber, 2015
Assistant Professor of European History and of Women’s and Gender Studies - Montclair State University 
Focused on Hillwood's collection of eighteenth-century coffee, tea, and chocolate services for her research titled: Embracing the Queen of Beans: How Coffee was Adopted into French Medicine, Fashion, and Diet, 1660-1789.

Andrea Rusnock, 2015
Associate Professor of Art History - Indiana University, South Bend
Studied the Museum and Library's collection of Russian imperial needlework and textiles to support her projects titled: Russian Needlework in the Life of Imperial Elite Females and Old Stitches / New Patterns: Russian Fin-de-Siècle Needlework and Imperial Culture.

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