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For Immediate Release

September 18, 2014

Williamstown, MA—The Clark Art Institute has been awarded a $118,737 Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to digitize significant volumes from the Julius S. Held Collection of Rare Books in the Clark library. These materials will be made available through the library's digital collections interface; the Internet Archive; the Getty Research Portal; the Massachusetts Digital Commonwealth; and the Digital Public Library of America.

Museums for America grants help museums address their key needs or challenges, enabling them to provide better service to their communities. The Clark will digitize 185 of the collection's 283 volumes and enhance cataloging and metadata for the more than 107,000 images in the collection, including a significant number of rare titles and unique volumes dating from the sixteenth century through the nineteenth century. The project fulfills the museum's goal of collections stewardship by allowing access to these exceedingly rare volumes, ensuring their physical preservation while facilitating access and knowledge.

“We are delighted to be able to digitize and share this important scholarly collection, including Dr. Held’s annotations, to the broadest possible community,” said Clark Librarian Susan Roeper. “At the same time, we are able to provide for the preservation of the both the physical volumes and the digitized files.”

Art historian Julius S. Held (1905–2002) was renowned internationally as a distinguished scholar of Rubens and Rembrandt. Educated in Europe, Dr. Held joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1937 and gained international recognition through his writing and frequent calls for his consultation and authentication of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish art.

The Julius S. Held Collection of Rare Books encompasses imprints from the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Many of the extraordinary volumes in this collection include illustrations by artists such as Peter Paul Rubens, Albrecht Dürer, and Anthony van Dyck. The broad scope of these books include works by Virgil and Ovid, versions of Aesop's fables, and titles on art and art theory, astronomy, religion, natural history, travel, and anatomy in a range of languages. The collection also includes important art histories and early treatises on iconology and emblems. Of note are the approximately 80 books that form the working core of Dr. Held’s scholarly collection. These texts hold Dr. Held’s manuscript annotations and commentary concerning provenance and identification of illustrations present in the texts and appear on the inside of covers, as marginalia, and as end notes on fly leaves.

IMLS received 554 applications for the highly competitive Museums for America grant. Of these, slightly more than one third (196 projects) received funding.

“Millions of Americans visit museums each year,” said IMLS Director Susan H. Hildreth. “These federal investments will ultimately help museums deliver enhanced learning experiences, improve collections care, and address community needs.”


The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Its grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.


The Clark Art Institute is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, open to the public with more than 240,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.

The Clark opened its expanded facilities on July 4, 2014, unveiling new and enhanced spaces that accommodate the continued growth of the Institute’s programs. Included in this final stage of the project are the new 42,600-square-foot Clark Center designed by Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, expansion and renovation of the original Museum Building and the ongoing renovation of the Manton Research Center by Selldorf Architects, and a sweeping redesign of the grounds by Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture. The first phase of the campus expansion project was completed in 2008 with the opening of the Lunder Center at Stone Hill, a striking conservation and exhibitions facility also designed by Tadao Ando.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Opening season hours: Galleries open daily from July 4 through October 13, 2014, 10 am to 5 pm. From October 14, 2014 through June 30, 2015: Galleries open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $20 through October 31, 2014 and free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit or call 413 458 2303.

Press contact:
Amanda Powers
The Clark
[email protected]
413 458 0471