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Tuesday–Friday: 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

For more information or to ask a reference question, please fill out the Reference Questions form, or call 215-684-7650 or send an e-mail to .

Access to the Library is free. Visitors may request a Researcher’s Pass from the guard at the Perelman Building entrance.

Search Online: Library CatalogFinding AidsDatabases & IndexesAuction Resources

As one of the major art reference libraries in the United States, the Museum Library houses approximately 200,000 books, auction catalogues, and periodicals dating from the sixteenth century to the present. Reflecting the Museum's rich and distinctive collections, the Library's holdings focus on European, American, and Asian painting and sculpture; furniture and decorative arts; arms and armor; costume and textiles; prints, drawings, and photographs; and modern and contemporary art. The Library also subscribes to a growing collection of electronic resources, available on workstations in the Reading Room.

Library Installation

La France de profil (France in Profile)
La France de profil (France in Profile)
Photographs by Paul Strand, American, 1890–1976
Text by Claude Roy, French, 1915–1997
Published by La Guilde du Livre, Lausanne, France, 1952
Philadelphia Museum of Art Library: Gift in memory of Rose E. Diamond
Friends of the Lens: Photo Books from the Library
October 28, 2014–February 1, 2015
Photographs have been used as illustrations in newspapers, magazines, and books since the mid-1800s. However, refinements in offset printing processes after World War I brought about a distinct type of publication in which photographs themselves provided the narrative.

Both fine art and documentary photographers were drawn to the book format, particularly as photographs were not widely exhibited until the late twentieth century. Images, with or without text, were used for social commentary or pure expression in equally powerful ways. Published titles by Brassaï, Dorothea Lange, and Paul Strand endure as some of the finest ventures into the genre. Presented here is a selection of photo books by these masters, along with other iconic and unique examples from the Library’s collection.

This installation complements Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography, on view in the Dorrance Galleries in the Museum’s main building through January 4, 2015.

The Library Reading Room, second floor, Perelman Building

Digital Collections

Ronaele Manor
The collection of heraldic stained glass at Ronaele Manor, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania :the residence of Mr. & Mrs. Fitz Eugene Dixon /described by F. Sydney Eden. -- London : Arden Press, 1927.
The Library is creating distinctive digital collections that provide access to its rare materials to support research and education at the Museum, to enhance scholarship worldwide, to increase access to its holdings, and to promote lifelong learning. Digitizing also aids in preservation by reducing the need for handling the originals. Scrapbooks from the Archives; rare art auction catalogs; books and ephemera on European and American decorative arts and arms and armor; and the Museum’s own publications are just some examples of the items that staff are digitizing and making freely available to all on the Internet Archive.

Browse our contributions to the Internet Archive.

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