Biographical/historical: Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) was a New York-based art dealer and collector. In 1900, he donated his collection of prints to The New York Public Library in order to establish a Department of Prints, the first public print collection in New York City. This collection of nearly 18,000 prints, representing 978 artists, is especially rich in holdings of French print makers, but also includes works by English, American, Spanish, German, Dutch and Belgian artists. At Avery's request, many of the artists inscribed their prints, which frequently appear in multiple, including rare or unique, impressions. The bulk of the prints are from the 19th century, but 16th, 17th, 18th, and early 20th centuries are represented to varying degrees. The collection includes a sub-collection of prints by female artists. The Avery collection is arranged by artist's name.
Citation/reference: The New York Public Library. A Handbook of the S.P. Avery Collection of Prints and Art Books in the New York Public Library (1901)