Cataloguing the Private Collection: The William A. Gordon Library of British Caricature

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Most private collectors are the catalogue vivant of their own libraries,             indexing and reindexing books in their minds as they acquire new                   treasures and share them with visiting friends and family. But the human mind is not without limit--and sadly not even as permanent as records imprecisely noted on paper cards. Thus, sooner or later, many collectors decide to catalogue their libraries in a more disciplined manner, today often in digital form. But a catalogue residing solely on a computer lacks the physicality and permanence most collectors desire. So in the end they find themselves longing to have their newly digitized bibliographic information returned to the printed form, in a bound volume that will be a joy to both hold and behold. 

For almost 40 years, Chicago attorney William Gordon has been collecting color plate books, watercolors, and individual caricatures of the Georgian period, most notably those of James Gillray (1756-1815) and Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827). Over the last 15 years, he has focused on the oeuvre of the much less known but equally brilliant George Murgatroyd Woodward (1765-1809). Working with librarian and designer Allan Berry--and with a little bit of help and advice from Northwestern librarians--he has created a beautifully annotated, illustrated, and bound descriptive catalogue of his collection, all of it based on a state-of-the-art database project employing both bibliographic and museum software. 

The event will be held on Wednesday, November 6, 2013 from 4:00 to 6:30 pm at Northwestern University Library. William Gordon and Allan Berry will describe the origins, design, and execution of this project, with a result sure to satisfy both bibliophiles and library programmers.