Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Philip Grushkin Papers, 1937-2001, bulk 1940s-1960s

Summary Information

Abstract

Philip Grushkin (1921-1998) was a book designer, educator, and art director. He is best known for his book design work for publishers such as Alfred A. Knopf, Random House, Abbeville, and Harry N. Abrams, where he also worked as Art Director and Vice President. The collection includes material related to his design work and a collection of book jackets by George Salter.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1797
Bib ID 12028538 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Grushkin, Philip, 1921-1998
Title Philip Grushkin Papers, 1937-2001, bulk 1940s-1960s
Physical Description 9.16 linear feet (9.16 linear feet 3 record cartons 8 document boxes 5 halfdocument boxes and 8 flat boxes)
Language(s) In English, with a few items in German.
Access

The following boxes are located off-site: Boxes 1-4, 6-7, 15-24. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in six series and several subseries: Series I: Book Design, 1940s-1980s, undated Subseries I.1: Comprehensives, Mechanicals, and Roughs of Book Jackets, 1940s-1960s; Subseries I.2: Published Book Jackets, 1940s-1960s; Subseries I.3: Published Catalogs, 1947-1950s; Series II: Project Files, 1940s-1994, undated Subseries II.1: Book Project Files, 1940s-1988; Subseries II.2: Graphic Design Project Files, 1946-1968, 1994, undated; Subseries II.3: Other Project Files, 1940s-1950s, undated; Series III: Design Experiments, Samples, and Supplies, 1950s-1980s, undated; Series IV: Personal Papers, 1937-1996 Subseries IV.1: Personal Correspondence, 1956-1996; Subseries IV.2: Self Portrait, 1937; Subseries IV.3: Philip Grushkin Logos, undated; Subseries IV.4: Keepsakes, etc., 1950s, undated; Series V: George Salter Collection, 1920s-1960s Subseries V.1: Book Jackets--American Publishers; Subseries V.2: Book Jackets--German Publishers; Subseries V.3: Other Materials, 1936-1960s; Series VI: Printed Materials, 1940s-2001, undated Subseries VI.1: Materials Related to Grushkin, 1940s-2001; Subseries VI.2: Materials Collected by Grushkin, 1950s-1999, undated

Description

Scope and Content

Philip Grushkin (1921-1998) was a book designer, educator, and art director. He is best known for his book design work for publishers such as Alfred A. Knopf, Random House, Abbeville, and Harry N. Abrams, where he also worked as Art Director and Vice President. The collection includes material related to his design work and a collection of book jackets by George Salter.

The materials related to Grushkin's career in book jacket design are primarily found in Series I: Book Jacket Design. These materials consist of final printed book jackets, as well as related comprehensives, mechanicals, and roughs. Small book jackets and related comprehensives are filed alphabetically by title and these are not listed by item in the contents list. Oversized book jackets, comprehensives, mechanicals, and roughs are listed individually in the contents list due to the variation in their condition and size. There is also a small set of catalogs from Dial Press and the Marboro Book Club. Grushkin's collection of Salter's book jackets can be found in Series V: George Salter Collection.

Series II: Project Files contains records related to specific projects that were maintained as individual files. The projects include professional book design, book jacket design, and graphic design projects, as well as personal projects such as announcements, greeting cards, invitations, and presentation pages.

The collection also includes Grushkin's collection of book jackets by George Salter. These are filed in Series V: George Salter Collection. This collection consists primarily of Salter's finished book jackets, but also includes a printed piece, a mechanical for Josephine Johnson's Wildwood, and an article and an item from Salter that were given to Grushkin.

Grushkin also kept files of his lettering experiments, unused book cover backgrounds, and many samples of advertisements, catalogs, and pamphlets from paper and typeface companies, book jacket and title designs by others, paper samples, and a catalog of book fabrics. These files can be found in Series III: Design Experiments, Samples, and Supplies.

There are few personal papers in the collection; what exists is filed under Series IV: Personal Papers. The personal papers include a small folder of correspondence, a self-portrait, personal logos, and a small collection of signed keepsakes and other printed materials.

  • Series I: Book Design

    This series contains comprehensives, mechanicals, roughs, and finished book jackets for book jackets designed by Philip Grushkin.

    This series also contains several catalogs for Dial Press, as well as a jacket for the Fall 1950 catalog, and many issues of the "Bulletin of the Marboro Book Club."

    For projects where more substantial records were maintained together as a file, see Series II: Project Files.

  • Series II: Project Files, 1940s-1994 undated

    This series contains project files for several projects involving the design of book jackets, books, graphics, logos, and other items such as greeting cards, envelopes, invitations, and presentation pages.

  • Series III: Design Experiments, Samples, and Supplies, 1950s-1980s undated

    This series contains a mix of samples and original design experiments.

    The samples include advertisements, catalogs, and pamphlets from paper and typeface companies, a book fabric catalog, book jacket and title designs by others, and paper samples. Grushkin tested out calligraphy marks on some of the paper samples.

    The original design experiments include lettering experiments and unused book jacket backgrounds. The lettering experiments include the alphabet and specific words. The unused cover backgrounds include maps and several geometric patterns.

  • Series IV: Personal Papers

    This series contains a small amount of personal correspondence, a self-portrait, examples of the Philip Grushkin (PG) and Capgee Press logos, and a small set of signed keepsakes and other printed materials.

  • Series V: George Salter Collection

    This series consists primarily of Salter's published book jackets, but also includes a printed piece, a mechanical for Josephine Johnson's Wildwood, and an article and an item from his library that were given to Grushkin.

    For materials related to the Detective Book Club, which involved both Salter and Grushkin, see Subseries II.1: Book Project Files.

  • Series VI: Printed Materials

    This series contains exhibition catalogs, publications, keepsakes, and other printed materials.

    A few items will be cataloged separately from the collection. Ephemera from the Grolier Club has been added to the Library's collection of Grolier Club Ephemera, and all holdings of the periodical U & lc are cataloged as part of the Library's Graphic Arts collections

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

The following boxes are located off-site: Boxes 1-4, 6-7, 15-24. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Philip Grushkin Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Accrual

No additions are expected

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed by Catherine C. Ricciardi and Elizabeth McIntosh (GSAS), 2016-2017.

Finding aid written by Catherine C. Ricciardi, February 2017.

Revision Description

2017-02-07 File created.

2017-02-07 xml document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Book jackets Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Comprehensives Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Correspondence Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Exhibition Catalogs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Greeting cards Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Keepsakes (Books) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mechanicals (camera-ready copy) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Souvenirs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Book design Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Book jackets -- Germany Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Book jackets -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Book jackets -- United States -- Design -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Calligraphy -- United States -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Graphic arts -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Grushkin, Philip, 1921-1998 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Marboro Book Club -- : Periodicals Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Printing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Salter, George, 1897-1967 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Philip Grushkin was born on June 1, 1921 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Jewish Russian immigrants who had come to the United States to escape the pogroms in their home country.

Grushkin became interested in art and book design as a teenager. He studied calligraphy and book design with George Salter (1897-1967) at Cooper Union, graduating in 1941. Grushkin served as a cartographer in the United States Army from 1943-1945; afterwards he became a freelance book jacket designer in New York.

Grushkin focused on book jacket design during the 1940s and 1950s, working for nearly all the major publishers in New York, including Alfred A. Knopf, Random House, Harper and Brothers, Harcourt, Brace, and Company, MacMillan, and Doubleday, as well as smaller publishers, including Farrar Strauss, John Day, and Crown. Gruskin was also active in the Book Jacket Designers Guild during this period, until it disbanded in mid-1950s.

During the mid-1950s, Grushkin's interests shifted from book jacket design to book design. He became assistant book designer to Abe Lerner at World Publishing in 1956, and moved to Harry N. Abrams, a pioneering art book publisher, in 1958. At Harry N. Abrams, Grushkin became Art Director in 1959, and Vice President in 1960. Working with Editor Milton Fox, Grushkin oversaw many important art book projects during the 1960s, including The History of Art by H.W. Janson (1962). Grushkin left Harry N. Abrams in 1969, and worked as a freelance book designer and publishing consultant for the rest of his career.

During the final thirty years of his career, Grushkin worked for several art book publishers and museums, including the New York Graphic Society, Rizzoli, and Abbeville Press. These projects included The Art of Rock, by his son, Paul Grushkin (1987), Atlas of Human Anatomy by Dr. Frank Netter (1989), and a joint project between the United States and Russia on Impressionism and Post-Impressionism (1986). He also operated a hobby press called the CapGee Press out of his home, and printed announcements, business cards, holiday cards, invitations, and other personal commissions.

In addition to his own design work, Grushkin taught design to students. Grushkin taught calligraphy at Cooper Union from 1946-1968, and also taught book design at New York University from 1948-1970s. He also served as the Director of Book Design for the Radcliffe Course in Publishing Procedures for the Harvard Summer School.

Grushkin died of heart failure on September 25, 1998, in New Jersey.