Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Andrew Alpern Collection of Edward Gorey Materials, 1954-2019

Summary Information


A collection of original artwork, published books, printed ephemera, and branded merchandise by the writer and artist Edward Gorey (1925-2000), assembled by Andrew Alpern.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1878
Bib ID 12919447 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Alpern, Andrew
Title Andrew Alpern Collection of Edward Gorey Materials, 1954-2019
Physical Description 21.5 linear feet (15 manuscript boxes, 1 record carton, 4 flat boxes, 5 artifact boxes, 1 poster tube, and 2 map case folders)
Language(s) Primarily in English, with a few items in French, German, Italian, and Japanese.

The following boxes are located off-site: 3-28. You will need to request this material 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.



This collection is arranged in five series. Each series is arranged in chronological order.


Scope and Contents

The Andrew Alpern Collection of Edward Gorey Materials comprises materials by and about the writer and artist Edward Gorey, created between 1954 and 2019, and collected by Alpern from the 1970s through the 2010s. The collection includes materials associated with many of Gorey's professional interests and activities. These include the publication and marketing of Gorey's illustrated books and related ephemera, Gorey's work for theatre and for performing arts organizations, press coverage, and Gorey's publications in periodicals. There is also a small amount of original artwork by Gorey.

The collection also documents the exhibition and sale of Gorey's work to collectors such as Alpern during Gorey's lifetime and after his death. Many—if not the majority—of the items in the collection were purchased by Alpern through the New York City independent bookstore Gotham Book Mart. Receipts and other documentation of these purchases are included in the collection. A small number of auction catalogs, promotional ephemera for exhibitions, and materials related to the Edward Gorey House and the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust are also present.

  • Series I: Original artwork, 1976-1986

    Series I contains etchings, collographs, silkscreen prints, and one original drawing by Edward Gorey. The series also includes three photographic prints of Edward Gorey posing with cats. Some items in the series were formerly framed. Gorey did not select the frames, which were removed for preservation purposes.

  • Series II: Publishing, exhibitions, and sales, 1963-2018

    Series II includes books, Christmas cards and postcards, and other printed ephemera produced by Edward Gorey; various items produced to promote Gorey's printed works; and documentation of their sale to Alpern and other collectors. In addition, the series contains a small amount of printed ephemera produced by Gorey for third parties. Finally, it includes promotional materials for exhibitions of Gorey's work.

    Much of the material in this series was produced by or sold at Gotham Book Mart, a New York City bookstore and gallery that sold much of Gorey's work. The limited edition Christmas cards were printed by Albondocani Press, a private press run by George Bixby, which also produced several of Gorey's books.

  • Series III: Performing arts, circa 1954-2016

    Series III contains materials related to Gorey's work in the performing arts, including theatre, music, dance, and television. It includes items associated with Gorey's work on performing arts productions, notably the Tony award-winning 1977 Broadway revival of Dracula (for which Gorey designed sets and costumes) and the television series Mystery!, as well as various other works written by Gorey. It also includes work created by Gorey to promote other performing arts organizations, such as the New York City Ballet, Cape and Islands Chamber Music, and the Metropolitan Opera. In addition, there are a small number of audio recordings with packaging designed by Gorey, and a poster and program for a 2016 play about Gorey's life.

  • Series IV: Clippings and press, 1954-2019

    Series IV contains clippings and full volumes of periodicals with stories about Edward Gorey, or which include work (both written works and illustrations) by Gorey.

  • Series V: Edward Gorey House and Charitable Trust, 2000-2018

    Series V contains promotional materials for the Edward Gorey House, Gorey's home in Massachusetts, which became a museum after Gorey's death in 2000. It also includes licensed calendars, prints, and other items produced by the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust. Finally, it contains a pendant worn by Gorey, which was left to Andrew Alpern in Gorey's will.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

The following boxes are located off-site: 3-28. You will need to request this material 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.

The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust is the sole owner of all copyrights and related rights to the works of Edward Gorey. All inquiries may be directed to representatives of the Trust at trust@edwardgorey.com.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Andrew Alpern Collection of Edward Gorey Materials; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Related Materials

Andrew Alpern collection of Land Deeds: another collection assembled by Alpern, this one of land deeds, also at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University.

Andrew Alpern collection of drawing instruments, 1700-2004: a collection of drawing instruments assembled by Alpern, dating from the eighteenth through twenty-first centuries. At the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

Gotham Book Mart records: Records of Gotham Book Mart, the New York City bookstore and gallery where Alpern acquired the bulk of this collection, and which was instrumental in promoting Edward Gorey's work. At the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania.

Gotham Book Mart Collection of Edward Gorey: Consists primarily of Andreas Brown's records of Doomed Enterprises (a company which handled publishing and licensing Gorey's works), documents relating to the execution of the Edward Gorey estate after 2000, and other documents and artifacts documenting Gorey's public image and legacy. At the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania.

Custodial History

The collection was displayed at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library in 2012 in an exhibition curated by Alpern, titled Gorey Preserved: The Collection of Andrew Alpern.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Collection-level record describing unprocessed material made public in summer 2018 as part of the Hidden Collections initiative.

This collection was processed by Celeste Brewer. Finding aid written by Celeste Brewer in May-July 2019.

Collection description was based on an item-level inventory provided by the donor. Materials were physically grouped together according to size and format.

The item numbering was assigned by the donor in the collection inventory created prior to its arrival at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Items donated after 2010 were not included in the original inventory, and were not assigned numbers.

Separated Materials

The collection originally included approximately 350 books by or with contributions by Gorey. These were separated from the collection and cataloged individually; they can be located by searching CLIO, the Libraries' catalog, for "Edward Gorey collection of Andrew Alpern."

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.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Etchings (prints) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Greeting cards Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Postcards Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Alpern, Andrew Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Artists Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Artists -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Book collectors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gorey, Edward, 1925-2000 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Illustrated books Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Scrapbooks Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

New York architect, attorney, and book collector Andrew Alpern is the author of several books on New York City apartment buildings. He also published Edward Gorey's book F.M.R.A. (1980). He has been a generous donor to various libraries and archives.

Edward Gorey (1925-2000) was a prolific writer and artist best known for his illustrated books. He also designed sets and costumes for theatrical productions, including the 1977 Broadway revival of Dracula, and animated the introduction to the PBS television series MYSTERY! (1980-2006).

Gorey was born in Chicago and attended Harvard University, where he roomed with the writer Frank O'Hara. He lived in New York City until 1986, when he moved to Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts. He died in Yarmouth Port in April of 2000. His home is now a museum dedicated to his life and works.