ST. LOUIS PUBLIC LIBRARY
FINE ARTS DEPARTMENT
Head, Fine Arts Dept.
The department's subject collections include the visual arts, music, the performing arts and the decorative arts.
The visual arts encompass drawing and painting, sculpture, the graphic arts and photography. These subjects are all collected at the independent study level. Architecture, on the other hand, is collected at the research level, and is centered on the Steedman Architectural Library. This is an endowed collection, begun with the donation of the private collection of industrialist George Fox Steedman in 1930.
Music is collected at the independent study level. There is a notable collection of scores and songbooks dating back to the late nineteenth century, which is used extensively by local musicians.
There is also a large (ca. 10,000) selection of compact discs, covering every branch of music except contemporary popular. The collection is especially strong in classical and standard popular music, theatrical and operatic works, and worldwide national and ethnic music. There are still significant remnants of a once sizable collection of long-playing records, and a small selection of cassette tapes.
The performing arts include theatre, dance, radio, film and television, and it is intended that they be collected to the independent study level.
The decorative arts include landscape design, interior design, furniture, folk art, jewelry, costume and fashion, and work in ceramics, metal, wood, glass, etc. They are collected at the independent study level.
Antiques and collectibles constitute a strong area that is collected at the research level. There is especially good material on pottery and porcelain, glassware, silver, dolls and toys, coins, stamps and limited edition collectibles. The department also collects price and identification sources on all these subjects and on paintings, prints and drawing as well.
The department houses very extensive pictures and text on local artists and architects, and on St. Louis buildings/architecture. These are acquired, as are all material of local historic interest, with an attempt at comprehensiveness.
Other non-book collections of note are those of pictures, art reproductions, posters, slides and portraits in vertical files. These have been clipped or otherwise acquired over many decades.