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Housing Options for Collections: Steinberg Collection

Instructions and guidelines for requesting housings from Collections Conservation and Housings

Saul Steinberg Collection

Background

Romanian-born Saul Steinberg (1914-1999) was a multifaceted artist and illustrator whose work appeared on the covers and pages of The New Yorker for nearly six decades. While best known for his iconic line drawings featured in the magazine, Steinberg was also an accomplished artist and traveler, exhibiting his work in galleries and museums worldwide. Today his work, along with his archival material and collected ephemera, is held in institutional and private collections around the world, including the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. 

The Saul Steinberg Papers Collection

The Saul Steinberg Papers are a comprehensive collection of papers, artwork and archival material that document Steinberg's personal and professional life. Majority of the collection dates from 1931-1999, centering largely on Steinberg's life in the United States from 1942 onwards. Additionally, the collection contains over 600 unique objects and realia that Steinberg acquired over his lifetime, including badges, coins, costume jewelry, games, masks, instruments, rubber stamps, textiles, and printed materials from the 15th-19th centuries.

Housing the Steinberg Objects

As noted, the Saul Steinberg Papers collection contains over 600 unique, three-dimensional objects. More than 400 of these objects are rubber stamps, while realia and other collected ephemera make up the rest. The overarching goal of this project was to design long-term storage enclosures for these objects to ensure their preservation and provide safe and easy access for research or exhibition purposes. 

Between 2016-2017, CCH worked in close collaboration with Beinecke staff to construct complex custom housings for the Steinberg objects. Taking into careful consideration the overwhelming volume and variety of objects represented in the collection, CCH strategically housed multiple objects in single boxes and adopted a standard-size storage approach, where custom box sizes were designed to match the dimensions of pre-existing standard Paige boxes. Such solutions allowed CCH to capitalize on space and meet the storage requirements imposed by a project of this scope and scale. 

Majority of the custom boxes were created using existing and modified parametric designs on the Kasemake automated box machine, while standard Paige boxes were used when possible. Interior supports and bumpers were constructed from Ethafoam and Volara to further secure objects. Other design elements such as lifting tabs, removable trays, labels and diagrams were added as necessary to improve handling and ease of viewing. 

 

See gallery for selected Steinberg objects and housings completed by former CCH technicians, Sarah Davis and Frances Osugi. 

Selected Steinberg Objects & Housings

Papier Mâché Mask

Two-piece box with Mylar-windowed lid to provide full view of the mask.

Mount for Papier Mâché Mask

Misc. Objects

Two-piece box with Mylar-windowed lid and a lifting tab to easily access object if needed.

Misc. Object

Carefully accessing object using lifting tab.

Rubber Stamps

Set of stamps arranged rubber-side up in custom grid holes. Designs are visible and can be viewed without handling.

Rubber Stamps

Set of stamps arranged rubber-side up in custom grid holes. Designs are visible and can be viewed without handling.

Wooden Treasure Boxes

Kit Violin

Instrument positioned diagonally in a tray and custom-fitted with Ethafoam and Volara bumpers.

Textile

Multiple Objects Arranged in Single Box

Diagram of arrangement is attached to the drop-front lid of the box.

Multiple Objects Arranged in Single Box