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Faber Birren Collection of Books on Color: Who was Faber Birren?

Information about the Faber Birren Collection of Books on Color, part of Arts Library Special Collections at the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library.

Who was Faber Birren?

Faber Birren (1900-1988) was an early practitioner in the color industry, establishing his own consulting firm with a specialization in color in 1934. He advised on topics such as product color, environmental safety, and staff morale for clients such as E.I. du Pont de Nemours Company and the United States Coast Guard. Birren also applied his professional knowledge to popular culture products such as stationery or cocktail glasses that emphasized individual color preference.  Birren was a prolific author producing 25 books and scores of articles in a variety of venues from peer-reviewed journals to high-circulation popular magazines. Birren’s very successful career allowed him to leave a permanent legacy of his work in color through the Faber Birren Collection of Books on Color. He donated a core collection of 226 books on historic color theory to the Art+Architecture Library at Yale University in 1971, as well as an endowment that allows for continued growth of the collection. In addition to books, the collection holds textile samples, photographs, paint chips, manuscripts, and more. Birren worked with library staff on the development of the collection from the time of its donation until his death in 1988.

Guide to the Faber Birren Papers


Associate Director for Special Collections

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Mar Gonzalez Palacios
Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library
190 York Street | P.O. Box 208318
New Haven, CT 06520-8318
(203) 432-4439