Rosenbach, Free Library Are Merging

NewsWorks reports that the Rosenbach Museum—probably best known as, but not limited to, the repository for the works of the late artist and author Maurice Sendak—is planning to merge with the Free Library of Philadelphia, giving their combined rare-books collection a more powerful punch to attract researchers and other bibliophiles. The Rosenbach has more than 400,000 rare books,  letters, and artworks in its collection, but has struggled to maintain staff during the weak economy of recent years.

“The merger with the Free Library will give us vastly increased capacity, a vastly increased audience, and a great way to bring to market all the great ideas we’ve had for years,” (Director Derick Dreher) said.

The Free Library Foundation, on the other hand, is looking to access the Rosenbach’s deep holdings — including original papers of James Joyce, Bram Stoker and Maurice Sendak — with its own collections of, for example, Edgar Allen Poe and Charles Dickens.

“Think about what we have here in our collections and then complement it by strong collections around Judaica, around children’s literature, all the modernist writers, and the poet Marianne Moore, and of course James Joyce,” said Siobhan Reardon, president of the Free Library.

The merger is expected to be finalized July 31.