Sandra Ludig Brooke, Librarian of the Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, has been named the Avery Director of the Library at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, The Huntington’s Interim President, Steve Hindle, announced on Wednesday. She joins the staff in early January 2018.
“It is with enormous enthusiasm that we bring Sandra on board to lead the Library division at this transformative time,” said Hindle. “Libraries—including significant rare book and manuscript libraries like The Huntington—are undergoing spectacular shifts in the way that they function, underscored by the rapid changes in technology. Tremendous opportunities lie ahead for making our collections more discoverable, and more relevant, than ever before, and we look forward to Sandra and her very capable team leading the way forward.”
Brooke succeeds David Zeidberg, who has served as director for the past 21 years.
“This is an auspicious moment for research libraries,” said Brooke. “Rare book and manuscript collections are astonishingly nuanced embodiments of the cultures that created them. Today, digital technologies offer myriad ways to magnify the impact of these rare and precious materials—to enhance their discovery and make new kinds of scholarly inquiry possible. It’s an exhilarating time, and I look forward to being a part of it at The Huntington.”
For the past 10 years, Brooke has overseen the Marquand Library’s staff and collections. The Library is one of the oldest and most extensive art libraries in the United States, attracting more than 150,000 visitors each year. Its collection comprises a full range of library materials to support research in art and architecture, the decorative arts, photography, and archaeology from prehistory to the present. She previously was head of collection development at the Williams College Libraries and an editor for the J. Paul Getty Trust’s Bibliography of the History of Art, and has done curatorial and museum education work at the Yale Center for British Art and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. She holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in art history from Northwestern University and Williams College, respectively, and did graduate work in the history of art at Yale University where her principal research was in 18th and 19th century British art. She also holds a master’s degree in library science from the State University of New York at Albany.
At The Huntington, she will be responsible for a staff of more than 70 and a world-renowned collection of some 9 million rare books and manuscripts covering, principally, British and American history, literature, art, and the history of science, stretching from the 11th century to the present. Among the collections are 7 million manuscripts, 420,000 rare books, 275,000 reference books, and 1.3 million photographs, prints, and ephemera.
She will serve as one of 10 members of the Huntington’s senior staff, reporting to the President. Central to the Library’s mission is its work with scholars; some 1,700 or so access the collections each year conducting advanced research in the humanities. The Library also is responsible for a Main Exhibition Hall, showcasing some of the most significant rare books and manuscripts in the collection; for the Dibner Hall of the History of Science, a permanent exhibition on astronomy, natural history, medicine, and light; and a temporary exhibition space which most recently displayed an acclaimed exhibition on the work of science fiction author Octavia E. Butler.
Among the Library’s most iconic holdings are the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (ca. 1400–1405); one of 12 vellum copies of the Gutenberg Bible known to exist (ca. 1455); quarto and folio editions of Shakespeare’s plays, some of which were printed during the writer’s lifetime; the monumental Birds of America by John J. Audubon; and the original manuscript of Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography. Newer holdings include manuscript collections from writers Charles Bukowski, Octavia E. Butler, Jack London, and Hilary Mantel.
Direct to the Huntington Digital Collection