Skip to main content

Print Council of America records, 1951-2020

Historical Note

The Print Council of America (est. 1956- ) is a non-profit, professional organization of print specialists in Boston, Massachusetts.
The idea of a print council began in 1954 when a group of prominent art collectors, curators, and scholars gathered in New York to discuss creating a national organization that could promote prints and print collecting. After much discussion, by-laws and other legal documentation were drawn up by Joshua Binion Cahn, a legal advisor for the Print Council of America, to establish the organization. Some of the earliest members of the council, including Adelyn Breeskin, Gustav von Groschwitz, Una Johnson, William Lieberman, A. Hyatt Mayor, Elizabeth Mongan, Paul J. Sachs, and Carl Zigrosser, were led by Lessing J. Rosenwald, an art collector and son of Julius Rosenwald, who was part owner of Sears, Roebuck and Company.
Rosenwald's mission was to "foster the creation, dissemination, and appreciation of fine prints, old and new," and to encourage and professionalize the preservation, administration, and study of print collections in the United States and Canada. Eventually the organization evolved to become an authority on print standards, educating print professionals and collectors on how to prevent fraudulent practices by learning ways to identify authentic or "original" prints. As an authority on prints, the council published numerous guides and directories of print resources. One of the council's most notable accomplishments was the compilation of European, American, and Japanese print resources into the Index of Print Catalogues Raisonné online database. The council also aimed to provide its members with an avenue to share ideas through holding annual meetings. After the closing of the organization's New York office in 1973, annual and semi-annual meetings continued to be a valuable resource for members.
Today, the council continues to provide educational tools and resources for print professionals.