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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

PRINT CLUB OF CLEVELAND

PRINT CLUB OF CLEVELAND

The PRINT CLUB OF CLEVELAND is an organization of connoisseurs of prints and printmaking. Membership is by application and is limited to 250, with all members living in the Western Reserve. The club was founded by Ralph R. King (1855-1926), print enthusiast and benefactor, and incorporated as the Print Club on 20 Dec. 1919. The first meeting, held at the UNION CLUB on 5 Jan. 1920, elected trustees and adopted the purposes "to assist the Cleveland Museum of Art to acquire a print collection of high excellence" (later amended to "enhance that collection by consistently generous gifts") and "to stimulate interest in prints and print collecting." Charles T. Brooks served as the club's first president. In 1922 the Dept. of Prints & Drawings was established at the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART with the stimulus and support of the Print Club, and since that time a reciprocal relationship has enriched both institutions. Since 1923, the Print Club has allocated funds for the museum to purchase prints and drawings of the annual MAY SHOW artists. Also in 1923, the executive committee decided to issue an annual "presentation print," commissioned each year exclusively for the museum and for Print Club members. In conjunction with the publishing of the prints, the club has held special exhibitions and lectures and has printed specially illustrated catalogs. Through the years, the curatorial staff of the museum's print and drawings department (notably Ralph King, Theodore Sizer, Henry S. Francis, and Leona E. Prasse) and the Accessions Committee of the Print Club have coordinated the club's gifts, reflecting the changing needs of each organization. Several funds have been established by the Print Club of Cleveland Fund (1969) to enable members to make significant contributions to the museum collection, as well as to collections in other cities. On 9 June 1950, the club became the Print Club of Cleveland. By 1995 approx. one-third of the collection of 13,000 prints at the Cleveland Museum of Art had been donated or purchased by club members.

In 1984, the Print Club of Cleveland established its annual Fine Print Fair, which featured prints and drawings from dealers around the country. The organization celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1994. Harriet Gould was president of the club in 2004.