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.