UB Libraries' digital store offers up historical prints and posters for sale


When students’ heads are buried in textbooks or staring into a computer screen, they often overlook the framed photographs and drawings or vintage publications hanging on the walls of Lockwood Memorial Library and the Oscar A. Silverman Library.

UB Libraries Library Store offers approximately 100 pieces on display in the two libraries for sale. Every print or poster purchased has historical relevance to either the City of Buffalo, like publications from the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, or to the history of UB. The majority of the items for sale are from print works published before 1923 and are considered public domain, according to the Library Store’s website.

“I’ve never really noticed the existence of any prints in Lockwood,” said Ginette Malpartida, a sophomore undecided major. “To be honest, when I think of Lockwood, the first thing that comes to mind is computer jungle.”

Although students may not have noticed the prints and posters hanging on the walls nor that they could buy them, the Library Store has customers from across the United States and Europe.

The highest selling print from the Library Store is a photograph of James Joyce strumming his guitar, according to Kathleen Quinlaven, the curator of the Digital Arts Collections. Other photographs available for purchase include the author lying on a wall in Zurich with Nora Joyce, portraits of the author as a child and a formal portrait of the Joyce family.

James Joyce was a novelist and poet of Irish descent who composed works including Ulysses and Dubliners. The James Joyce Collection at UB contains more than 10,000 pages of Joyce’s papers, notebooks, correspondence, manuscripts and photographs.

Other high-selling prints include selections from the illustrations for “The Defense of Guenevere,” a poem by William Morris. Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh composed the illustrations in the late 1890s.

The Bison, UB’s student newspaper of the 1920s, is a popular selling group of prints because of its “risqué and controversial nature,” said Scott Hollander, the web manager and interim coordinator for UB’s Digital Collections.

The Library Store hosts a number of photographs of important historical figures including pictures from Richard Nixon’s speech at the now abolished Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo on Oct. 7, 1968; the poet Dylan Thomas smoking a brown cigar in New York City in 1953; and Robert Frost playing with a black and white dog in the countryside.

Photographs of Muhammad Ali, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. from the 1960s may soon hang in Lockwood and Silverman, according to Hollander.

“These prints would actually be kind of cool in my apartment,” Malpartida said upon seeing the framed prints in Lockwood.

Although each purchase helps fund the UB Libraries Digital Collections, Kris Miller, the instructional support associate for UB Libraries, said selling the prints through the digital store is more about promoting the libraries rather than the monetary profit they bring in. Miller is responsible for creating each of the prints that hang on the walls and are sold through the store.

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