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February 1, 2005

The J. & R. Lamb Studios Gift Fund Established

The Library of Congress announces the establishment of the J. & R. Lamb Studios Gift Fund for materials in the ecclesiastical arts. An important gift of these materials is being added to existing holdings of almost 3,000 design drawings and renderings from the archives of the oldest ecclesiastical arts studio in continuous operation in the United States, founded in New York in 1857 by Joseph and Richard Lamb.

The J. & R. Lamb Studios Gift Fund in the Library of Congress is intended to assist and advance the work of conservation, housing and processing, as well as the dissemination of the materials in the archives through lectures, public programs, publications, electronic media and other activities. Interested individuals, foundations and corporations may contribute to this fund.

The fund was established by Barea Lamb Seeley of West Falmouth, Mass. The gift of materials comes from Seeley and her brother, Charles Anthony Lamb, of Darien, Conn. These materials will be made available to both scholars and the general public by the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division once they are processed.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington praised the "extraordinary contents of this truly remarkable body of material, which reveals so much about the aspirations and beliefs of the American people through their patronage of the decorative arts."

The donated materials include several hundred original drawings in graphite, ink, watercolor and gouache for ecclesiastical and other furnishings and interiors. Also included are designs for work in silver, woodwork, metalwork, marble, mosaics and stained glass windows.

Accompanying catalogs, hundreds of photographs and several photographic albums, which were used as promotional materials for the commissions of the ecclesiastical studios—specialists in ecclesiastical art, church, memorial and monumental work—serve as source material. Included are a scrapbook of clippings and approximately 2,000 glass slides documenting the work of the studios, its many designers and craftsmen, and the urban planning and City Beautiful lectures of Charles Rollinson Lamb; a book of Lamb family correspondence and letters between noted muralists and the art critic William Walton; and supplementary correspondence and publications.

Jeremy Adamson, chief of the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress, said "the J. & R. Lamb Studios archives constitutes one of the most distinguished recent additions to our collections and is notable for the richness and depth of its graphic documentation, with commissions throughout the United States, ranging from rare designs from the Aesthetic Movement through the mid-20th century."

The J. & R. Lamb Studios archives spans the late 19th century to the 1980s and is accompanied by manuscript order books documenting thousands of commissions. Church interiors have been the primary work of the studios, which were owned and operated by four generations of the Lamb family until 1970, when Donald Samick assumed ownership after Karl Lamb, the great-grandson of Joseph Lamb, died. The company has completed more than 10,000 commissions during its 147 years and remains active today at its location in Clifton, N.J.

Among the more prestigious commissions for which the studios are known are the stained glass windows of Stanford University’s Memorial Church in Palo Alto, Calif.; the interior furnishings, decorations and stained glass windows at the First Presbyterian Church in Orange, Texas; all the stained glass windows in the Protestant and Catholic chapels at the U.S. Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and the mosaic apse and dome of Sage Chapel, Cornell University.

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PR 05-014
02/01/05
ISSN 0731-3527

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