The DAAP library has growing special collections comprised of artist’s books, architectural drawings and archives, handmade/fragile pop up books, rare elephant folios, and Cincinnati urban planning materials.

The artists’ books collection contains several hundred one-of-kind, limited edition, rare, and hand-crafted books and objects. Interesting bindings and forms of the book are but one focus of the collection. Related to artist’s books is the entire limited-edition ten-year run of objects from “the Thing Quarterly,” a periodical in the form of objects designed by artists, writers, designers, filmmakers, and musicians. There is a collection of Mail art, art sent through the mail meant to be participatory, democratic, and meant to subvert the notion of “high art” and gallery/museum elitism. All these collections are available to students, scholars, and members of the general public.

Great Houses in Cincinnati Environmental artist Alice Weston photographed many of the houses in this collection in the 1990s for the publication Great Houses of the Queen City : Two Hundred Years of Historic and Contemporary Architecture and Interiors in Cincinnati, text by Walter E. Langsam, 1997. This collection of over 1400 images includes not only the photographs seen the book, but many more interior and exterior views as well as other properties not included in the publication.

The DAAP Library’s collection includes drawings, papers, photographs of Cincinnati architects:  Rudy Hermes, Ray Roush, Robert Deshon, Woodie Garber, Benjamin Dombar, John Becker, David Niland, James Alexander, and John Bentley. Some selected drawings/archives are digitized and in Jstor as a public collection.

Processing of the collection of Architecture Drawings and Archives is an ongoing project. The bulk of the Benjamin Dombar collection of drawings is unprocessed. The Benjamin Dombar papers are processed and available to view in a Finding Aid. Please see our Finding Aid list and other details:  Architecture Drawings and Archives

The Architecture and Urban Planning Collection is available in Luna Insight and additional images in Architecture of Greater Cincinnati and Architecture Drawings and Archives. Eventually, all the images will be located in The collections contains a variety of images from many sources. Included in the collection are images of urban planning projects from China, Africa, Europe, and the United States. Many of these images represent research projects of the College of Design Architecture, Art and Planning faculty and students. Images of the built environment are from the Cincinnati Preservation Association, professional and amateur photographers, and from students and staff at the University of Cincinnati. These images are available to the general public. The collection is growing continually.

The Archivision Research Library is comprised of 128,000 professional, high-quality images covering architecture, urban design, archaeological sites, landscapes, gardens, and works of art.

The DAAP Library’s collection includes works by many famous artists: Sol LeWitt, Edward Ruscha, Dieter Roth, Jenny Holzer, Yoko Ono and others. The collection also comprises several hundred hand-crafted books, many of which serve as excellent examples of fine binding and book illustration and reflect a focus on the artistic movements of the 1970s and 1980s. The Library Catalog lists the collection at the DAAP Library. 

The physical Bonnie Cashin Collection is comprised of over 200 historical garments designed by Bonnie Cashin for Sills and Co. between 1960 and 1980. The Bonnie Cashion Collection the at university has been digitized and cataloged. George Sarofeen presents a snipet of the library's collection of garments.

Émile Mâle was chair of Medieval Art at the Sorbonne in Paris, 1912. The materials in this collection focus on French Gothic Art and Architecture and the influence Eastern European iconography had on these works.  Most of the publications are written in French and reflect Mâle's significant contributions to twentieth century art history.

Collection of correspondence art, exhibition catalogues, reference books, and miscellaneous ephemera associated with the Mail Art movement: Finding Aid

Material Connexion both in database and object formats of cutting-edge materials: glass, polymers, ceramics, metals, cement, and carbon. The library of objects includes a sample board  of the material with a description of its unique properties, manufacturer information, recommended use/application, and any limitations of the material, etc.  The database, linked from the library webpage, is searchable by physical property (ex: glossy), processing attributes, sustainability factors, and other properties. This unique collection is useful to many fields of study: engineering, industrial design, interior design, fashion, sculpture, etc.

Noel Martin designed catalogues, bulletins, invitations and impacted Cincinnati’s visual culture with his Modernist aesthetic; an aesthetic in which the idea of uncluttered simplicity reigned. He was schooled at the Cincinnati Art Academy and later taught there, as well as, at UC. In 1953, he was included in an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC called, “Four American Designers.” He was the Cincinnati Art Museum’s in-house graphic designer for many years. His library of books and pamphlets on logo design; graphic design; font, typeface, typography, typesetting, printing, and lithography was donated to the library in 2009.

The Terrace Plaza Hotel, located in downtown Cincinnati, was designed by Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill and was the first building to bring widespread acclaim to that firm. When it opened in 1948 it was deemed to be the most progressive American hotel of its day. SOM designed everything for the hotel including the furniture, fabrics, uniforms, matchbooks, china, and silverware. The integration of modern art in the hotel's lobby and restaurants was heralded as wildly successful. The client, John Emery, a great benefactor to the city of Cincinnati, in addition to choosing the architecture firm, also had a hand in selecting the avant-garde artists: Alexander Calder, Joan Miró, Saul Steinberg, and Jim Davis. 

The Art Collection at the University of Cincinnati is an important resource for the University, local arts community, and for the region. Ranging from Greek and Roman antiquities to Local Icons and Modern Photography, the Collection spans a wide array of cultures, adding to and enhancing the educational and artistic resources at hand.