"Visits to the Picture Collection and a Meeting with Librarian Margarete Gross" by Marc Fischer

The Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago has one of the few remaining collections of clipped photos from magazines and books that library patrons can use for research or even check out and take home. For many years Margarete Gross was the primary librarian placed in charge of building and maintaining this collection. In 2003 I met with her to discuss the collection and her work. Margarete retired from library work several years later but she remains passionate about art and images.

Postscript: The Picture Collection was dismantled and discarded in late 2015. In October 2016 I became the owner of the Picture Collection subject heading file cards. A librarian had alerted me that they were going to be thrown away so I rushed to the library with a suitcase. It wound up taking two trips to rescue about 130 pounds of index cards but I was able to save all of them. I have begun posting scans of them at this Instagram account which will serve as their new public home: @picturecollectionsubjects.

Please feel free to use the scans as you wish. They will be presented in various sequences subject to my own choosing, in no particular order, on no particular schedule. For users of Instagram, you may wish to see these posts as invitations to visualize photos of each subject as the subject headings appear in your feed. The pictures associated with each file are gone so we'll just have to reconstruct them mentally or through other means.

– Marc Fischer, October 2018 Contact

This 16 page booklet about the Picture Collection was created for an exhibition in 2003. You can download a free PDF of it here (modified slightly from the original).

[Click on the booklet cover to download the PDF]