The Jaques & Marcus jewelry firm, later Marcus & Company, was established in New York City in 1892 by Herman Marcus and his son William shortly after they immigrated from Germany. Herman Marcus, a skilled jeweler trained in traditional plique-à-jour enameling techniques, quickly became a widely-known and respected designer. Marcus’s affinity for using semi-precious and uncommon gems was central to his jewelry designs.
The firm was bought by a larger company after World War II and eventually dissolved by the 1960s, but the prominence of Marcus & Co. in its prime was equal to that of Tiffany & Co.
The Art Nouveau movement, which began in Europe, reached the shores of the United States due to the popularity of designers like Tiffany and Marcus. This artistic movement was a reaction to the Industrial Revolution and the rise of factory-made goods that lacked the unique quality of handmade objects and the asymmetry of the natural world. In Art Nouveau, the utilitarian gave way to the ornate. Artists and craftsmen in the graphic and decorative arts incorporated botanical elements and flowing lines to elevate everyday objects into works of art.
The original designs made by artists at Marcus & Co. at the turn of the 20th century were compiled into eight albums for the firm’s archives. Burton Elliot ’48 donated these albums to Dartmouth College in 1987, and they served as inspiration in Dartmouth’s Donald Claflin Jewelry Studio for many years. Each delicate drawing and intricate painting portrays a custom piece designed by the firm. The drawings are exquisite examples of Art Nouveau style and each stands as a small masterpiece in itself.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art recently requested the albums be digitized in preparation for the Met’s upcoming museum-wide exhibit on jewelry. First, the albums were stabilized so they could be transported and opened for imaging without risking damage. Conservation staff cleaned the albums of accumulated soot, created new spines out of archival materials, and mended torn pages. With generous support from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the albums were then transported to the Northeast Document Conservation Center to be photographed and digitized. The images displayed here are select examples from the eight volume set, which can be viewed in its entirety in Rauner Special Collections Library.
Exhibit curated by Lizzie Curran, Assistant Library Conservator, and designed by Dennis Grady, Library Education & Outreach.
Baker-Berry Library, Baker Main Hall: April 14 - June 2, 2017
The Gibbs Memorial Book Fund and African American Studies at Dartmouth
The Duane Gibbs '76 and William Rice '76 Memorial Book fund is one of many funds in the Library that memorializes Dartmouth's alumni. This particular fund is for the acquisition of books, journals, and reference materials by African American authors. The fund was originally established in 1989 by Reginald Thomas '75, P'10, William Rice '76, P'19, and Gary Love '76, P'10 in honor of their dear friend Duane Gibbs '76, who died that same year. Rice's name was added to the fund after his death in 2016 to memorialize his devotion to his friend Duane and to his alma mater Dartmouth.
The 40th anniversary of Gibbs's, Rice's, and their friends' graduation provides the opportunity to explore the African American educational experience at Dartmouth in and around 1976. This exhibit explores the development of the African and African American Studies Program, the life and work of Errol Hill, an African American educator at Dartmouth, and works by African American authors in the Library's collections.
This exhibit is displayed with gratitude to Gary Love '76 for proposing the exhibit, Dennis Grady the exhibit designer, and curators Laura Braunstein, Morgan Swan, Whitney Martin, and Laura Barrett.
Baker-Berry Library, Berry Main Street: February 10 - April 30, 2017
Exhibit reception, Berry Main Street: Monday, April 10, 3:30-4:30pm
Last Updated: 4/20/17