John Ringling’s Personal Library
The Library of The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is an enduring testament to John Ringling’s passion for collecting. His love for Baroque art, Italian and Northern Old Masters, and decorative arts is revealed by his book collection that can indeed be seen as a complement to his art museum. More than 800 titles survive from John Ringling’s art book collection of the 1500 titles listed in the estate inventory taken after his death in 1936. His library consisted of rare limited editions, folios with hundreds of hand colored plates of ancient glass, important early periodicals, and leather-bound volumes of famous English art collections from which he acquired some of his paintings. John Ringling’s book collection is honored with its own room in the new Library.
The Ringling Museum Library
The Library contains more than 85,000 volumes, exhibition and sale catalogs, and more than 100 current periodical titles. The Library conducts and supports research on the Museum’s collection of Italian and European Baroque art, 20th Century Art, Decorative Arts, Peter Paul Rubens, Contemporary Art, and Photography. The Library collects research materials encompassing the entire history of art, art education, and conservation and houses a collection of rare books from the 16th – 20th centuries, including the personal library of John Ringling.
The Library has extensive ephemeral files on artists in the Ringling collection, the Museum complex, and artist and museum files from around the world. The Library is open to researchers, students, and the public Monday through Friday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. We are located in the Education/Conservation Building on the south side of the Ringling Museum estate off Bay Shore Road. To access the library, sign-in at the Security desk located in the lobby of the Education building. Limited parking is available at the Library.
The Library is open to Museum staff, docents, and volunteers Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Library is non-circulating, but a photocopier is available for materials in good condition. Please note that the copyright law of the United States (Title 17 U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.