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Sidney Kaplan art and printing archive

Identifier: MRBC-MS-00409

Scope and Contents

This collection contains posters, broadsides, and original art by Leonard Baskin; miscellaneous ephemera by Baskin and the Gehenna Press; posters and ephemera by Sidney Kaplan; works by Lisa Baskin; exhibition catalogues and books printed at the Gehenna Press and illustrated by Leonard Baskin.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1948-1995


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Sidney Kaplan (1913-1993) was born in Queens, NYC, and graduated from City College in 1942. Following WWII, Kaplan recieved an MA in History from Boston University (1948), and a PhD in American Civilization from Harvard in 1960. Kaplan joined the English Department at the University of Massachusetts in 1946, gaining recognition as a prominent scholar in African American history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and in the local community. Kaplan founded the Department of Afro-American Studies, the University of Massachusetts Press, and was the founder and editor of The Massachusetts Review. Kaplan was also the editor of Leonard Baskin's The Gehenna Press. Kaplan and his wife, Emma Nogrady, who was a librarian at Smith College, worked on extensive projects in history, literature, and the arts for over thirty years in the Pioneer Valley. Kaplan and Nogrady co-authored The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution (1973), which was the first comprehensive study of depictions of African Americans in the visual arts. In 1991 the University of Massachusetts Press published a series of Kaplan's essays, American Studies in Black and White. Kaplan was also a recipient of the Bancroft Award from the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History due to an article he published in the Journal of Negro History. In 1979, Kaplan also recieved the University of Massachusetts Amherst Chancellor's Medal. Kaplan passed away in 1993 at the age of 80.


4.729 linear feet (5 containers)


The materials in this collection include art and printing materials by Leonard Baskin and Sidney Kaplan during their time at The Gehenna Press. The collection also contains work by various artists, presses, and bookworkers from the Pioneer Valley such as the University of Massachusetts Press and Massachusetts review, both founded by Sidney Kaplan; Meriden Gravure & Meriden-Stinehour; Grabhorn Press; Dolmen Press and the Apiary Press. Original graphics, broadsides, manuscript material and catalogues by and relating to Leonard and Lisa Baskin are also in the collection, including miscellaneous ephemera such as holiday greeting cards, exhibition invitations, calendars, and postcards printed at Gehenna Press.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed inventory that was provided with the collection when it was received by Smith College is available; a copy is in the front of the second box of the collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Cumberland Rare Books, 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by Elisabeth Champion, July 2019.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Mortimer Rare Book Collection Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063