William J. Dane Papers
- Majority of material found in 1923 - 2019
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
11.17 Linear Feet (10 Hollinger boxes, one Paige Box containing four binders of photographs, 5 oversized flat boxes, and two boxes of slides. Digitized materials are on a flash drive, filed in the Paige Box. )
Biographical / Historical
"Renowned in art circles for his unimpeachable manners, his implacable curiosity, and his unassailable scholarship… but perhaps, most revered for his impeccable eye…," Dane took charge of a very rich collection founded at the turn of the 20th century and expanded it so that it is now a comprehensive worldwide survey of the graphic arts from the Renaissance to the 21st century.
"Dane has been an ideal custodian of the art collection," art historian, Ezra Shales said in an appreciation, "because he understands that they were created in the first decade of the 20th century to entertain and inform the library's patrons… [He] has been careful to preserve the emphasis on aesthetic pleasure…, [but he] has pushed the envelope."
In his own words, Dane defined his guiding principle as "a magical thing really." "I love abstraction...realism...bright colors and lines, and exploratory graphics. I don't have any personal barriers."
Born and raised in Concord, N.H., where his Irish-born father ran an auto repair shop, Dane was an inquisitive child. His education at the University of New Hampshire was, however, interrupted by World War II. He joined the Army in 1942, underwent basic training at Fort Bragg, and was then sent to the Newark College of Engineering (now the New Jersey Institute of Technology) to study bridge-building. It turned out that the Army didn't need bridge-builders so his infantry division (the 69th ) was sent to Belgium in December 1944. After the war, after completing his liberal arts degree, Dane was hired by the Newark Public Library in the fall of 1947. He was assigned to the art and music department, and began to learn about art.
Over the course of his many decades, he curated over 350 exhibitions on topics as diverse as etchings by old masters, prints by modern masters, Japanese traditional and modern woodblocks, work by African American artists and Puerto Rican artists, and so many more. In 1997 the collection was named "The William J. Dane Fine Print Collection" in his honor, and in 2004 he established "The Gertrude Fine Prints Endowment Fund" in memory of his sister. In summing up his career, Dane once said, "I feel very lucky that early on I fell into a professional subject area that I found very rewarding and filling… No two days have been the same." -Obituary written by William Peniston, Librarian/Archivist at The Newark Museum
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Art Libraries Society of North America
- Art--Societies, etc
- Book reviews
- Concord (N.H.)
- Grolier Club
- Letters (correspondence)
- Military decorations
- Newark College of Engineering
- Newark Public Library -- Exhibitions.
- Newark Public Library -- History
- Newark Public Library. Special Collections Division.
- United States. Army. Infantry Regiment, 69th
- Universities and colleges -- New Jersey -- Newark
- Victorian Society in America. Metropolitan Chapter
- World War, 1939-1945