Image of the construction of the HS-SS Library at the Institute for Advanced Study.

Community Collecting Initiatives

About the Stacks Collecting Project

“It requires little--a few men, a few students, a few rooms, books, blackboards, chalk”--Founding Director Abraham Flexner

As part of the Stacks Collecting Project, the Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center is working to preserve and make tangible the most ephemeral aspects of advanced research happening across the Institute for Advanced Study's historic campus.

Founding Director Abraham Flexner envisioned the Institute for Advanced Study as an intimate community of scholars working with little more than "a few men, a few rooms, [and] books." While much about the Institute’s community has evolved in the ninety years since its Founding Director, stacks of books and personal libraries remain an important visual symbol to help visualize the often immaterial labors of scholarship. From the personal libraries distinguished Faculty like Kurt Gödel and Oswald Veblen to the material productions of authors like T. S. Eliot and Tom Philips, the books of Institute scholars serve as important reminders of the scholar’s ability to build from the collective knowledge before them something fundamentally new and transformative. 

In this collecting initiative, we welcome scholars from across our community to share photographs of books, notes, and manuscripts that line their working spaces and form the material foundations of their work in the hopes to make them available for years of scholars to come. 

To be a part of the Stacks Collecting Project, get started here.