Exterior of La Casa del Libro, Old San Juan, Puerto RicoFlamboyan Arts Fund
After a restoration work of its original home, the museum is now back at 255 Calle del Cristo, in the magnificent Old San JuanFlamboyan Arts Fund
It houses the largest and most important collection of rare books in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, including “incunables”, or books that were printed before 1500, when modern printing was in its “cradle” or early years.
Founded in 1956, La Casa has been promoting the appreciation of print culture and the arts of the book for 65 years.
La Casa has been promoting the appreciation of print culture and the arts of the book for 65 yearsFlamboyan Arts Fund
In 1955, a group of citizens founded the Amigos de Calle del Cristo 255
This library would house outstanding copies of the best in book production and design throughout the centuries, from manuscripts and “incunable” books to the most significant among those printed in our time.
La Casa del Libro has preserved a important invaluable collection of rare books, organized exhibitions and offered education programs for the publicFlamboyan Arts Fund
The idea was to create a collection that would span the entire history of the book and would help elevate the quality of editorial arts in Puerto Rico, including typography, book design, illustration and printing.
The great Elmer Adler
To guide and direct this ambitious project, the group managed to secure the collaboration of Elmer Adler, a consummate bibliophile, knowledgeable collector, printer of exquisite books and book editor.
Adler had been the founder in 1922 of Pynson Printers, a printing shop in New York City devoted to the production of books of the finest quality. The business was located at the New York Times Annex, at 229 West 43rd street, and included a library and an exhibition gallery.
From 1930 to 1940, Adler published “The Colophon: A Book Collector’s Quarterly”. In 1940 he was asked to go to Princeton University to create and direct a Department of Graphic Arts. Three years after retiring from Princeton, he came to Puerto Rico at the invitation of Teodoro Moscoso, then head of the Department of Economic Development.
La Casa del Libro houses the largest and most important collection of rare books in Puerto Rico and the CaribbeanFlamboyan Arts Fund
Adler's legacy at La Casa del Libro
The singular rare book collection of this library-museum was built, book by book, by Adler and has 300 books printed in the 15th century.
One of the unique books in the collection is the only copy in existence in this hemisphere of the “Summa Theologica” of Saint Thomas Aquinas, printed in Valencia, Spain by Lamberto Palmart in 1477. Adler also paid attention to exceptional contemporary books and illustrations.
Founded in 1956, La Casa del Libro has been promoting the appreciation of print culture and the arts of the book for 65 yearsFlamboyan Arts Fund
Because of his vision and influence, La Casa Del Libro also holds in its collection illustrations and graphic works by great artists like Lorenzo Homar, Jack and Irene Delano, Rael Tufiño, Antonio Martorell and Consuelo Gotay.
Poster for La Casa del LibroFlamboyan Arts Fund
For 65 years, la Casa del Libro has preserved this important invaluable collection, organized exhibitions and offered education programs for the public.
Poster of the exhibition of editions of Don QuixoteFlamboyan Arts Fund
The museum-library today
Under the leadership of its current director, Karen Cana, la Casa del Libro keeps loyal to its legacy and mission.
After having moved for a number of years to a temporary location at Callejón de la Capilla, while its home underwent restoration work, the museum is now back at 255 Calle del Cristo.
It runs a strong exhibition program; a robust calendar of educational outreach activities, workshops and book readings available every weekend; and a museum shop.