In fall 1996, the Cotsen staff began compiling a multi-volume book catalogue of the research collection, with support from the Department of Special Collections and the Technical Services Department of the Princeton University Library. The catalogue describes that portion of the non-circulating collection of printed books which the donor Lloyd E. Cotsen '50 has gifted to Princeton University up to the year 2000. The material comprises approximately 23,000 items out of a total of over 90,000 in over thirty languages published during the Fifteenth through Twentieth centuries.
In May 2000, volume I, the Twentieth century A-L, was published, and in December 2003, volume II, the Twentieth century M-Z. 12,403 books are described there, with detailed notes on their illustrations, contents, bindings, and previous owners. As so many children's books appear without dates of publication on their title pages, every attempt has been made to assign an accurate date of issue based on internal evidence and authoritative reference sources in print and on-line. In January 2019, volumes I and II of the Nineteenth century was published, including 6,370 book titles and 270 brightly color-printed illustrations. The final two descriptive volumes covering 1,309 entries for books printed between the Sixteenth and Eighteenth centuries was published in July 2020. The catalogue project now covers publications from the earliest books through the 20th century. The Comprehensive Index volumes were published in 2021 and cover all 20,082 descriptive entries published in the previous six volumes. Totaling more than 1250 pages, the index includes the following categories of information: Author, Title, Illustrator, Publisher, Series, General & Subject, Owner & Collector, and Chronological.
Designed by Mark Argetsinger, the text of each volume is lavishly illustrated in duotone and process color and printed on Mohawk Superfine paper. The volumes are bound in blue (pre-1801 imprints), mauve (the Nineteenth century), olive green (the Twentieth century), and light gray (Index) Japanese cloth with the front covers stamped in gold and full-color patterned endpapers.
The following texts from The Twentieth Century: Volume 1 may be read online:
Foreword by Harold Shapiro, President of Princeton University
Introduction by Andrea Immel, Curator of the Cotsen Children's Library