Elizabeth Lane DC’05 associate librarian for public services at the Frick Collection in New York.


Nick Romanenko

Elizabeth Lane has a couple of rituals that keep the awesomeness of her job uppermost in mind, and she practices them regularly. As a staff member at the Frick Collection in Manhattan, Lane DC’05 likes to stroll the museum galleries after hours and take in the beauty of the building itself, once the home of turn-of-the-century industrialist Henry Clay Frick.

But it is as the Frick’s associate librarian for public services that Lane truly gets to indulge her gratitude. Now in her fifth year at the Frick, Lane can peruse 17th-century auction catalogs and read the annotations scribbled in their margins by eager collectors or help researchers trace the provenance of a small bronze statue looted from Germany during World War II.

“People come in and they can’t believe what we have,” says Lane, fairly gushing in describing the library’s collections and archives. “All museums wish they had a reference library. But I would put the Frick as one of the best art reference libraries in the world.

“We have a vast public,” she adds. “A lot of what we do is object-oriented research, especially provenance research: being able to see where an object was over time, whose collection it was in, who the artist was, whether it had ever been exhibited.

“I’m very interested in the usability of our collection,” says Lane, who majored in art history and psychology. “It’s wonderful connecting people with the information that helps create a broader understanding of art.”

Lane, who recently became president of the Rutgers Club of New York City, originally enrolled at Rutgers as a psychology major. But an art history class with former professor Seth Gopin RC’79, GSNB’84,‘94—and then a summer course he taught in Paris—cemented her commitment to the art world. Lane even toured the Frick as an undergraduate and recalls an early ambition to work there.

Much of Lane’s day is spent working with interlibrary loans, helping researchers navigate the library’s digital content, or teaching students and scholars how best to use the library. She regularly sees Rutgers professors and students among the scholars who come to use the Frick’s famous reading room.

But when the workday draws to a close, there is that magnificent space for her to wander. “Everybody I work with is passionate about being here,” she says. “I feel so very lucky.”