In 1968 the firm of Troedel & Cooper donated its archive to the Library. It is the most significant printer's archive to survive in a public collection.
Charles Troedel (1835–1906) arrived in Australia from Germany in 1860. His early work includes The Melbourne album and Chevalier's Album of chromolithographs. These chromolithographs were the first colour lithographs published in Australia, which is why Troedel is referred to as the 'father of colour lithography in Australia'.
The Troedel archive resides in the Pictures Collection and consists of an estimated 9000 items, including show cards, letterheads, share certificates, brightly coloured labels for food and drink products, and posters advertising theatrical productions, stage personalities, breweries, factories and land sales.
Some of the most striking examples of colour lithography come from the collection of theatre posters. The mid to late 19th century was the golden age of theatre, and the posters produced by Troedel's firm reflect the vigour and vivacity of the Melbourne theatre scene.
The firm's wage and salary books, ledgers, stock records, apprenticeship indentures and patents are held in Australian Manuscripts.
The archive is vast and varied, and provides a wealth of information for social historians, art historians and art students.