Rare Books


Special Collections' Rare Books unit preserves approximately 50,000 titles dating from a leaf of the Gutenberg Bible (ca. 1456) to recent first editions. These include a wide range of formats, from miniatures no larger than one inch high, to volumes forty inches tall; from five-hundred year-old books in as fine a condition as the day they were printed to twentieth-century first editions crumbing from the acidity of their paper.

Besides individual books, Special Collections houses book collections that bring together groupings of volumes on a particular topic. Subjects represented are broad, but some areas of special interest are:


  • Natural History
  •  The American Revolution
  •  American Travel Accounts
  •  British Shire Histories
  •  Nineteenth and Twentieth Century English Language Fiction
  •  Romanov Russian History and Travel
  •  Science Fiction and Fantasy
  •  The Steamboat Collection
  •  Swiss history
  •  Kelmscott Press publications
  • William Faulkner
  •  Lafcadio Hearn
  •  Stendhal
  •  Robert Southey

Department Director