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:
The American Revolution
American Travel Accounts
British Shire Histories
Nineteenth and Twentieth Century English Language Fiction