Rare Books and Manuscripts

Landscapes of the Late Anthropocene by Philip Zimmermann (2017)
Landscapes of the Late Anthropocene by Philip Zimmermann (2017)

A diverse collection of rare books, pamphlets, and special monograph collections that support research in the history of illustration, history of the book, and all subject areas represented by the manuscript collections. Among the holdings are first editions, fine press and small press editions, limited editions, and broadsides by a wide range of 19th and 20th century American and British poets, novelists and dramatists; early illustrated botanical and natural history books from the 16th through the 19th centuries; published works produced by Latin American presses from the 17th to the 20th centuries; …

The collection was initially established as a protection program designed to remove valuable and limited edition print and non-print materials from the Library’s circulating collection. It includes rare books such as American imprints before 1820, early European printed books, political and literary broadsides, early newspapers and periodicals, pamphlets, and ephemera. Specialized research collections include the Italian Risorgimento Collection, the Belgian Revolution Collection, and the Gaines Collection of Political Americana. Also included are special materials relating to the history of the books and printing, such as specimens of illumination and early printing, art prints, bookplates, posters and graphic arts.

Collection highlights include:


Accessing These Materials

All materials are available for use in the John P. McDonald Reading Room. For additional information, please see Using our Materials. Some collections are available in our digital repository.


Melissa Watterworth Batt
Archivist; Archival Processing; Literary & Natural History Collections


(860) 486-4508