Rare Books

About the Rare Book Collection

The Rare Book Collection consists of approximately 340,000 volumes ranging in date from the fifteenth century to the twenty-first. Nearly all of the Library’s pre-1800 titles are located in Special Collections, as are many books from the early decades of the nineteenth century. Later printed books that are scarce, have significant bindings, illustrations, or ownership history, are also part of the rare book collections. Other criteria for inclusion include important early works in the history of a particular subject or geographical area and books that form part of a comprehensive subject collection.

Areas of strength in the Rare Book Collection include the history of science and medicine, English and American literature, history, and economics, contemporary poetry, historical children’s books, Jewish life and culture, theology, Renaissance humanism, and the printed works of Frederick Chopin.

Selected Listing of Rare Book Collections

Fred W. Atkinson Collection of American Drama
Celia and Delia Austrian Study Collection of Drama 1660-1800
The Berlin Collection
Bibliotheca Homerica Langiana
John Crerar Collection of Rare Books in the History of Science and Medicine
Encyclopaedia Britannica Collection of Children's Literature
German Almanache and Taschenbuecher
Maurice H. Grant Collection of English Bibles
Samuel N. Harper Russian Pamphlet Collection
Emma B. Hodge Collection of Reformation imprints
Linckesche Leihbibliothek und Buchhandlung (Lincke) Collection
Helen and Ruth Regenstein Collection of Rare Books
Ludwig Rosenberger Library of Judaica
Arthur W. Schultz Golf Collection
Louis Szathmary Family Collection of Hungarica
Lillian A. Wells Collection of Montaigne Editions

Rare Book Collections Digital Highlights

Adventures in the Soviet Imaginary: Children's Books and Graphic Arts
Book Use, Book Theory, 1500-1700
The Chicagoan
Chopin Early Editions
Eastern European Jews in the German-Jewish Imagination
The First American West: The Ohio River Valley 1750-1820
The Graphics of Revolution and War: Iranian Poster Arts
Homer in Print, the Transmission and Reception of Homer's Works
Images of Prayer, Politics, and Everyday Life from the Harry and Branka Sondheim Jewish Heritage Collection
My Life is an Open Book: DIY Autobiography
Printing for the Modern Age: Commerce,Craft, and Culture in the RR Donnelley Archive 
Recipes for Domesticity: Cookery, Household Management, and the Notion of Expertise
Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae
Gerald N. Wachs Collection of Nineteenth Century English Poetry