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 or that 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, book arts, and the printed works of Frederick Chopin.