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University Libraries
Special Collections
Rare Book Collections

The Rare Book collections are organized into rare books of general subject interest and around a central theme, subject, or author. The oldest printed book is dated 1478, but the collection contains facsimile editions of many classic works.

The general Rare Book collection contains many books of historical interest in botany (including herbals), zoology, history, philosophy, typography, the book arts including books published by fine presses.

Collections developed around a central theme or author include:

  • The Cookbook Collection
  • Fritz Eichenberg Collection
  • The Wilbur Doctor Merrymount Press Collection
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay Collection
  • The Poetry Collection
  • Ezra Pound Collection
  • The Pym Randall Press Collection
  • Edwin Arlington Robinson Collection
  • Walt Whitman Collection
  • Commercial Pattern Book Collection 
  • Carl Woodward Collection of Early Agricultural Publications

All the books in the Rare Book collection are cataloged and can be located in the HELIN library catalog with their respective collection designation before the call number.  Rare Books do not circulate.

Eligible users and restrictions on use
Any qualified person doing scholarly research is permitted to use material housed in the Special Collections Unit. 

Before beginning research, everyone is required to register. A Research Form must be completed if the researcher is using manuscript or archival collections. Collections are used under specific restrictions and may not be removed from the Reading Room area or borrowed from the collections. Permission may be granted to obtain copies of items in the collections. A fee is charged for this service and the copying is performed by the staff. 

Care must be exercised at all times when handling materials. Consuming food or beverages, smoking, and the use of pens are not permitted.