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Historically significant, rare and collectible books from the Libraries Special Collections Division.
Last Updated: Nov 21, 2013 URL: Print Guide Email Alerts

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What's in this Guide

The Special Collections Book Arts and Rare Book Collections is comprised of materials not found in the regular Libraries stacks. These materials are limited to in Library Use only, materials are brought to readers because researchers cannot go to the stacks themselves and many materials required an advance appointment to view.  Some materials not yet cataloged which can be used with prior arrangement.  For appointment books or to make arrangements to see materials uncataloged, please contact the Curator.



Book Arts - Over 21,000 historical & modern pieces encompassing all aspects of the physical book:  typography, paper making, letterpress and offset printing, illustration, book design, paper decoration, calligraphy, sculptural & conceptual work & artist's books.  Major holdings documenting bookbinding history, especially 19th century publishers' decorated bindings.  Substantial supportive reference collection.

James Joyces' Wavewords: From Ulysses. Artists' book in flag book style by Margery S. Hellmann, Seattle, 1996.


Historical Children's Literature - Over 7,000 titles of 17th - 20th century books providing examples of alphabet books, primers, books of grammar & etiquette, bestiaries, story books, fables, moral tales & boys', girls' & series books.  Emphasis on the history of illustration.

Recent acquisition of over 100 historical and modern pop-up, movable and toy books currently on exhibition in Special Collections until mid-March 2012.


Down Grade: A Book to Save Tempted Young Men by A.B. Graves.Chicago: Fairbanks, Palmer, 1884.


Authors Collection - Nearly 10,000 titles including the 19th Century American Literature Collection noted below. Holdings include 17th-20th century materials with major focus of American, British and European writers. Authors include H. C. Andersen, William Blake, G. Chaucer, Charles Dickens, W. Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser & W. M. Thackeray. Emphasis on 20th century poetry: W. H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, & W. B. Yeats.  Some collections complement manuscript holdings such as Theodore Roethke & Richard Hugo.

Edmund Spenser


19th Century American Literature Collection - This endowment supported Collection includes extensive holdings of published works of 19th century American authors, with an emphasis on women authors. All major literary figures of 19th century America are represented including H. W. Longfellow, H. Melville, N. Hawthorne, H. B. Stowe, H. D. Thoreau and R. W. Emerson along with scarce editions of popular writers of the time who are little known now.  First editions, variant editions and illustrated books provide a research collection for textual studies. Some holdings of related photographic and visual materials and some limited manuscript materials.  Letters of H. W. Longfellow are major manuscript holding.


The Goodness of Saint Rocque by Alice Dunbar. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1899.


History of Science - Holdings include 17th-20th century rare materials in all scientific disciplines. Emphasis on illustrated books. Important holdings of botany materials.


Episodes of Insect Life by Miss L. M. Budgen.  London:  Reeve, Benham, 1849-1851.





Atlas & Travel Collection - Resources focused on travel literature, primarily 17th-19th century and atlases from the same period. Travel to exotic places as well as to the wilds of Scotland and the European continent. Facsimile atlases from the 15th-16th century. Baedecker's guides from the 1870s-1930s. Voyages of exploration involving the West Coast and the Pacific Northwest are part of the Pacific Northwest Collection in Special Collections.


Italian Villas and Their Gardens by Edith Wharton. New York: Century Company, 1904.






            Promenade dress, 1866  





Costume & Textile Collection - Materials documenting the history of fashion through periodicals such as Godey's Lady's Book & Peterson's Magazine [19th century] and Vogue [prior to 1960]. Resources on ethnic costumes, primarily of European cultures. Manuals, general information on textiles including history and creation. Supporting materials of photographs of ethnic costumes in Visual Materials Collection and the manuscripts of Blanche Payne. Related materials from the West in the Pacific Northwest Collection.

Book Arts and Rare Book Curator


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