Collection Development Statement

Last updated January 2024


The Classics collection supports research and teaching in the Classics Department, collaborating departments and programs at Johns Hopkins University, and the scholarly community at large. The collection goes back to the founding of Johns Hopkins University in 1876, the year when the first professorship of Greek was also established. As the Classics Department approaches its sesquicentennial, the corresponding Classics collection in the Sheridan Libraries has grown to the point that it can boast of some of the most extensive holdings of any Classics collection in the United States.

Bibliographic materials that concern Classics are held across the libraries that make up the Sheridan Libraries. Nearly all of the circulating materials are held in the Milton S. Eisenhower Library and the Libraries Service Center. A non-circulating reference collection dedicated to Classics is maintained on D-level of the Eisenhower Library. Rare and scarce materials pertaining to classical Greek and Roman antiquity (read the collection development statement on early books and manuscripts at Johns Hopkins) are held in the George Peabody Library, the John Work Garrett Library, and the Libraries Service Center, and are available to be called up through the library catalog for individual consultation in the Special Collections Reading Room in the Brody Learning Commons and for instructional use in two classrooms in the Brody Learning Commons.

Because Classics constitutes the first interdisciplinary field of study in the western tradition, the corresponding collection in the Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins is necessarily capacious and eclectic. Thus, the Librarian for Classics works in tandem with other librarians (especially the Librarian for Art and Near Eastern Studies) to build a rich and diverse collection that speaks not only to Greek and Latin philology but also the material culture of the ancient Mediterranean Basin as well as the classical tradition.

Formats Selected

Formats acquired generally:

  • Monographs (print and electronic)
  • Commentaries (print and electronic)
  • Dictionaries (print and electronic)
  • Collected editions (print and electronic)
  • Edited volumes, including conference proceedings and Festschriften (print and electronic)
  • Serials (electronic preferred)
  • Databases

Formats collected selectively or by request:

  • Dissertations and theses
  • Ephemera
  • Textbooks
  • Translations

Languages Collected

Primary sources in classical Greek and Latin as well as secondary sources in English, French, German, and Italian are collected regularly. Relevant secondary sources in other languages (e.g., Spanish and modern Greek) are collected selectively.

Chronological or geographical focus

Collection development in Classics is focused on the languages and literatures of the ancient Greeks and Romans, from Homer to the Patristic Era. The history and material culture of the ancient Greeks, Romans, and the peoples with whom they interacted in the Mediterranean Basin constitute a secondary focus. The reception of classical antiquity is a tertiary focus.

Gift Policy

Donations of materials that adhere to the criteria set out above are welcome and will be considered by the Librarian for Classics (together with the Associate Dean for Collections and Academic Services) as gifts-in-kind. Before sending any materials, donors must first contact the Librarian for Classics to complete the gifts-in-kind agreement and to discuss the logistics of the transfer and processing of materials. Per the gifts-in-kind agreement, the Sheridan Libraries reserve the right to add to the Classics collection or to dispose of any materials (e.g., duplicates, damaged materials, etc.) as they deem fit. The Sheridan Libraries also retain the right to discard unsolicited gifts. Donors interested in making other kinds of gifts (including bequests) are encouraged to consult the Office of External Affairs. Appraisals, though highly recommended, cannot be provided by the Sheridan Libraries. Donors interested in appraisals may wish to contact appraisers recommended by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America.


Subject Librarian

Mackenzie S. Zalin, PhD, MSLS
Librarian for Classics, Comparative Thought and Literature, Jewish Studies, and Modern Languages and Literatures & Comparative Thought and Literature
(410) 516-0215