Special Collections houses an incredible collection of rare books and historic documents, as well as materials pertaining to the history of Johns Hopkins University. Highlights include the Arthur and Janet Freeman Collection of Literary and Historical Forgery, the Roland Park Company Papers, and over sixteen thousand images in our University Photograph Collection.

Our main Special Collections Reading Room is located on M-level of the Brody Learning Commons; we also offer limited researcher services at the George Peabody Library and the John Work Garrett Library. Whether for research, personal interest, or instruction, we are happy to make our materials available for your use.

In addition to researcher and instruction services, our department also hosts a series of academic programs under the aegis of the Special Collections Research Center, as well as a variety of outreach events. We look forward to hearing about your research interests.

Researcher reading a larger book

Researcher Services

  • Finding and Requesting Materials

    Rare books, manuscripts, and archives collections are stored in several different locations and are not available for public browsing. Our collections are searchable in Catalyst (use Search Library Resources at the top of this page). Finding aids for archives and manuscript collections can be searched in ArchivesSpace. To help us make the best use of your time, please call or email us in advance with a description of what you would like to examine. We can meet most requests within 2 business days.

  • Using the Special Collections Reading Room

    The Reading Room is only open to researchers using Special Collections materials. No appointment is necessary, though we do encourage researchers to contact us in advance to guarantee that requested materials are available. Researchers must exercise the greatest care in handling fragile documents and books. The following guidelines are intended to help preserve these materials for your use as well as for the use of future researchers.

    • Researchers are required to register annually with us. Registration cards are valid from July 1 — June 30 and are renewable each year.
    • Materials are to be used only in designated areas under the direction of Special Collections staff.
    • Researchers may bring into the Reading Room laptops, digital cameras/phones, notebooks, reference books, and pencils. All other personal belongings are to be left in the lockers located near the Reading Room entrance.
    • Food and drink are prohibited.
    • Care must be taken in handling rare and unique materials. Unbound material must be flat on the table. Nothing can be written in or placed on Special Collections materials. Supplies are available to hold bound items open. The original order and pagination of unbound materials must be maintained. Do not rearrange manuscript or archival materials in any way.
    • Special Collections staff are available to help you and address any problems you may encounter using our resources and spaces.
  • Image Services

    The Special Collections Reading Room features a scanner for researchers to use at no charge. In addition, researchers are encouraged to bring their own cameras into the Reading Room. Please note that tripods, light set-ups, and personal scanners are not allowed.

    • Contact staff if you need an image for publication.
    • Please remember that certain restrictions may apply to what we can copy, such as if a book is in poor shape, under copyright, or if a particular collection has embargoes on its use. We will inform you in advance if restrictions apply.
  • Material Loans

    Special Collections materials are non-circulating. Please email us if your institution is interested in obtaining a loan for exhibition.

  • Instruction and Class Visits

    We are eager to work with you to support and enhance your teaching! Our holdings cover the historical aspects of most disciplines, and we are open to engaging with your class in a variety of ways: a class visit giving an overview of the collections, a more in-depth instructional session, or other creative interactions that we can plan together. Exposing students to rare materials offers students a tangible experience of history in the classroom setting and adds exciting depth to almost any course. Students are welcome to make use of our materials for individual research, and in most cases, we can also make arrangements to support course-related research assignments.

    All instruction using our collections is held in our teaching spaces at the Brody Learning Commons, the Garrett Library, or the George Peabody Library. Special Collections staff will provide support for instruction, including room reservations and the retrieval of requested materials.

Staff Directory

Name Contact Location Subject Areas
Herr, Heidi
Outreach Librarian; Librarian
Brody Learning Commons, George Peabody Library English, Philosophy
Havens, Earle
Nancy H. Hall Curator of Rare Books & Manuscripts
Brody Learning Commons, George Peabody Library
Kimball, Amy
Head of Materials Management
Brody Learning Commons, Evergreen Museum & Library, John Work Garrett Library
Addonizio, Valerie
Description Management Archivist
Milton S. Eisenhower Library
Espinosa, Paul
Curator of George Peabody Library
George Peabody Library
Dean, Gabrielle
William Kurrelmeyer Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts; Librarian
Brody Learning Commons, George Peabody Library Post-1800 Rare Books and Manuscripts, Writing Seminars
Stimpert, James
Senior Reference Archivist
Brody Learning Commons
Diehl, Kristen
Processing Archivist
Milton S. Eisenhower Library
Steele, Jordon
Hodson Curator of the University Archives
Brody Learning Commons
DiLauro, Timothy
Data Archivist

Milton S. Eisenhower Library
England, Elizabeth
Digital Archivist
Brody Learning Commons
Hancock, Rachel
Mikulski Papers Project Archivist
Milton S. Eisenhower Library