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 Winston Tabb 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

  • When is the Reading Room open?

    The hours for the Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room are listed on the location page for Brody Learning Commons.

  • Register with Aeon

    Special Collections and Archives uses the Aeon system to register researchers and help them request materials. We ask that researchers register with Aeon in advance of their visit. You do not need to be affiliated with the Johns Hopkins University to use the system.

    The Aeon system offers many benefits to researchers. You will be able to:

    • Register online and prior to your visit
    • Request Special Collections and Archives materials in Catalyst and ArchivesSpace, including the holdings of the John Work Garrett Library, the George Peabody Library, as well as archives collections
    • Maintain a record of your requests and easily reactive a request if you need to see materials again
    • Create a list of items you may want to see prior to making a request
    • Assign keyword tags to help manage your requests
    • Schedule your visits online
  • 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 . Finding aids for archives and manuscript collections can be searched in ArchivesSpace. You can request books and archives/manuscript collections online once you register and log in to Aeon.

    We can meet most requests within 2 business days. Please contact us if you have questions about finding materials for your research or if you encounter difficulties with the Aeon system.

  • 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 with us.   The registration is valid for one year upon completion of the registration process.
    • 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
Dean, Gabrielle
William Kurrelmeyer Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts
Brody Learning Commons Post-1800 Rare Books and Manuscripts
Diehl, Kristen
Processing Archivist
Milton S. Eisenhower Library
Espinosa, Paul
Curator of George Peabody Library
George Peabody Library
Havens, Earle
Director of the Virginia Fox Stern Center for the History of the Book in the Renaissance and the Nancy H. Hall Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts
Brody Learning Commons, Stern Center
Herr, Heidi
Librarian for English, Philosophy, and Special Collections Student Engagement
Brody Learning Commons English, Philosophy, Writing Seminars
Kimball, Amy
Head of Materials Management
Brody Learning Commons, Evergreen Museum & Library, John Work Garrett Library
Burri, Margaret
Associate Director for Academic Liaison and Special Collections
Milton S. Eisenhower Library
Bessen, Sam
Eleanor and Lester Levy Family Curator of Sheet Music and Popular Culture
sbessen1@jhu.edu Milton S. Eisenhower Library
Plaster, Joseph
Director, Tabb Center & Curator in Public Humanities
jplaste1@jhu.edu Milton S. Eisenhower Library
Seyler, Allison
Hopkins Retrospective Program Manager
Milton S. Eisenhower Library
Clark, Jenelle
Accessioning Archivist
Brody Learning Commons
Shilling, Brooke
Reference Archivist
bshilli1@jhu.edu Brody Learning Commons
Carey, Katie
Hodson Curator of the University Archives
Brody Learning Commons
Berkley, Tonika
Africana Archivist
Champagne, Kelsey
Postdoctoral Fellow
kchampa3@jhu.edu Brody Learning Commons
Gattermeyer, Rachel
Digital Archivist
rgatter3@jhu.edu Brody Learning Commons
Beckman, Elizabeth
Processing & Research Archivist
ebeckma3@jhu.edu Milton S. Eisenhower Library
Blair, Monica
Historian & Education Coordinator
mblair19@jhu.edu Milton S. Eisenhower Library
Morrison, Kathleen
kmorri62@jhu.edu Brody Learning Commons
Miller, Ve'Amber
Digital Content & Outreach Coordinator
vmille23@jhu.edu Milton S. Eisenhower Library
McClurkin, Daniel
Postdoctoral Fellow
dmcclur9@jh.edu Stern Center