The rare book collection contains over 400,000 volumes, including medieval and Renaissance manuscript books, a collection of incunabula, and fine printed books.
The rare book collection (at the Eisenhower, Garrett, and Peabody Libraries) contains more than 400,000 volumes and is strongest in the humanities and social sciences. It includes medieval and Renaissance manuscript books, the Machen collection of incunabula (books printed before 1501), and fine printed books.
In the area of English literature, there are extensive Shakespeare and Byron collections and a small Oscar Wilde collection featuring signed editions. The Tudor and Stuart collection, established by Sir William and Lady Osler in 1918 as a memorial to their son Revere, who was killed in the First World War, is strong in Spenser, Michael Drayton, and Thomas Fuller.
The Hutzler Collection of Economic Classics gives a comprehensive view of British thought on economics in the 18th and 19th centuries and includes French works on the subject as well, most notably Auguste Comte’s correspondence with John Stuart Mill. Also in the rare books collection is the 18th- and 19th-century German literature collection, which includes works of C. M. Wieland, Goethe, and Heine, as well as the Loewenberg Collection of German drama from 1880 to 1934. Complementing these is the 18th- and 19th-century French play collection, documenting drama and popular culture.
American literature is represented in the Louis Zukofsky poetry collection and the works of Henry James, and more recently Mary McCarthy, John Barth, Stephen Crane, Langston Hughes, and Gertrude Stein.
Other collections of note include artists’ books, American and European avant-garde journals, the George H. Thompson Collection of Henry Louis Mencken, and the Hinkes Collection of Scientific Discovery.
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