Skip to Main Content
All Libraries are open with limited hours. Masks required, no eating allowed. Online resources and support are available 24/7 UW Libraries COVID-19 Updates
The Special Collections Book Arts and Rare Book Collection is comprised of materials not found in the regular Libraries stacks. These materials are limited to in Library Use only and are brought to readers and researchers as they cannot go to the stacks themselves. Some materials that are very fragile or not yet cataloged can be used with prior arrangement. For appointment to view books or to make arrangements to see uncataloged materials, please contact the Curator.
Starting Points / Top Resources
Modern Book Arts Collection
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.
Historical Children's Literature Collection
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.
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.
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.
Book Arts & Rare Book Curator
Visit Special Collections
If you have a call number and wish to see a specific piece you can visit any time Special Collections is open. None of the collections are directly browseable except for our Reference Collection. Some items require an appointment to view.
Students wishing to see a variety of materials or to have a selection created for them on a topic, binding style or technique should contact the Book Arts & Rare Book Curator, Sandra Kroupa.
Please plan ahead and be flexible about scheduling.