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Research Guides

Book Arts & Rare Book Collections: Authors Collection

Historically significant, rare and collectible books from the Libraries Special Collections Division.

About the Authors Collection

Nearly 10,000 titles, including the 19th Century American Literature Collection, are represented in the Authors Collection. Holdings include 17th-20th century materials with major focus on American, British and European writers. Authors include H. C. Andersen, William Blake, G. Chaucer, Charles Dickens, W. Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, and W. M. Thackeray. Emphasis on 20th century poetry: W. H. Auden, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and W. B. Yeats. Some collections complement manuscript holdings such as Theodore Roethke and Richard Hugo. 

Search for Books

Special Collections has extensive holdings of American and British Authors. The following is a short list of authors featured:

Theodore Roethke

Theodore Roethke, Seattle, July 1963.
UW Special Collections Division
Mary Randlett Photograph Collection

       20th-century American authors:

       British authors:


       European authors:


What has been considered literature has long been dominated by white, cis-gendered men. At the University of Washington, we have taken special care to collect, when feasible, underrepresented communities, especially women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ writers within the Authors Collection and 19th Century American Literature Collection. Bear in mind, these materials are historic and consequently tethered to the cultural sentiments of their time and may not align with our current understanding of respect and social justice. We offer research support through our reading room and by appointment with the curator if you are embarking on research related to material that may cause harm or distress.

Starting Your Research

The University of Washington has subject specialist librarians across our three campuses to assist in researching literature. Below is a compiled list of research guides created by librarians at the University of Washington and other institutions.