Rare Book Division

One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
609-258-3184
Acting Associate University Librarian for Rare Books and Special Collections -- Curator of Books
(609) 258-3165

The Rare Book Division holds approximately 250,000 rare and historically significant printed books in Western languages dating from the 15th century down to the present. The Division is especially strong in classical  texts, early modern European imprints in all fields, American history and literature, English history and literature, French literature and history, angling and sporting books and, to a lesser extent, in other literatures such as German, Italian, Irish, selected Continental, and Latin American. 

Strengths in genres of book history include: annotated books, association copies, books with significant provenance, broadsides, chapbooks, dime novels, emblem books, ephemera, extra-illustrated books, historic bindings, illustrated books, incunabula, limited editions, little magazines, pamphlets, presentation copies, publisher's prosectuses, and story papers.

Moreover, in addition to the large general rare book collection, there are more than 35 named collections. Among those of special note are the Morris L. Parrish Collection of Victorian Novelists, the Howard Behrman Collection of American Literature, the Miriam Y. Holden Collection on American Women, the Grenville Kane Collection of Americana, the Robert H. Taylor Collection of English literature, the Lapidus Collection on Liberty and the American Revolution, and the Junius Spencer Morgan Collection of Virgil.  Current collecting adds selectively not only to the general rare book collection but also to the named collections. As well, a recent focus is on materials relating to modern Greece in support of the University's program in Hellenic Studies. In addition, Leonard L. Milberg, Class of 1953, provides ongoing funds to build several collections relating to Irish literature, Jewish-American writers, and American poetry.

For more information about more than 350 topical strengths within these collections, see "Guide to Topics" on this website at Home > Explore > Guide to Topics.

Collection Strengths

  • American history/Gilded Age, Populism, Progressivism

    Includes collections relating to late 19th and early 20th century American history. Highlights include collections relating to TheodoreRoosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Andrew Jackson.

  • Aldriaen van der Donck. Beschryvinge van Niew-Nederlant. Amsterdam: Evert Nieuwenhof, 1655. Rare Books, The Grenville Kane Collection.

    AMERICANA

    This section is divided into four groupings: I. Kane Collection II. McCormick Collection. III. General Rare Book Collection. IV. Scheide Library.

  • Liber Emblematum/Kunstbuch, Frankfurt am Main, 1566/67. Ex N7710 .A35 1566

    EMBLEM BOOKS

    In the Autumn 1977 issue of the Chronicle, the Princeton Emblem Bibliography project was announced. The project involves the census of emblem books at Princeton (and elsewhere), as well as several other related projects.

  • Great Britains Wonder: or, Londons Admiration. 1684. Robert H. Taylor Collection

    ENGLISH BOOKS

    See entrys in this guide for the following: ENGLISH BOOKS, EARLY PRINTED, 1475-1700 · ENGLISH BOOKS -- The Princeton One Hundred Great English Books · ENGLISH CIVILIZATION OF THE LATTER SEVENTEENTH CENTURY · ENGLISH LITERATURE AND HISTORY -- EIGHTEENTH CENTURY · ENGLISH LITERATURE OF THE NINETEEN

  • ROBERT H. TAYLOR COLLECTION

    Placed on deposit in the Princeton University Library in 1972, and received as a bequest in 1985, the Robert H. Taylor Collection consists of over 4,000 rare books and 3,300 manuscripts illustrating the scope of English literature from the fourteenth century to the 1920's.

  • The Parrish Collection as it looked in his residence Dormy House in Pine Valley, NJ before it came to Princeton in 1944.

    VICTORIAN NOVELISTS

    Principal holdings are in the Morris L. Parrish Collection of Victorian Novelists.

  • VIRGIL

    Junius Spencer Morgan (1867-1932), Class of 1888, and A.M. 1896, was a nephew of the celebrated John Pierpont Morgan, the great financier. J. S. Morgan began collecting as a student, and was early attracted to Virgil probably through the influence of Dean West.