Special Collections

Special Collections contains a wide range of rare books and manuscripts. Its primary charge is the collection and preservation of original sources for use by students and scholars of the humanities, the history of science, and the history of the book.
Black and red scenes of gods, goddesses, and animals in profile, accompanied by red hieroglyphics and arranged in three rows.
A section of an Egyptian Amduat papyrus (Ballard Papyrus), approximately 950 BCE.


Special Collections presently holds about 250,000 volumes printed since the mid-fifteenth century and about 500,000 manuscripts dating from Antiquity to the present.

Please select one of the general collecting areas below to learn more about the Spencer Research Library's holdings in that area. For a general introduction to our collections, see "Overview of Printed Books, Manuscripts and Reference Collections."

Collecting Areas and Policies

Special Collections Contact

Elspeth Healey

Special Collections Curator for post-1700 materials (except the areas listed below)



Eve Wolynes

Special Collections Curator for pre-1700 materials, Asian collections, history of science, maps/cartography