Founded in 1967, the Rare Book Collection includes early, rare, and first edition monographs dating from the 15th century. Among these are literary classics such as Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass; important biblical and religious works such as a leaf of the Gutenberg Bible (1455-56); extensive examples of herbals from the 15th-19th centuries, and books on landscape gardening and animal husbandry; and works that document the history of printing, book design, literature, and language.
The Rare Book Collection also houses hundreds of artist books. These unique pieces of artwork showcase the aesthetic of bookmaking through its craft and form. A growing collection of zines extends the collection into documentation of 21st century communications.