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Distinctive Collections

Collections

Distinctive Collections

Clay tablets, papyrus, medieval illuminated manuscripts, early modern codices and other hand-written documents covering subjects such as religion, music, literature and history. Particular strengths lie in English manuscripts (in English and Latin), pedagogical texts, books of hours, literary texts, and political documents from 1250 to 1600.

Incunabula Collection

The rare book collection includes more than 1,200 incunabula, books published in the fifteenth century, during the “cradle days” of printing. Among them is a significant fragment (24 leaves) of the Bible printed by Johannes Gutenberg. Also represented are works from the press of the Venetian printer Aldus Manutius, as well as works from the first printers across Europe. Rare editions printed in England and in English are also represented. The incunabula collection offers not only early printed versions of important texts, but also a physical record of the history of the early days of printing.

Renaissance Imprints

Illinois boasts of one of the largest collections of early modern imprints (1454-1650) in the United States. Use our online catalog to discover them.

ALLINGHAM, WILLIAM (1824-1899)—PAPERS, 1846-1920, 2.0 cu. ft.

Papers of William Allingham, an Irish poet, editor of Fraser’s Magazine and a supporter of the Pre-Raphaelite movement in art and literature, and his wife, Helen Patterson Allingham (1848- 1926), an artist. The papers include notes, sketches, portraits, documents, letters and holograph manuscripts.

BALDWIN, T.W., and REGINA ELISABETH—LIBRARY, 5800+ vols.

Baldwin’s goal was to collect every book that Shakespeare and his contemporaries might have read from the age of 6 to 60. The collection consists of more than 5,800 volumes of 16th-, 17th-, and 18th-century texts of classical authors, commentaries, Bibles and prayer books, rhetorics, histories, and English literature, particularly of the Elizabethan period.

Click here to be linked to a searchable scanned guide to the Baldwin Collection.

Click here to be linked to the bibliographic record for the Baldwin Catalog.

BENTLEY, RICHARD AND SON—PAPERS, 1806-1915, 29.0 cu. ft.

The files of Richard Bentley and Son, a London publishing house, 1829-1898: Richard Bentley, 1794-1871; George Bentley, 1828-1895 and Richard Bentley II, 1854-1936. Includes literary and business correspondence; ledgers, minutes of company meetings and legal agreements; personal and business diaries; authors’ manuscripts; clippings and advertisements relating to literary, legal and business matters; the Henry Colburn publishing firm (1806-35), subscription and publication lists. Correspondents are listed in Gordon N. Ray, “The Bentley Papers” in The Library, 5:7:3: 178-200 (September 1952). The collection has been microfilmed Chadwick-Healey.

Click here for the bibliographic record for Index to the Archives of Richard Bentley & Son, 1829-1898.

COBBETT, WILLIAM (1763–1835)—COLLECTION, 359+ vols.

The Cobbett Collection was purchased from British bookseller Arnold M. Muirhead in 1953. It consists of more than 200 titles by the radical British journalist and publisher. It includes important broadsides Cobbett wrote during two periods of residence in America, copies of Cobbett’s Weekly Political Register and Cobbett’s Parliamentary Debates, as well as books and pamphlets written in support of the working classes, and a substantial collection of correspondence.

EVANS, CHARLES (1850-1935)—PAPERS, 1869-1935, 3.0 cu. ft.

Papers of Charles Evans, librarian, bibliographer and author of American Bibliography, 1639-1820; his wife, Lena Y. Evans; and his sons Charles “Chick” Evans, Jr., Eliot H. Evans and John Evans. Includes letters, scrapbooks, bankbooks, published and unpublished literary and scholarly manuscripts, manuscript speeches, ledger books, personal documents, notes and photographs relating to the preparation of American Bibliography, and works for the American Antiquarian Society and the Bibliographical Society of America.

MILTON, JOHN (1608–1674)—COLLECTION, 3000+ vols.

The John Milton collection includes more than 100 seventeenth-century editions of Milton, with more than 3,000 volumes of later editions and works of criticism. Supporting the Milton collection is a broad array of seventeenth-century imprints in English history, literature, and religion. The collection, developed by Harris Fletcher, forms the core of the Library’s outstanding holdings in seventeenth-century printed books and maps.

MUDIE, CHARLES E. (1818-1890)—COLLECTION, 1816-1897, .3 cu. ft.

Collection of Charles E. Mudie, English collector and proprietor of “Mudie’s Circulating Libraries.” Includes letters, photographs, broadsides, passports and a travel diary (1859), regarding subscriptions to the Circulating Library, nineteenth–century books, the book trade, British politics, Italian unification, European travel, opening of “Mudie’s Great Hall” in 1860, literary matters, family genealogy and personal matters.

NICKELL, LLOYD FRANCIS (1884–1962)—EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY ENGLISH LITERATURE COLLECTION, 2000+ vols.

Lloyd F. Nickell, an alumnus of the University of Illinois, assembled this fine collection of English literature of the eighteenth century during his twenty–year residence in England as a business executive. “The Carlten Lodge Library,” as Nickell called his collection, was purchased in 1963. It contains rare editions of all the great writers of the period, including Defoe, Swift, Fielding, Pope, Goldsmith, Samuel Johnson, Boswell, Addison and Smollett. The books are generally in exceptionally fine condition. Access to the collection is through the online and card catalogs.

RICHARDS, GRANT (1872-1936)—PAPERS, 30.2 cu. ft.

Papers of Grant Richards, British publisher and author. Includes correspondence; incomplete typescripts of novels and other personal papers; advertisements; book reviews; photographs; account books; early agreements, 1905-1920; publication ledger, 1897-1902; and author agreements, 1906-1930 relating to routine publishing house business, copyright problems and other legal and literary matters.

WELLS, HERBERT G. (1866-1946)—PAPERS, 81.5 cu. ft.

Papers of Herbert G. Wells, English novelist and essayist. Includes correspondence about business and legal affairs; letters to the press; diaries, journals, drawings, publication records, manuscripts and proofs of published works; speeches; unpublished material; photographs.

Search the H.G. Wells Correspondence databases.

Major collections in the fields of Ornithology, Geology, Engineering, Computer Science, Volcanology, Chemistry, Knowledge Organization, Entomology, and Agricultural Science.

HOLLANDER, JACOB H. (1871-1940)—COLLECTION, .3 cu. ft.

Collection of Jacob H. Hollander, American economist, author and professor of political economy at Johns Hopkins University (1900-1935). Includes letters dealing with economics, chiefly nineteenth-century English economics. A supporting collection of books in the history of economics is also available.

Click here to be linked to the bibliographic record and digitized version of the printed catalog of the Hollander Collection.

Click here to be linked to the bibliographic record and digitized version of the supplement to the catalog.

Click here to be linked to a searchable online finding aid.

The mathematics collection is ranked among the three most significant in the United States and includes a near comprehensive collection of early Euclids, and first editions of many of the pioneers in the field.

The Library holdings are strong and deep in Elizabethan and Stuart drama, from the First Folio to Beaumont and Fletcher, Shakespeare and his contemporaries are well represented. In addition, the library holds collections of playbills, actors portraits, Italian drama, Neo-Latin drama, and Spanish plays.

Motley Collection

The Motley Collection contains costume plates, scene design renderings, production plans and notes of the celebrated British theater design team, “Motley.” The collection contains more than 5,000 items from 104 productions performed from the 1930s to 1960s.

Search the Motley Collection finding aids.

Click here to find digital images of the collection.

HERRICK ITALIAN RENAISSANCE DRAMA COLLECTION, 470+ vols.

Marvin T. Herrick (1899–1966) was a member of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of English whose interests led him to select for the library primarily sixteenth century editions of early Italian drama. The collection was named for him at the time of his death.

Click here to be linked to a scanned searchable checklist of the Herrick Collection.

BALDWIN, T.W., and REGINA ELISABETH—LIBRARY, 5800+ vols.

Baldwin’s goal was to collect every book that Shakespeare and his contemporaries might have read from the age of 6 to 60. The collection consists of more than 5,800 volumes of 16th-, 17th-, and 18th-century texts of classical authors, commentaries, Bibles and prayer books, rhetorics, histories, and English literature, particularly of the Elizabethan period.

Click here to be linked to a searchable scanned guide to the Baldwin Collection.

Click here to be linked to the bibliographic record for the Baldwin Catalog.

MURPHY, RICHARD—ELOCUTION COLLECTION, 230+ vols.

Richard Murphy, Professor of Speech Communication emeritus, retired from the University of Illinois 1971. In 1979, he donated his extensive collection of books on elocution, or, that part of rhetoric dealing with pronunciation, articulation and rules for reading. The collection contains material from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, and is particularly rich in texts and manuals of the nineteenth century. Access to the collection is through the online and card catalogs.

EMBLEM BOOKS COLLECTION, 650+ vols.

Emblem books are a variety of illustrated book, primarily produced from the sixteenth through the eighteenth century. They consist of collections of three–part compositions, each made up of an illustration, a motto (serving as the title of the piece) and an epigram or other written text. It is not uncommon for there to be additional explanatory sections in prose or verse. A broader interpretation includes many other types of illustrated books, such as emblematized fables, “Dance of Death” books, and books illustrating triumphs that contain numerous and prominent emblems. The development of the The Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s Emblem Books Collection was due in large part to the efforts of Professor Henri Stegemeier (1912–2001). The collection was described by Thomas McGeary and N. Frederick Nash in Emblem Books at the University of Illinois (Boston: G.K. Hall, 1993). Since then, numerous emblem books have been added to the collection. Because of its special strengths, the collection is the basis for a digitization project.

To explore the online database and digital images from the German Emblem book collection, please visit: Emblematica Online

CAVAGNA COLLECTION, 1116-1913, 30,000+ vols., 90 cu. ft.

Collection of Count Antonio Cavagna Sangiuliani di Gualdana (1843-1913), an Italian nobleman, public official, author, and recognized authority on the local history of Lombardy and Piedmont. The Cavagna Collection consists of 30,000+ volumes of print materials, accessible via the library’s online catalog under the heading “Cavagna Collection;” and the “Archivio Cavagna Sangiuliani,” which consists of 138 portfolios of unbound manuscripts arranged alphabetically by place, 290 bound volumes of manuscript material (ca. 50 items earlier than 1600), and 100 volumes of later transcripts from Italian archives.

His library contained a great many books on genealogy, biography, and local history, including materials on municipal governments. The manuscripts especially reflect the study of local history; most relate to Italian cities and towns, institutions, societies, and noble families.

Click here to be linked to a searchable scanned guide to the manuscripts and printed documents of the Archivio Cavagna Sangiuliani.

GROEBER, GUSTAV (1844-1911)—COLLECTION

Collection of books and pamphlets gathered by Gustav Groeber, Professor of Romance Philology at the University of Strassburg. This is a strong collection of books bearing on the Romance languages and literature; particularly rich in linguistics and in Provencal and Italian literature. Pamphlets include practically every brochure published in Germany on Romance topics. Also contains approximately 6,400 volumes.

Click here for the Groeber Collection finding aid.

PHILIP KOLB COLLECTION OF MARCEL PROUST PAPERS, 1870-1950, 1189 items.

The correspondence and other papers of French author Marcel Proust and his circle provide a look at the man and his times. Proust had a large and varied number of correspondents, and his letters include an important source of information about Parisian life and French culture at the turn of the century.

Click here to be linked to the Philip Kolb Collection of Marcel Proust Papers finding aid.

MEINE, FRANKLIN J. (1896-1968)—COLLECTION, 1890-1965, .1 cu. ft.

Collection of noted Chicago bookseller Franklin J. Meine concerning Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens) including letters and clippings. Supporting collections in American Wit and Humor and the Mississippi Valley region, and regional American Humor, and the Robert B. Downs Collection of American Wit and Humor. The collection contains approximately 9,000 volumes.

HARWELL CIVIL WAR COLLECTION, 2100+ vols.

Richard Barksdale Harwell (1915–1988) was a prolific bibliographer, author and editor of literature relating to the American Civil War. The collection bearing his name comprises some 1200 Confederate imprints, including sheet music, and 900 other Civil War publications.

ASIAN COLLECTION, 886+ vols.

The Asian Collection consists of material dating from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries. The majority of items are Japanese books printed between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. There are also a small number of Chinese books, as well as three Burmese “Kammavaca” (Buddhist prayer books). A large portion of the Asian Collection came from the library of Joseph K. Yamagiwa (1906-1968), a leading scholar and professor of Japanese at the University of Michigan. Professor Yamagiwa’s collection, purchased in 1969, contained 1800 volumes and was divided between the Asian Library (now the International & Area Studies Library) and the Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

The Asian Collection can be accessed through a card catalog in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. There are online catalog records available for many volumes.

Click here to be linked to an online finding aid for the Asian Collection.

COLLINS, JAMES (1840–1916)—IRISH COLLECTION, 6000+ vols.

This extensive library of noted Irish book collector James Collins was purchased in 1917. The collection is devoted to Irish history and culture, and includes 139 volumes of bound pamphlets, as well as 2,500 unbound pieces. In addition, there are whole and part runs of Irish periodicals, 127 volumes of primarily nineteenth century newspaper clippings, and scrapbooks of pictorial material, particularly of Irish political cartoons.

Click here to be linked to a searchable scanned sales catalog of the estate of James Collins.
Click here to be linked to the UIUC Digital Collections site, where images from the Collins Collection of Irish Political Cartoons may be seen.

h4. FERGUSON, FREDERIC SUTHERLAND (1878–1967)—SCOTTISH IMPRINTS AND SCOTICA COLLECTION, 300+ vols.

Frederic Ferguson, former managing director of Quaritch’s booksellers in London and a key contributor to the STC, assembled a collection of books mainly printed in Edinburgh between 1640 and 1700. Many items are unique, and some seldom–seen printers are represented. Much of the collection remains in contemporary bindings, and some volumes contain Ferguson’s penciled notes.

SMITH, ALEXANDER (1830?–1867)—COLLECTION, 200+ vols.

Perhaps the only Alexander Smith collection in the world, materials include all first editions, reprints, reissues in fine editions, and various uncollected items of the Scottish poet, essayist, novelist, critic once regarded as one of the most eminent writers of the nineteenth century. The collection was given in 1979 by Richard Murphy, Professor of Speech Communication emeritus, whose interest in Smith began when he was a graduate student.

Holdings in religious history include first editions of most of the church fathers and mothers, early Bibles, English Sermons, prayer books, Books of Hours, Christian Hebraism, and early theological dissertations, as well as religious plays, American Civil War religious tracts, and other, largely imprints focused largely on the history of Christianity.

BASKETTE, EWING C. (1903-1959)—COLLECTION, 1894-1959, 1.5 cu. ft.

Papers of Ewing C. Baskette, lawyer, librarian, and bibliographer. Includes speeches, letters, and manuscripts on cases dealing with anarchism, the “Centralia Massacre,” communal living, syndicalism, socialism, the International Workers of the World, freedom of expression and censorship. A supporting book collection on censorship and intellectual freedom contains approximately 10,000 volumes.

COLLINS, JAMES (1840–1916)—IRISH COLLECTION, 6000+ vols.

This extensive library of noted Irish book collector James Collins was purchased in 1917. The collection is devoted to Irish history and culture, and includes 139 volumes of bound pamphlets, as well as 2,500 unbound pieces. In addition, there are whole and part runs of Irish periodicals, 127 volumes of primarily nineteenth century newspaper clippings, and scrapbooks of pictorial material, particularly of Irish political cartoons.

The Spanish Civil War collection is a compilation of material documenting the U.S. literary and military involvement in Spain’s fight against fascism. Emphasized are the American writers who participated in and reported the events and who interpreted their experiences through poetry, prose, and art. The collection comprises about 20 subcategories focused on members of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, including: Edwin Rolfe, Milton Wolff, John Tisa, Frank Lister, Milton Felson, and John Gates. It includes books, broadsides, clippings, correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, serials, and miscellaneous items relating the experiences of American volunteers in Spain. The collection contains many references to the cultural and political context in which the Americans were placed, including posters and propaganda material. The Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s Baskette Collection contains other examples of political activism and freedom of expression issues related to the Spanish Civil War.

BENTLEY, RICHARD AND SON—PAPERS, 1806-1915, 29.0 cu. ft.

The files of Richard Bentley and Son, a London publishing house, 1829-1898: Richard Bentley, 1794-1871; George Bentley, 1828-1895 and Richard Bentley II, 1854-1936. Includes literary and business correspondence; ledgers, minutes of company meetings and legal agreements; personal and business diaries; authors’ manuscripts; clippings and advertisements relating to literary, legal and business matters; the Henry Colburn publishing firm (1806-35), subscription and publication lists. Correspondents are listed in Gordon N. Ray, “The Bentley Papers” in The Library, 5:7:3: 178-200 (September 1952). The collection has been microfilmed Chadwick-Healey.

Click here for the bibliographic record for Index to the Archives of Richard Bentley & Son, 1829-1898.

EVANS, CHARLES (1850-1935)—PAPERS, 1869-1935, 3.0 cu. ft.

Papers of Charles Evans, librarian, bibliographer and author of American Bibliography, 1639-1820; his wife, Lena Y. Evans; and his sons Charles “Chick” Evans, Jr., Eliot H. Evans and John Evans. Includes letters, scrapbooks, bankbooks, published and unpublished literary and scholarly manuscripts, manuscript speeches, ledger books, personal documents, notes and photog graphs relating to the preparation of American Bibliography, and works for the American Antiquarian Society and the Bibliographical Society of America.

MUDIE, CHARLES E. (1818-1890)—COLLECTION, 1816-1897, .3 cu. ft.

Collection of Charles E. Mudie, English collector and proprietor of “Mudie’s Circulating Libraries.” Includes letters, photographs, broadsides, passports and a travel diary (1859), regarding subscriptions to the Circulating Library, nineteenth–century books, the book trade, British politics, Italian unification, European travel, opening of “Mudie’s Great Hall” in 1860, literary matters, family genealogy and personal matters.

RICHARDS, GRANT (1872-1936)—PAPERS, 30.2 cu. ft.

Papers of Grant Richards, British publisher and author. Includes correspondence; incomplete typescripts of novels and other personal papers; advertisements; book reviews; photographs; account books; early agreements, 1905-1920; publication ledger, 1897-1902; and author agreements, 1906-1930 relating to routine publishing house business, copyright problems and other legal and literary matters.

ALLINGHAM, WILLIAM (1824-1899)—PAPERS, 1846-1920, 2.0 cu. ft.

Papers of William Allingham, an Irish poet, editor of Fraser’s Magazine and a supporter of the Pre-Raphaelite movement in art and literature, and his wife, Helen Patterson Allingham (1848- 1926), an artist. The papers include notes, sketches, portraits, documents, letters and holograph manuscripts.

COBBETT, WILLIAM (1763–1835)—COLLECTION, 359+ vols.

The Cobbett Collection was purchased from British bookseller Arnold M. Muirhead in 1953. It consists of more than 200 titles by the radical British journalist and publisher. It includes important broadsides Cobbett wrote during two periods of residence in America, copies of Cobbett’s Weekly Political Register and Cobbett’s Parliamentary Debates, as well as books and pamphlets written in support of the working classes, and a substantial collection of correspondence.

DICKENS, CHARLES (1812-1870)

The Library holds first and important editions of all of Charles Dickens works, as well as records from his serial work with Bentley and Sons publishing.

JONES, JAMES (1921-1977)—COLLECTION, 3.0 cu.ft.

Collection of Gloria Jones Papers related to James Jones, American author of the novel From Here To Eternity, published in 1951 and winner of the National Book Award. The collection includes letters, books, manuscripts, documents, photographs and serials pertaining to his life as a soldier fighting in World War II and as a member of the Handy Writers Colony at Robinson, Illinois.

MAXWELL, WILLIAM (1908-2000)— PAPERS, 1928-1998.

This collection contains the papers of William Maxwell (1908-2000), American author and fiction editor of The New Yorker from 1936-1976. Contents include the manuscripts of Maxwell’s published works, reviews, poetry and novels, as well as newspapers and journal clippings and items from his personal library. Literary and personal correspondence constitutes a large part of this collection. Correspondents include such literary figures as Mary McCarthy, Vladimir Nabokov, J.D. Salinger, John Updike, Eudora Welty and William Carlos Williams.

Search the Maxwell Papers finding aid.

MERWIN, W.S. (b. 1927)—PAPERS

Pulitzer Prize winning poet, translator, and environmental activist; the archive consists of books, notes, manuscripts, correspondence, ideas for poems, published and unpublished works, translations of other author’s works, critical writings by Merwin, and select writings about Merwin. The Merwin archive presents the opportunity to study the poet’s work, for research into the overall development of American poetry in this century, and an increased understanding of the poetic process.

Search the Merwin Papers finding aids.

MILTON, JOHN (1608–1674)—COLLECTION, 3000+ vols.

The John Milton collection includes more than 100 seventeenth-century editions of Milton, with more than 3,000 volumes of later editions and works of criticism. Supporting the Milton collection is a broad array of seventeenth-century imprints in English history, literature, and religion. The collection, developed by Harris Fletcher, forms the core of the Library’s outstanding holdings in seventeenth-century printed books and maps.

Reference: Harris F. Fletcher, Collection of First Editions of Milton works: University of Illinois Library, an Exhibition. Urbana: University of Illinois, 1953.

SANDBURG, CARL (1878-1967)—COLLECTIONS

The “Connemara Transfer” of the Carl Sandburg papers (1898-1962, 125.0 cu. ft) includes typescripts and corrected galley proofs of Sandburg’s works and correspondence (1916-62) with literary and public figures, scholars and admirers about writing, American folk songs, Abraham Lincoln, journalism and lecture tours. The collection also contains a Spanish-American War diary (1898), lectures (1908- 09), recordings and transcriptions of Sandburg’s radio broadcasts and lectures and magazine articles and newspaper clippings by and about him. The papers also include Lombard College publications (1898-1902), material concerning the Chicago Daily News (1917-32) and a supporting book collection of approximately 5,000 volumes. The “Asheville Transfer” is the most recent addition to the Sandburg collection, obtained in 1996 upon the death of Margaret Sandburg, the eldest daughter of Carl and Paula Sandburg. This collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, clippings, books, documents, and miscellaneous material belonging to Margaret and related to her life as her father’s reference librarian. Also included in this collection is the Encyclopedia Sandburgiana, a scrapbook of photographs, clippings and correspondence kept by Margaret about her father’s life, arranged chronologically by year.

WELLS, HERBERT G. (1866-1946)—PAPERS, 81.5 cu. ft.

Papers of Herbert G. Wells, English novelist and essayist. Includes correspondence about business and legal affairs; letters to the press; diaries, journals, drawings, publication records, manuscripts and proofs of published works; speeches; unpublished material; photographs.

Search the H.G. Wells Correspondence databases.