Special Collections and Archives

About Rare Books

The Rare Book Collection contains scarce, valuable, and irreplaceable titles gathered together over the years through gifts from individuals in the Reed community, from our own stack collection, and from other donations and purchases. British history is well represented with works from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, editions of the Domesday inventory, and titles such as Holinshed's Chronicles upon which Shakespeare based many plots. Vellum-bound books containing maps ancillary to the early map collection presented by Alfred Cormack stand next to facsimiles of richly illuminated manuscripts, Harriet Martineau titles, and World War II German publications. Diderot's Encyclopedie and an early antiphonary share shelf space with the Kelmscott Press edition of The Golden Legend and a Kenneth Patchen work inscribed by both the author and Henry Miller.

All titles are listed in the Reed online catalog. They are available for consultation in the Special Collections & Archives Room (L014).

Antiquarian Maps (Maps Database)

Antiquarian MapAn excellent representative collection of Antiquarian Maps is one of Special Collections' most fascinating groups of materials. Presented to the college by Alfred J. Cormack, the parent of an alumnus, it comprises 77 maps dating from 1486 to 1864 and spans almost four centuries in the development of mapmaking. Images of these maps are accessible online for consultation and study. Through purchase, another 24 antiquarian maps, mostly from the 16th and 17th centuries, were added, all of which can be studied in Special Collections & Archives.

Poissy Illuminated Manuscript (View the Manuscript)

An illuminated manuscript, Rituale ad usum sororum, from a French Dominican nunnery in Poissy, France (circa 1510) recently enriched the collection. Acquired at auction through Christie's in 2004, this beautiful prayer book and antiphonary was used during processions and services by an unidentified woman. It contains five exquisite full-page miniature paintings showing religious scenes. Nearly half the pages contain music and decorations, many of floral borders and initials with gold highlights, grace all of the pages.

A. E. Doyle Postcard Collection

A. E. Doyle, the architect of Reed's first buildings, collected approximately 3,000 postcards of American and European buildings. Most of the European postcards were gathered during his 1906 and 1927 trips to Europe. The collection was given to the college by George A. McMath, an architect and A. E. Doyle's grandson.