Rare Book Collection
Over 11,000 volumes of published materials are preserved and made accessible within the Department of Special Collections and University Archives, including more than 6,000 titles within the rare book collection. Some of the works now found in Special Collections have been in the University's possession since its founding in 1881. Among the collection strengths are Jesuit history, Catholic theology, the exploration of North America, early 20th century American and British literature, and the history of typography.
Faculty are encouraged to explore teaching opportunities involving the rare book collection. Please contact the Department of Special Collections to arrange a visit.
The earliest printed works within the Department of Special Collections form a small collection of incunabula (from the "cradle period" of Western printing), including a 1473 edition of St. Augustine's \ De Civitate Dei (The City of God) from the presses of Johannes Fust and Peter Schoeffer, Gutenberg's successors in Mainz. Also from the 15th century is a two-volume edition of the Old Testament, printed within a central text block, with surrounding commentary by Nicholas de Lyra.
The earliest imprint from colonial America is Eleazar Wheelock’s A plain and faithful narrative of the original design, rise, progress, and present state of the Indian Charity-School at Lebanon, in Connecticut, which was published by Richard and Samuel Draper in Boston, in 1763. Increase Lapham's Wisconsin (1846) is the earliest volume from a Milwaukee press. Many important works about Jesuit missionary activities are available, the earliest dating from 1618. (Additional publications about Jesuit missions are cataloged within the records of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, maintained by the department.)
The department preserves many exceptional examples of fine press printing and binding. Denis Diderot's seventeen volume encyclopedia, Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des arts et des Métiers (1751-1765), contains 3,129 copperplate engravings and was a seminal achievement of the Enlightenment. McKenney and Hall's History of the Indian Tribes of North America (1838-1844) contains some of the finest lithography of the 19th century. Other examples of fine printing - by Lakeside, Kelmscott, Roycroft, and Vale - offer addition instructional opportunities.
Significant literary collections include rare editions and signed works by Rupert Brooke, Joseph Conrad, Robert Frost, Wilfred Wilson Gibson, T. E. Lawrence, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Carl Sandburg, Siegfred Sassoon, and Glenway Wescott. Also of note is the Sherwood Anderson Collection, donated by Dr. John H. Sullivan ('57), and collections of literary criticism of both James Joyce and Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Catalogue records for all rare books are accessible through MARQCAT, Marquette's online catalog. Visitors are advised that some form of photographic identification is required for access to Memorial Library. All materials must be used within in the department's reading room.
For information about access and hours, please see our General Information Page or contact:
Amy Cooper Cary, Head of Special Collections and University Archives
Marquette University Libraries
1355 W. Wisconsin Avenue
P.O. Box 3141
Milwaukee, WI 53201-3141
(414) 288-5901; FAX (414) 288-3123
ALL VISITORS AND RESEARCHERS ARE WELCOME