rare books

  • January 12, 2017
    Many of the books in Swem Library’s Special Collections have been gifted by individual donors who have themselves built up their own private collections. This practice of endowing educational institutions with the tools of study has long antecedents, but in the seventeenth century a librarian actually laid out a plan for building a library and advocated wider access for scholars.
  • C. Cornelius Tacitus, Leiden, 1634
    January 5, 2017
    The University of Leiden in the Netherlands, founded in 1575, is the country’s oldest; it is also now one of the study abroad opportunities offered to William & Mary students. In the first three quarters of a century annual enrollments showed a four-fold rise, with the result being that the Elsevier family in Leiden, who already operated a printing press, decided to get into the early modern equivalent of the text-book industry.
  • December 28, 2016
    “Buy 5 Get 1 Free” - that is how the publisher advertised the 1805 edition of Ferdinand Seidel’s Naturhistorisches Kupferwerk : mit erklärendem Texte nach Büffon, acquired this fall by Special Collections (Rare Book - Chapin-Horowitz  QH45. B84 S45 1805).  
  • December 21, 2016
    Everyone knows these famous lines even if the rest of the poems escapes them. “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” more popularly known as The Night before Christmas, was written in 1823 by Clement C. Moore (1779-1863) and is a staple in many families’ holiday traditions. But what accounts for the poem’s enduring popularity?
  • December 14, 2016
    In the basement of Swem Library is a room used mostly for storage. Along two walls are machines and wooden cases full of drawers. The machines are printing presses and the cases are filled with type – individual letters cast in metal, designed to be set by hand and printed on the machines.
  • October 26, 2016
    SCRC has an active instruction schedule during the academic year, as professors from all departments bring their students in to see the amazing materials housed in Special Collections. However, many may be surprised to learn that SCRC houses objects, texts, and ephemera related to virtually every discipline.This week included a reminder of how rich a collection we have related to the arts.
  • September 28, 2016
    Tucked among countless other books in the Special Collections stacks of rare books lies a rather unassuming looking text. It is green, with a lone tree pictured in the center of the cover and a grapevine frame going around, with the title, The Story of My Boyhood and Youth, spelled out in gold lettering.
  • July 21, 2016
    By Ellen Cloyed, W&M Libraries Rare Books Cataloger If you like old books, look carefully at any inscription you find within – you may have a valuable treasure as well as an unexpected mystery to solve.
  • June 1, 2016
    The Chapin-Horowitz Collection is my go-to treasure-trove for fun and unexpected sources on pretty much any undergraduate course topic that comes our way during the school year.
  • May 4, 2016
    Swem Library’s Special Collections holds the library of St. George Tucker. The library has been described by Jill M. Coghlan (“The Library of St. George Tucker” (M. A. Thesis College of William and Mary. Department of History. 1973.) In her work,  she revealed that the library holds a bit more than one-half of the books listed in Tucker’s estate.