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The Rare Book Collection contains volumes from the earliest years of Western printing on history, philosophy and religion. Early editions of Ariosto and Dante are among some sixteenth-century works available to readers. The major strength of the Collection is in American and English literature. Some of the writers extensively represented are Pope, Goldsmith, Smollett, Byron, Coleridge, Austen, Dickens, Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Whitman, Dickinson, and Robert and Elizabeth Browning. Also included in the Collection are first editions of the Boston publisher Ticknor and Fields; as well as many volumes of Victorian and Edwardian authors.

European and American history of the eighteenth century is well represented, with emphasis on Massachusetts history. In the field of early Americana there are many books by the Mather family, as well as a copy of the Federalist Papers, annotated by James Madison. There are also nineteenth-century slave narratives and contemporary printings of early writers such as Phillis Wheatley and Frederick Douglass. The historical resources are significantly substantial in the subject areas of military history, Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.

Many of the collections contained within our Rare Book holdings were compiled by passionate collectors and patrons and donated to the Center. They include:

For Boston University's library catalog, Click here

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