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Rare Books and Manuscripts in Smith College Special Collections

Introductory information about the rare books and manuscripts in the Mortimer Rare Book Collection

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For questions about the collection, digital resources, and digitization requests...

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Staff are here to help, but the best place to start is by emailing!

College Archives
Nanci Young

Mortimer Rare Book Collection
Shannon Supple

Sophia Smith Collection
Maureen Cresci Callahan

Research Services
Kate Long

What is Special Collections?

Smith College Special Collections is a unit within Smith College Libraries. As a special collections library, it is home to materials outside the general library collection, including rare books, archives (historic records), manuscripts, maps, oral history interviews, and audiovisual material. These materials do not circulate outside of the library and are used onsite in the Reading Room. The Reading Room is open to all researchers working on a variety of projects including fiction books, art pieces, documentaries, family history, academic publications, and coursework. 

For more information about Smith College Special Collections, please visit our website.

To orient yourself to the collection, visit our Resource Lists page.

What is the Mortimer Rare Book Collection?

Rare Books & Literary Archives

The Mortimer Rare Book Collection includes the College’s rare printed books, medieval manuscripts, literary archives, artists’ books, and other historical and cultural materials. As part of Special Collections, these rare books and manuscripts support the curriculum of the College and enable us to function as a laboratory for the exploration of material culture. The collection scope is chronologically and geographically broad, with substantial holdings in English and American literature, botany, history of science, economics, early children's literature, seventeenth- and eighteenth-century English drama and political pamphlets, early lithographic books, and artists’ books.

Among the Collection’s eighty incunables (books printed before 1501) is the Epistole devotissime of St. Catherine of Siena (Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1500), acquired in 1987 as Smith College Libraries' millionth volume.