Celebrating Research

  Library Overviews & Collection Profiles Contact:
ARL Web Manager

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library

Library Overview

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the largest repositories for rare books and manuscripts in the United States. The collections, which total more than 350,000 volumes and 7,200 linear feet of manuscripts, are strong in the broad areas of literature, history, art, philosophy, and theology, technology, and the natural sciences. Particular strengths lie in early printing (more than 1,100 incunabula) and imprints from the 16th and 17th centuries, with English literature, important editions of the Bible, and Renaissance schoolbooks standing out as distinctive and deep collections. Also noteworthy are collections in the history of science, technology, and economics. The library is renowned for its collection of emblem books and for its extensive holdings of works by and about John Milton. A special emphasis of the library's literature collections is drama, with holdings that encompass neo-Latin plays, Italian baroque drama, Shakespeare, Elizabethan and Jacobean playbooks, 19th-century acting editions, and 20th-century set and costume design. The Cavagna Collection is a significant resource for northern Italian history, and includes material from the 12th to the 20th century. The Spanish Golden Age collection includes more than 1,200 volumes dating from 1472 to 1700, and represents not only Spanish literature, but also religion, law, politics, medicine, and astronomy. The Meine Collection of American wit and humor and the Baskette Collection on freedom of expression are rich resources. Modern literary archival material housed in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library includes the papers of H. G. Wells, Carl Sandburg, and W. S. Merwin, letters of Marcel Proust, and various archival collections associated with numerous 19th-century British authors.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The Rare Book & Manuscript Library
346 Library
1408 West Gregory Drive
Urbana, Illinois 61801
(217) 333-3777 (t)
(217) 333-2214 (f)