Rare Books and Manuscripts
The Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts holds approximately 35,000 volumes. The collection represents a broad range of material relating to the visual arts and cultural life in the United Kingdom and the former British Empire, dating from the fifteenth century to the present.
Particular strengths include illustrated “color-plate” books from the renowned J. R. Abbey collection, drawing manuals, sporting books and manuscripts, early maps and atlases, early printed books, private press and contemporary artists’ books, as well as archival and manuscript material relating to British artists, writers, and travelers of all periods. Recent collecting areas include textiles, cartes de visite, photographic albums, printed ephemera, children’s games, and viewing devices.
Information about collections in the Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts is accessible using a variety of systems. The Center’s online collection provides access to material from all of its departments. The holdings of Rare Books and Manuscripts are also described in the Yale Libraries’ online catalogue and Archives at Yale, allowing researchers to explore these holdings in combination with other special collections on campus. Rare Books and Manuscripts staff are also available to provide assistance.