Rare Books and Special Collections


The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, located in the Harvey S. Firestone Library and the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, is one of the premier repositories of its kind. Its holdings span five millennia and five continents, and include around 200,000 rare or significant printed works; 30,000 linear feet of textual materials, ranging from cuneiform tablets to contemporary manuscripts; a wealth of prints, drawings, photographs, maps, coins, and other visual materials; the Cotsen Children's Library; and the Princeton University Archives. The privately owned Scheide Library is associated with the Department.

The mission of the Department is to collect, preserve, organize, describe, and promote use of the primary source materials and unique intellectual resources in its care. A staff of 50, headed by Ben Primer, Associate University Librarian, pursues a wide range of activities designed to fulfill this mission, including collection development, cataloging and processing programs, reference and outreach services, and exhibitions.