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Collection Policies

Collection Policies by Subject

Archives & Rare Books Library



Subjects Covered :  The Rare Book Collection is an eclectic one, including materials in the arts, humanities, and sciences.

Departments & Users Served : The collection supports reference and research needs of faculty, students, and staff, as well as other scholars and the general public.  The collection has been used in instruction and research in the departments of Anthropology, Architecture, Art History, Classics, English, History, Geography, Germanic Studies, Math, Political Science, and Romance Languages.

General Description of Collection

Location of Collection : Archives & Rare Books Library, 808 Carl Blegen Library.

Other Collections Supporting Program :

Internal : The collection contains rare materials from collections throughout the University Libraries.

External : Cincinnati Historical Society Library and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, the Lloyd Library, and the Hebrew Union College Library

Electronic :

  • OhioLINK
  • WorldCAT
  • RLIN

Collection History:   Over the years, items from the collections of the University Libraries were set aside for special care because they were old, fragile, or valuable.  In 1973, with the establishment of the Special Collections Department (now the Archives & Rare Books Library), permanent staffing was provided for the collection.  Between 1978 and 1980, the collection was inventoried and cataloging converted to OCLC.  In 1986, guidelines for additions to the collection were established.


Overall the collection is one which supports instruction.  In areas of specialization, research is supported.


Call Numbers : LC A - Z

Size : Approximately 30,000 volumes

Current and Retrospective Collecting :

While the holdings range from papyri and cuneiform tablets to modern firsts and fine press editions, there are four areas of particular strength and active collecting: 

  1.  18th Century British Literature - particularly      anonymous poetical pamphlets, drama, and homiletic literature
  2.  Travel and Exploration - Worldwide and all      periods
  3.  North American Indian - Travel accounts,      ethnography and art
  4.  History of Printing & the Book - examples,      studies, and exemplars

Time Period Collected : All

Levels & Treatments : This is principally a teaching collection.  It includes examples of many types of materials, useful for instruction throughout the arts, humanities, and sciences.  Areas of specialization are developed at the research level.

Languages:   Predominantly European:  English, French, German, Latin, Italian

Geographical Areas : All

Types of Resources:

  • Manuscripts
  • Monographs
  • Newspapers
  • Periodicals
  • Serials and sets

Resource Formats : Manuscript and Print

Endowed Areas :  None


Materials are acquired through gift, purchase, and transfer.  Purchases are firm orders.  Transfers are made from other collections in University Libraries based upon the "Guidelines for Additions to the Rare Book Collection" and the recommendations of faculty and selectors.

RBA.1 - Revised
8/29/01 Alice M. Cornell

5/27/05 Kevin Grace

University of Cincinnati Libraries

PO Box 210033 Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0033

Phone: 513-556-1424

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