Rare Books Collection

ZSR Library’s Rare Books Collection includes materials in print and manuscript from the 13th through 21st centuries. The collection is particularly strong in American, Irish, and British literature  of the 18th through 20th centuries; African-American history and literature; and cultural and social history, with special emphasis on North Carolina history and regional Americana. The collection also supports study in the book arts and the history of print culture.

The Rare Books Collection consists of approximately 70,000 books, pamphlets, serials, and maps in a variety of subject areas. A major collection emphasis is American, Irish, and British authors of the eighteenth through twenty-first centuries. The collection also supports study in the literature and history of the French Enlightenment; American cultural and social history, with particular emphasis on North Carolina; and the history of books and printing.

Existing Areas of Strength

  • Irish Literary Renaissance authors (W.B. and Jack Yeats, Lady Gregory, Katharine Tynan)
  • 20th century Irish poets
  • 18th and 19th century novelists
  • Modernist literature (T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf/Hogarth Press)
  • African-American literature

Active Collecting Areas

  • 17th-19th century English and American women authors
  • African-American poets
  • 18th-19th century American literary anthologies
  • 17th-19th century women’s education
  • African, Asian, and Middle-Eastern travel literature
  • Missionary memoirs (especially American Baptists)
  • 18th-19th century religious fiction
  • Selected materials important to the history of books and printing in Europe and America
  • NC artists’ books