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

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

Active Collecting Areas

  • 17th-19th century English and American women authors
  • African American poets
  • 17th-19th century women’s education
  • 18th-20th century European and American revolutions and protest movements
  • Slavery and abolitionist movements
  • 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