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Rare Books

Ask Archives and Special Collections

The Mahn Center rare book collection contains over 46,000 volumes of books worthy of special care and preservation because of age, scarcity, association value, or other factors.

View our guidelines for donating rare books.

About the Collection

  • The General Rare Book Collection contains early printed books, fine printing, private press books, and first or important editions of works in many subject areas, with primary strengths in English and American Literature and in all aspects of the history of books and printing.
  • The Gilbert and Ursula Farfel Collection of Incunable and Manuscript Leaves (Finding Aid) includes over 500 individual manuscript and printed leaves from the world over and dating from the 8th century.  Browse our digitized Manuscript and Printed Leaves collection online.
  • Author Collections comprise first and important later editions of British and American writers including Alfred Tennyson, H.G. Wells, Rudyard Kipling, Henry Miller, and others.
  • The Ohioana Collection includes important works about the history of Ohio, concentrating on Athens and southeastern Ohio.
  • The Edmund Blunden Collection is a personal library focused on British literature and arts and letters.
  • The Morgan Collection in the History of Chemistry comprises primarily works by English and American chemists of the 18th and 19th centuries as well as other works documenting the history of science dating back to the 16th century. View a 1965 Checklist of the Collection.
  • The Textbook Collection is composed primarily of 19th century American school textbooks, especially McGuffey readers and math titles.
  • The Travel Collection contains travel handbooks from the late 19th to mid-20th century for Europe and the world.
  • The Juvenile Literature Collection includes 19th and 20th century childrens’ literature, both individual items and many popular series.
  • The Ohio University Faculty Authors Collection contains books by current and former members of the faculty and staff. Books published by OU-Athens faculty members since 1950 are listed by department or school.
  • The Osteopathic Literature Collection contains basic early publications in this medical field.

Other subjects are Left Book Club (LBC) editions, British drama, the French Revolution, regional city directories, regional telephone directories, regional planning documents, and local newspaper clippings files.

For more information about the rare book collections or to discuss donations or student or research use, please contact Special Collections Librarian Miriam Intrator.