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Brandeis University Special Collections

This is a guide to the Special Collections held at Brandeis, including manuscripts and rare books.

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Chloe Gerson
Chloe Gerson, Reference and Instruction Archivist
Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections, Goldfarb Library
Brandeis University
415 South St.
Waltham, MA 02453

Searching for Rare Books

The rare books collection at Brandeis includes incunabula (books printed before 1501) as well as a large number of first and critical editions, fine press publications, and early printings on subjects including American and European Christianity, classical studies, early exploration, English and American history and literature, English and French law and politics, Hebraic and Judaic studies, the history of science, Shakespeare, and Leonardo da Vinci. Rare book collections of note include the Baldwin Shakespeare collection; the Bern Dibner collection on the history of science; the Henry and Hannah Hofheimer collection of fine press publications; the Perry Miller collection on early American Christianity; the McKew Parr collection on Magellan and the Age of Discovery; and the Maurice and Badona Spertus collection of Hebraica and Judaica.

To find rare books in OneSearch, you can search by subject, title, or date. The Special Collections department also has some uncataloged collections; please contact us for more information if you are looking for works on a particular subject or from a specific time period.

Rare books on the Internet Archive

Many rare books from Brandeis Special Collections have been digitized and are available on the Internet Archive (to see all books contributed by Brandeis, try this link). You can also search for them via the Internet Archive Advanced Search screen. Under "Custom Field," type "Contributor" and type "Brandeis University" (without the quotation marks). You will see a list of full-text digitized books from the Brandeis University Libraries, and you can sort and refine your results.

You can also add keywords to the above to search for specific collections contributed by Brandeis, including conductor's score from our Victor Young collection, the Louis Nye collection of 17th century books and pamphlets, the John Galsworthy Collection and the Baldwin Shakespeare Collection.

Have a look: Brandeis's copy of the first edition of Jane Eyre on the Internet Archive

Gorham Collection

Missale 1626

The Walter F. and Alice Gorham Collection of Early Music Imprints, 1501-1650, includes treatises on the theory and performance of music as well as partbooks containing hundreds of pieces from the second half of the sixteenth century. To see details and a description of the partbooks in the collection, see Special Collections Spotlight

McKew Parr Collection

Temple Mount

Detail of map of Jerusalem representing the city as it might have looked in the first century (Descriptio Ierusalem quomodo florvit tempore D.N. Iesu Christi [Plan of Jerusalem as it flourished in the time of our Lord Jesus Christ]), from El Devoto Peregrino, y Viage de Tierra Santa, written in Spanish by Antonio del Castillo and first published in Madrid in 1654.

To see details and a description of the McKew Parr Collection on the Age of Magellan and the Age of Discovery, see the Special Collections Spotlight.

Tender is the Night

Tender is the Night

First edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night, with the author's dedication to T.S. Eliot written on the title page.