Special Collections

Special Collections serves as the repository for the University's collections of rare books and manuscripts, and for holdings relating to its own history.

Rare Books

The rare book collection consists of over 25,000 volumes representing a variety of subjects. The most important of these are first editions of English and American literature from the 17th to the 19th centuries, travel and exploration, natural history and ornithology, and works of historical significance in science and technology. Highlights from among these subjects include John James Audubon's Birds of America (4 vols., London,1827-1838), a complete collection of first and early editions of Charles Darwin's writings, including corrected page proofs for On the Origin of Species (London, 1859), part-issue copies of the works of several Victorian novelists, including Charles Dickens, important early printed editions of Geoffrey Chaucer's works, and all four folio editions of Shakespeare's plays.

History of Technology

The holdings in the history of technology concentrate on large scale construction, and mining and metallurgy. Among the latter is Agricola's De Re Metallica (Basel, 1556). In the former category are included a number of classic and seminal works on bridge building and design, and construction with iron and steel. The collection in the history of technology, in particular, is being actively increased.

Manuscripts Collection

The collection has also added to its holdings of manuscripts, in addition to papers relating to the University's history. The most important of these are the papers of Pulitzer prizewinning historian Lawrence Henry Gipson, formerly a Lehigh faculty member, the papers of Les Whitten, successful novelist and Watergate-era investigative reporter, and the Congressional papers of Francis E. Walter.

University Archives

The Lehigh Collection contains documents and publications of the University, papers of faculty members, and memorabilia from the University's history. In addition, it is the repository for Lehigh theses and dissertations.


Location and Hours of Special Collections

Access to the Special Collections material is through the Bayer Galleria, on the third floor of the Linderman Library. Reading room hours are 1 p.m.to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for University holidays. Researchers coming from a distance may make arrangements for longer access times. All persons, whether members of the University community or not, with a legitimate need to use materials in the collection, are welcome. Photocopying and photographic services are available for a fee.

Finding Special Collections Material

Nearly all of Special Collections materials are represented in ASA, the Libraries' online catalog. The over 10,000 photographic images in the Lehigh Collection are comprehensively indexed in a computer database. Some of our materials have finding aids to assist you in your research.


Special Collections Staff

Special Collections can be reached by email at inspc@lehigh.edu


Last updated: Tuesday, 23-Dec-2008 02:56:25 EST