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Special Collections Closed
Hillyer Art Library 9am - 8pm
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Mortimer Rare Book Collection

Curator of Rare Books working with student

Notice: Special Collections Closed Summer 2017

Special Collections is closed from May 22nd to September 5th to relocate staff and collections in anticipation of the renovation of Neilson Library and Alumnae Gym (2017-2020). Special Collections--including the College Archives, Mortimer Rare Book Collection, and Sophia Smith Collection--will reopen in Young Library. Information concerning directions, services, and collections accessibility will be updated.

Special Collections will continue to provide some distance reference services through the temporary closure, but with longer delays. We will process all reference requests as quickly as possible. Questions can be sent to Additional information about the renovation project can be found on The New Neilson Library website.

Mortimer Rare Book Collection

The Mortimer Rare Book Collection houses the college's rare books and literary manuscripts.  Broad in scope, it includes works from all time periods and in subject areas as diverse as ancient history and zoology. Among the highlights of the collections are the papers of Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf.

See Rare Books & Manuscripts collections for a list of major holdings.

Book Studies Concentration

The Concentration in Book Studies connects students with the exceptional resources of the Mortimer Rare Book Collection and the wealth of book artists and craftspeople of the Pioneer Valley. Through classroom study, field projects, and independent research, they learn about the history, art, and technology of the "book," broadly defined to extend from oral memory and papyrus scrolls to manuscripts, printed books, and digital media. Read more about the Book Studies Concentration...

The Five College Project on Digital Medieval Manuscripts

The Mortimer Rare Book Collection is currently contributing to a Mellon-funded project to create digital facsimiles for all of the medieval manuscripts held by the libraries and museums of the Five Colleges consortium. The digitized manuscripts will be accessible in their entirety from local digital repositories and from Digital Scriptorium, an international tool for teaching and scholarly research. The project also involves undergraduate and graduate students in studying, scanning, and cataloging the manuscripts.