Mortimer Rare Book Room

Mortimer Rare Book Room

Special Collections will be CLOSED from May 22 to September 4, 2017 for relocation. Some materials will not be easily accessible starting January 2017. Contact us before your visit to ensure access. Special Collections will REOPEN in our temporary space, Young Library, in September 2017. See The New Neilson Library for more information.  

The Mortimer Rare Book Room 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 ancient history and zoology. Among the highlights of the collections are the papers of Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf.

Book Studies Concentration

The Concentration in Book Studies connects students with the exceptional resources of the Mortimer Rare Book Room 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 to 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 Room 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. One student, Brittany Osborne from Mount Holyoke College, is writing about her experience with researching manuscripts on her blog, Mysteries in the Margins.