in the Watkinson Library comprise a broad spectrum of research materials in the
humanities and social sciences. A large percentage of the collection dates from
the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of the subject strengths include
Americana, the Civil War, Native Americans, education, etiquette, British history,
architecture, and World War I. The
Watkinson has extensive holdings in literature, including manuscript material,
with special strength in 19th and 20th century authors.
library’s highlights are books about ornithology and natural history. The foundation of the collection was laid in
1900 with the gift of a superb copy of Audubon’s “double-elephant folio”
edition of The Birds of America by
Dr. Gurdon Wadsworth Russell. In 1982
the Enders collection began as a gift from Ostrom Enders of about 6,000 titles
and a generous endowment, to become one of the finest collections of
ornithology in the country.
has an excellent representative collection of medieval manuscripts, including
illuminated books of hours, prayers books, and Bibles. A collection of over 200
incunabula (books printed before 1501) are a treasure for the study of early
printing and includes 4 copies of the Nuremberg Chronicle. Sixteenth century titles number about 1,700,
printed in the major printing cities of Europe.
Other holdings include first or early editions of Latin and Greek
authors and the Trumbull-Prime collection of early illustrated books. The
library has representative examples of the important private presses from the
18th through 20th centuries, with an almost complete run
of the Ashendene Press.
supports study of the history of the book with secondary materials consisting
of extensive numbers of bibliographies and comprehensive reference holdings on
all aspects of the book and its production.
It holds a broad range of specimens of bookbinding, papermaking,
illustration, fine printing, and contemporary artists’ books.