Explore Our Collections
Washington University Libraries collect, preserve, promote, and make accessible rare, archival, and primary source materials that enrich teaching, learning, and research for the university community and beyond.
The Julian Edison Department of Special Collections focuses on six primary areas: the Dowd Illustration Research Archive, Film & Media Archive, Local History, Manuscripts, Rare Books, and the University Archives. An active program of class visits, exhibitions, workshops, and public events highlight the Department’s vital role in scholarship at Washington University and the wider community.
Digital Collections highlight those portions of the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections that have been made or born-digital.
Dowd Illustration Research Archive
The Dowd Illustration Research Archive (formerly Dowd Modern Graphic History Library) at Washington University is comprised of original art and printed material from many fields of popular American pictorial graphic culture.
East Asian Library Special Collections
The East Asian Library houses about 800 volumes of rare and special books, manuscripts, and other types of materials in its special collection.
Film & Media Archive
The Archive is committed to the preservation of documentary film and other media which chronicles America's great political and social movements with a particular emphasis on the African-American experience.
Kranzberg Art & Architecture Library Special Collections
The Art & Architecture Special Collections is a 4,200-volume collection of rare and unique art and design printed materials located at the Kranzberg Art & Architecture Library. The main focus is illustrated books, prints, and photographs from the 18th and 19th centuries and contemporary book design.
The local history collecting area focuses on the history of St. Louis and the surrounding region.
Washington University Libraries' Julian Edison Department of Special Collections Manuscript collections contain a broad range of materials dating from the 2nd century BC through the present.
Modern Literature Collection
The Modern Literature Collection includes more than 175 authors, presses, and journals, with more than 125 of these represented by manuscript materials.
Music Special Collections
Special Collections at the Gaylord Music Library include sheet music, manuscripts, rare books, and digital materials.
Rare Book Collections
The Rare Book Collections include books from all Special Collection areas. The collections’ primary strengths are in the areas of literature; the material culture of the book, including the history of printing, graphic design, and the book arts; and aspects of American and world history.
Washington University Archives chronicles the history of Washington University in St. Louis from 1853 to today, with over 300 unique collections including campus publications, reports, photographic prints and negatives, books, film, sound recordings, oral histories, architectural plans, and artifacts.
Interview with Frank Marshall Davis, a noted American writer, journalist, and poet who was a part of the Harlem Renaissance...View Collection about Frank Marshall Davis Collection
The Harry Wald Collection is an assemblage of burlesque films largely from the 1930s to the 1960s.View Collection about Harry Wald Collection
Primarily contains academic and educational films from the 1960s and 70s along with supporting materials of teacher, study, and film...View Collection about Educational Film Collection
Julian and Hope Edison Collection of miniature books includes over 3,500 titles.View Collection about Julian and Hope Edison Collection of Miniature Books
The Brisman Collection in Jewish Studies was purchased by Washington University in 1972. Half of the volumes are in Hebrew;...View Collection about Shimeon Brisman Collection in Jewish Studies
The Collection is concerned with the history of communications and includes materials from 1490 to the present, ranging in subject...View Collection about Philip Mills Arnold Semeiology Collection
This Collection contains Civil War prints and other historical images with a special highlight on thirty-six Kurz & Allison prints.View Collection about James E. and Joan Singer Schiele Print Collection
The collection focuses on developments in printing since the Industrial Revolution with an emphasis on the last 100 years.View Collection about Isador Mendle Memorial Collection
The Henrietta Hochschild Collection studies the influence of fairy tales, and fantasy on the development of writers and artists.View Collection about Henrietta Hochschild Collection of Children’s Books
Fine books from the 15th century to the present, including early illuminated manuscripts and incunabula.View Collection about George N. Meissner Collection
Documents Eric Gill’s interests and activities over the course of his lifetime.View Collection about Eric Gill Collection
Books with moving parts have been around for centuries and encompass all genres. The Movable Book Collection holds books and...View Collection about Movable Book Collection