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 D.B. Dowd Modern Graphic History Library, Film & Media Archive, Local History, Modern Literature, Rare Books, and 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.
D.B. Dowd Modern Graphic History Library
The D.B. 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.
Digital Collections highlight those portions of the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections that have been made or born-digital.
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 3,600 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.
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.
Never exactly mainstream, Beckett is widely recognized as one of the most important European writers of the 20th century for...View Collection about Samuel Beckett
Stanley Lawrence Elkin wrote extravagant, satirical fiction in innumerable darkly comic variations. This Collection honors his work at the University...View Collection about Stanley Elkin
Consists largely of the author's own manuscript material and a substantial amount of personal and general correspondence, particularly to editors,...View Collection about William Gaddis
William H. Gass founded the International Writers Center at Washington University; this collection hopes to honor him while highlighting his...View Collection about William H. Gass
The May Swenson Papers contain manuscript and editorial material toward most of her books as well as important personal correspondences...View Collection about May Swenson
Mona Van Duyn was the first woman Poet Laureate of the United States, served as poetry consultant for the Libraries’...View Collection about Mona Van Duyn
The collection includes books and journals in Chinese and Japanese art history, architecture, history, language and literature, philosophy, and Buddhism.View Collection about Nelson I. Wu Collection
The East Asian Library has a complete set of six rubbings/paintings of Taizong horses in the special collection room.View Collection about Rubbings of Taizong Horses
University Records consist of records created in campus departments and offices.View Collection about University Records Collections
Syllabi, examples of exams and assignments, research correspondence, and reports collected by Washington University faculty and administrators.View Collection about Faculty and Administrators’ Collections
Alumni collections document specific students’ time at the university through related ephemera.View Collection about Alumni Collections
Student Groups' Collection contains photos, memorabilia, and more from student groups on campus.View Collection about Student Groups’ Collections