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.
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
Washington University commencement programs from 1856 to the present.View Collection about Commencement Collection
Explore Washington University's historic architecture through our digitized resources.View Collection about Campus Architecture
From the earliest surviving letter to our Inaugural Address, these items showcase the beginnings of Washington University in St. Louis.View Collection about Early University History
Until 1921, each year's catalog included a list of students attending and their home address.View Collection about Catalogs, Course Bulletins, and Alumni Directories
Washington University Libraries joined the St. Louis LGBTQ+ History Project's Collecting Initiative to ensure this history is preserved.View Collection about LGBTQ+ History