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, 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.
To search our collections visit the Special Collections Research & Access page.
To learn more about giving to Special Collections, visit the Donating to Special Collections page.
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.
Grotesques, Glass, & GrahamA history of the Benjamin Brown Graham Memorial Chapel on the Campus of Washington University in Saint Louis.View Collection about Grotesques, Glass, & Graham
Eames & Young Architectural PhotographsContains unique photographs of the firm's buildings under various stages of construction.View Collection about Eames & Young Architectural Photographs
19th Century Architectural Photography CollectionThe 19th Century Architectural Photography Collection is primarily related to document period travel, archaeological, and portraiture conventions.View Collection about 19th Century Architectural Photography Collection
1904 World’s FairResearchers interested in the history of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition will find a variety of materials in several collections.View Collection about 1904 World’s Fair