From Chaucer to Star Wars, the Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection is comprised of more than 34,000 rare items, spanning 40 centuries, that are unique in size (some small enough to fit in the palm of your hand), format, fragility, age and controversial subjects.
Collections of note
A collection of books with illustrations documenting the history of plant medicinal use, gardening techniques and the field of botany from 1485-1935.
Featuring every book published by the Kelmscott Press, original correspondence of Dante Gabriel and William Michael Rossetti, and wallpaper and fabric samples designed by William Morris. The Nicholas A. Salerno Literary Papers contain resources on Pre-Raphaelites and Victorian-era authors, artists and poets, and the publisher Thomas Bird Mosher.
First editions, some inscribed, of classic works of leadership in America’s civic and political life – including The Federalist (1788) and writings by Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Created through a partnership between the School of Civic & Economic Thought and Leadership and ASU Library, with funds by a special appropriation from the Arizona government.
Small-print publications created as works of art, exemplifying the importance of collaboration between writer, artist, papermaker and printer.
Publicity materials and merchandising products from 1976 through 2005, mostly documenting the original three Star Wars films.
Twentieth Century Authors
Over 600 toy and movable books in different formats and on different subjects, created for both children and adult audiences.
Access the collection
To view materials in this collection, please make an appointment at least five business days prior to your visit by contacting Ask an Archivist or calling (480) 965-4932.
Appointments in the Distinctive Collections Wurzburger Reading Room at Hayden Library (rm. 138) on the Tempe campus are available on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Note: All library reading rooms are currently closed as part of the ASU Library’s COVID-19 response. Ask an Archivist is available Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., for reference assistance regarding collection materials.