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F&M College Library

Rare Books

The Archives and Special Collections Department collects and preserves in its Rare Books collection over 8,000 titles ranging from a ca.1450 South Netherlands Book of Hours to the newest collectible or limited-edition publication.

The collection is cataloged and available through Franklin & Marshall College's on-line Library Catalog. The South Netherlands Book of Hours has been digitized and is available online here.

Strengths of the collection include :

Cato Major

  • Natural Science
  • Exploration (United States and Global)
  • U.S. Civil War and European Military History
  • 17th through 19th-Century European and World History
  • Ancient History and Classical Literature
  • Lexicography
  • 19th-Century American and English Literature
  • Criminology (18th- and 19th-century)
  • Lancaster County Imprints
  • Art of the Book and Artists' Books
  • Central Pennsylvania fine press publications
  • Books of martrydom
  • Miniature books

The Department maintains five unique sub collections within rare books:

German-American Monographs

The collection of German-American Monographs, a component of the larger German-American Imprint Collection consists of approximately 2,700 titles published in North America in the German language in the eighteenth and nineteenth-centuries. This collection is especially rich in materials printed prior to 1830 from the South-Central Pennsylvania area. The Unger-Bassler and Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center collections comprise the two major sources of the collection. Approximately one third of the monograph collection is cataloged and available for searching through the library's online catalog. Using the keyword sequence "b8: german american collection" in the search box will allow you to generate a list of these titles. Access to the monograph collection can also be provided through The First Century of German Language Printing in the United States of America, Publications of the Pennsylvania German Society, Vol. XXI and XXII, 1989.

Watts de Peyster Collection: Napoleon Buonaparte

General John Watts de Peyster developed this collection of monographs about Napoleon Bonaparte and the Napoleonic era. The 1,182 title collection is rich in 19th century imprints on Napoleon, European military history, and anti-Bonaparte writings. The collection is completely cataloged and also available via the library catalog. Using the keyword sequence "b8: napoleon collection" in the search box will allow you to generate a list of these titles. In 2007, a comprehensive collection analysis and descriptive bibliography was compiled by senior French major Nick Way. Please link to the bibliography here.

Helen D. and William E. Krantz '37 Miniature Book Collection

A collection of approximately 220 miniature book titles (books under 4 1/2 inches) donated in 2012 by William E. Krantz (F&M Class of 1937). Items from this collection can be located in the library catalog by performing the keyword search: Helen D. and William E. Krantz '37 Miniature Book Collection

Artists' Books Collection

The Artists' books collection consist of approximately 110 titles ranging from simply-made zines to elaborately produced three-dimensional books. These materials can be located in the catalog by using the subject term "artists' books" or the term "zines".

William Reichenbach Collection

The William Reichenbach Collection is the oldest library collection. One hundred thirty six titles were bequeathed to Franklin College in 1821 by William Reichenbach, Professor of Mathematics from 1787-1821. Sixty two titles survive consisting largely of Latin language texts by classical authors as well as contemporary 16th-18th century works on ancient history, science and religion. Items from this collection can be located in the library catalog by performing the keyword search: William Reichenbach Collection

Morton S. Herskowitz Collection

42 titles (books, journals and recordings) related to psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) and orgonomy from the collection of Morton S. Herskowitz (1918-2018) Philadelphia psychoanalyst who studied under Reich. Items from this collection can be located in the library catalog by performing the keyword search: Morton S. Herskowitz Collection

In addition to these larger subject collections, there are several sub collections of books related by provenance. Most of these works are individual or family-owned books acquired by the library as part of a larger manuscript collection.

These books can be searched by visiting the library catalog and entering the full name of the collection (as shown in italics) in the keyword box or by viewing the parent collection's finding aid for an inventory (if available) at the link provided.

Thomas R. Brendle Collection -8 titles; associated with the Thomas R. Brendle Collection of Pennsylvania Germania

J. William Frey Collection -23 titles; associated with the J. William Frey Collection of Pennsylvania Germania

Johannes Schwalm Historical Association Collection -90 titles; part of Johannes Schwalm Historical Association Collection​

Leinbach Family Collection -23 titles; part of the Leinbach Family Papers

Lloyd Mifflin Collection -8 titles; associated with the Mifflin Family Papers

Muench Family Collection -34 titles; part of the Muench Family Papers

Reynolds Family Collection -44 titles; part of the Reynolds Family Papers

Ira Grushow Collection -89 titles related to English satirist Max Beerbohm (1872-1956); part of the Ira Grushow Collection

Bill Hutson Collection -409 titles (about 50 of which are located in rare books) related to abstract expressionist and African American art and history; part of the Bill Hutson Collection

For questions concerning the value of your rare book you may try some of the sources listed here