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Special Collections

Colorado State University Libraries Archives and Special Collections Department collects rare and unique materials in subject areas that support the University's current research and education mission.


About the Rare Books Collection

Rare books are traditionally the heart of an academic library. They represent the intellectual and literary heritage of the written word and they embody the finest skills of writers, copyists, designers, printers and binders. The rich collection of rare books at Colorado State University Libraries began in the 19th century by early college librarians who identified valuable and important books and treated them with special care.

A major addition to rare book holdings occurred in 1965 when the University acquired the private library of Charles and Virginia Baldwin's Trianon Estate in Colorado Springs. The subject emphasis in this group of 10,000 volumes include first and other fine editions of English, French and American fiction, incunabula, bibliography and accounts of world travel.

A systematic program began in 1974 to acquire pieces to represent major periods, media, processes, places and individuals in the history of the written and printed word. This has resulted in a collection with an historical range from cuneiform tablets over 4000 years old to modern first editions. Among significant holdings are papyri, medieval manuscripts, incunabula including a leaf from Gutenberg's Mainz Catholicon, fine printing and binding from the 16th through the 20th centuries, and fore-edge paintings.

In 1990, the Libraries received the extraordinary Dr. D.K. Bailey Collection of 19th Century Botany. The 73 volumes and hundreds of journals and catalogs reflect Dr. Bailey's lifelong interest in botany, particularly conifers. In combination with titles already on hand, they constitute a significant resource that is especially appropriate for this institution.

Among smaller collections are first editions of John Steinbeck, Sinclair Lewis, D.H. Lawrence and Wright Morris. Nonfiction holdings include the L.W. Durrell collection of books on horsemanship.

Antiquities and more

What is the oldest agricultural artifact at Colorado State University?

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Mark Shelstad
Coordinator of Archives & Special Collections

Coordinator of Digital Collection Services

Morgan Library
Colorado State University Libraries
1019 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1019
(970) 491-2820

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