Special Collections & Archives

Archives and Manuscripts and Rare Books


Staff List

Reception Desk Phone: 410-516-8348

Archives & Manuscripts Reference:archives@lists.johnshopkins.edu

Rare Books Reference: rarebooks@lists.johnshopkins.edu

Collection Highlights

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Special Collections at the Brody Learning Commons

The Brody Learning Commons is home to the Department of Special Collections.  Located in The Winston Tabb Center for Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Archives Research, Special Collections offers the Hopkins community and researchers from other institutions access to a host of invaluable resources.

The University Archives contains record groups related to Hopkins history, a large photo collection, Johns Hopkins' nationally broadcast television programs, and theses and dissertations.

The Historical Manuscripts Collection focuses on individuals who have been associated with the Johns Hopkins University, in addition to a diverse array of material, from historic journals to avant-garde art.  Collection descriptions for the Manuscripts are provided through finding aids and the Sheridan Libraries' online catalog.

Information on the medieval and Renaissance codices holdings is also available.

The rare book collection at the Eisenhower Library contains over 60,000 volumes, and is strongest in the humanities and social sciences.  Highlights include:

  • medieval and Renaissance manuscript books
  • the Machen collection of incunabula (books printed before 1501), and fine printed books.
  • strong representrations of 19th century English literature, including the works of Byron, Anthony Trollope, Oscar Wilde
  • the Tudor and Stuart collection, established by Sir William and Lady Osler in 1918 as a memorial to their son Revere, who was killed in the First World War,  is strong in Spenser, Michael Drayton, and Thomas Fuller.
  • the Hutzler Collection of Economic Classics gives a comprehensive view of British thought on economics in the 18th and 19th centuries and includes French works on the subject, as well, most notably Auguste Comte’s correspondence with John Stuart Mill. 
  • 18th- and 19th-century German literature collection which includes works of C. M. Wieland, Goethe, and Heine, as well as the Loewenberg Collection of German drama from 1880 to 1934.  Complementing these is the
  • 18th- and 19th-century French play collection, documenting drama and popular culture.
  • American literature is represented in the Louis Zukofsky poetry collection, a small collection of artists’ books, and the works of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry James, Sidney Lanier, and more recently Mary McCarthy, John Barth, John Dos Passos, Tom Wolfe, Rockwell Kent, and Madison Smartt Bell. 

The sheet music collections available in Rare Books and Manuscripts include the ballads, waltzes, polkas, grand marches, hymns, operettas, and show tunes that have become part of America's musical heritage for two hundred years. The collections offer an inclusive look at American history and the popular culture of American society beginning with homage to George Washington in the 18th century and continuing to music familiar to us in the late 20th century. The focus of the collections is the Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music which encompasses the periods, persons, and events that have formed, inspired, and described the American past.

Together with the well-known Lester S. Levy Collection are collections smaller in scope but rich in variety and content. Victorian sentiment, comic tunes from vaudeville, patriotic and military music, melodies from film and theater, and popular music of recent decades are all included in thirty-seven distinct collections cataloged in Special Collections. A sampling from the T.E. Hambleton Collection, the Turner Collection, the Brinley Collection, the Joan Gould Collection, and the Frenkil Collection offers the marches of John Philip Sousa, the blues of W. C. Handy, the ragtime piano of Scott Joplin, show tunes of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, and George M. Cohan, and recent "standards" made famous by Perry Como, Hoagy Carmichael, Patti Page, Nat King Cole, and Gordon Jenkins. From the Dickens Collection and the Poe Collection are "Little Dorrit's Polka" and the musical scores to accompany "The Raven" and "A Kingdom by the Sea," examples of the prose and poetry of prominent writers that inspired composers. Along with 19th-century waltzes, the Hofmeister Collection contains a copy of "The Star Spangled Banner" with a fifth verse written by Oliver Wendell Holmes. Many sheet music covers portray well-known entertainers from theater, film, radio and television, some of whom are Kate Smith, Eddie Cantor, Al Jolson, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Other collections by name are Alliker, Brinley, Clements, Englemeyer, Hughes, Kunkel, Miller, Taylor, and Wilson. Card catalogs in the Special Collections Department provide access to each of the collections by title, lyricist, composer, publisher, and first line of song.