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BGSU University Libraries

Rare Books and Special Collections: Rare Books Collection

Selection of Rare Books

About the Collection

The basic Rare Books Collection covers virtually the entire spectrum of academic fields represented in the University’s curriculum.  University curriculum is the primary consideration in the inclusion or exclusion of subject matter for RBSC.  Prominent in the collection are early imprints, private and small press books, and first editions of the works of American, English, and Irish authors.  

Named Collections

The Robert Aickman Collection (Rare, SC-A, SC-B, others) is the private library of the noted British theater critic and writer of occult fiction.  It includes works on the supernatural, the theater, opera and ballet; England’s inland waterways; and nineteenth and twentieth century literature and history.  A large manuscript collection including many of Aickman’s published and unpublished works is part of this collection.

The Carol Berge Collection (Rare, SC-A, SC-B) is the private library of American poet Carol Berge, focusing on her work and the work of her friends from about 1975 to 2000.  An extensive manuscript collection including a great deal of correspondence and unpublished poetry completes this collection.

 The William F. Nolan/Ray Bradbury Collection (Rare) is the most comprehensive Bradbury collection known.  It includes over 100 manuscripts and letters as well as hundreds of American and foreign language first and limited editions (most signed).  Also included are anthologies, critical works, periodicals, tearsheets, videotapes, phonodiscs, pamphlets, programs, posters, broadsides, promotional materials, and memorabilia.  It was collected by Bradbury’s long-time friend William F. Nolan.

 The BGSU Creative Writing Program Collection (Rare) gathers the published work and manuscripts of BGSU’s Creative Writing Department alumni.

 The George Washington Cable Collection (SC-A) contains first and early editions of many of this Creole writer’s books.  Photocopies of many Cable manuscripts are housed in the Center for Archival Collections.

 The William Dean Howells Collection (Rare) includes first and signed editions of most of Howell’s works.

 The Robert R. Hubach Walt Whitman Collection includes copies of works by Walt Whitman, biographies, criticism, and periodicals.  Related materials in the general Rare Books Collection include copies of each edition of Leaves of Grass published during Whitman’s lifetime, including the first edition.

 The Philip F. O’Connor Collection (Rare, SC-A, SC-B, others) includes first or second printings of books which were Pulitzer Prize nominees in fiction when O’Connor served on the Pulitzer Committee.  A large number of books from O’Connor’s professional library have been added, as well as a large manuscript collection reflecting O’Connor’s life and work up to his retirement at BGSU.

 The Eugene F. Ockuly FDR Collection (Rare) is an extensive collection of books, periodicals, pamphlets, campaign materials, correspondence, press releases and photographs relating to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s life and times.

 The Parnell Collection (Rare, SC-A, SC-B) was part of a private library focusing on eighteenth and early nineteenth century British literature, collected by a retired BGSU professor of English.

 The Maxfield Parrish Collection (Rare, SC-A) includes books, periodicals, calendars, and other material containing works by the noted American illustrator, most dating from the period 1890-1930.  The collection is highlighted by a number of Parrish prints.

 The Robert Peters Collection (Rare, SC-A, SC-B) includes poetry books and periodicals with a strong emphasis on late twentieth century poetry.  The collection is highlighted by a large manuscript collection featuring correspondence and working manuscripts by hundreds of contemporary poets.

 The Professor H. Glendon Steele Collection (Rare, SC-A, SC-B, others) was a private library of several thousand volumes, with an emphasis on limited editions of nineteenth and twentieth century literature and the history of religion.

 The Nancy G. Steen Collection (Rare, SC-A, SC-B, others) was a part of the private library of BGSU’s first Rare Books librarian.  The collection highlights include small press publications, first editions, and poetry.  A manuscript collection supplements the books.

 The Stranahan Poetry Collection (Rare, SC-A) is the gift of a private library of poetry and poetry-related materials.  It includes many first and early editions of predominantly nineteenth and early twentieth century poets.

 The Jan Wahl Collection (Rare) consists primarily of manuscripts of over forty of the works of this popular Toledo children’s author.  Also included are correspondence, original book illustrations, and signed copies of many of Wahl’s works.

Subject Guide

Libby Hertenstein
Jerome Library
Bowling Green State

Location and Hours

The Rare Books and Special Collections Division is housed in the Center for Archival Collections located in the William T. Jerome Library on the 5th floor. The collection is closed stacks. Patrons can request to see materials between the hours of 8am-4:50pm Tuesday-Friday and 8:00am-8:50pm on Monday.