Lady looking through a book, with bookshelves in the foreground. Circa 1950.

Rare Book Collections

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Archives & Special Collections (A&SC) has thousands of rare books in our collections, and they cover a wide variety of topics! There are specific collections of rare books in which you may be interested described here: the Leuba Collection, the Darlington Library, and the Nesbitt Collection

Engraved print from the Darlington Library

The Darlingtons were prominent members of Pittsburgh society and avid collectors of Americana. William Darlington, an attorney, began the collecting of maps, books, and other documents; his children continued the practice until 1918 when Edith Darlington Ammon and her sister Mary O'Hara Darlington made the first donation of 11,000 volumes to the University of Pittsburgh. A second donation of material followed in 1925.

Click here to learn more about the Library and see its digitized materials.

Cover of a Dime Novel from the Nesbitt Collection

The Elizabeth Nesbitt Collection focuses on the history of children's literature and media. It includes over 12,000 items from the 1600s to the present. The collection was spearheaded by Margaret Hodges, a professor in the School of Information Sciences and a children's author in her own right. The collection includes pop-up books, chapbooks, juvenile periodicals, and much more.

Learn more about the Nesbitt Collection

Print called "Spawning Trout" from the Nesbitt Collection

The Walter and Martha Leuba Collection is a private library of 20th-century fine press books and first editions. The collection's primary focus is works of literature containing woodblock illustrations and contains over 10,000 volumes. Martha Leuba bequeathed the collection to the University of Pittsburgh in 1988.

See selections from the Leuba Collection online


The banner image is from our University Archives collection