Daniel Burke Library has an outstanding collection of rare books and other special collections. These collections have been developed over many years with the assistance of generous donations from many individuals. We have a wide range of materials in our rare book room ranging from 68 incunabula pieces to contemporary book arts items.
The collection is particularly strong in religion, classics, local history, the Adirondacks, and Civil War regimental histories (especially New York State). Of particular note are the Beinecke Lesser Antilles Collection, the Ezra Pound Collection, and the Communal Societies Collection noted below. These are our premiere collections where the Library has distinctive and unique holdings.
The pièce de résistance of the Hamilton College Library collections, it is the preeminent collection of materials on the Lesser Antilles, largely from the 16th-19th centuries. It contains over 1,800 printed volumes and 1,000 manuscripts. The collection includes hundreds of rare original documents, fifty maps, plantation reports, correspondence, and oil paintings and watercolors. The collection was originally developed by Walter Beinecke, Jr., and donated to the Hamilton College Library. The Library has added to the collection in recent years when possible. There is a printed catalog of the Beinecke Collection (Hough, Samuel J. The Beinecke Lesser Antilles Collection at Hamilton College: A Catalogue of Books, Manuscripts, Prints, Maps, and Drawings, 1521-1860. Gainesville, University Press of Florida, 1994).
This is a collection of approximately 2,500 items on communal societies, it is particularly thorough on the Shakers. A digitization project of The Shaker Manifesto, the official journal of the Shakers, was initiated in 2004. See the library's digital collections. Other communal societies with significant coverage are Amana, Ephrata, Koreshan Unity, New Harmony, and the Oneida Community.
This is a comprehensive collection of works by and about Ezra Pound, class of 1905, including first editions of all but one of Pound's works. The collection comprises over 2,500 items and includes manuscripts, correspondence, books owned and used by Pound, foreign translations of Pound's work, and photographs. Included in the collection are many items donated to the Library by Ezra Pound and other members of his family, particularly his son Omar Pound. A Selected Catalog of the Ezra Pound Collection at Hamilton College was published in 2005. (Order form)
This is a collection of works by and about the college's alumni, faculty, and administrators. The materials are housed in the college archives.
This is a notable collection of books on the history of printing, paper-making, and book production, along with examples of contemporary finely produced books. The collection also includes many examples of stamped covers.
This is a collection of works which contain illustrations by George Cruikshank (1792-1878).
This is a collection of printed books printed by Joel Munsell, noted printer of Albany, N.Y. Munsell was one of the earliest and best printers in New York. His works cover a broad range of materials.
This is a collection of printed books published in Utica, N.Y. (As comprehensive as possible for pre-1900, and selected 20th century works of local interest)
This is a small collection of some of the major treatises of polar explorers. Of particular note is the private polar library of Rockwell Kent.
In addition to the collections above, we have many uncataloged pamphlets, broadsides, and ephemera on the following topics: