Hamilton College Library


Special Collections & Archives

Special Collections

Collection Page Index
Beinecke Lesser Antilles >>
Communal Societies >>
Ezra Pound >>
Hamilton College Archives >>
Book Arts >>
Other Collections >>
  • Cruikshank 
  • Munsell
  • Polar Exploration
  • Utica Imprints
  • Additional Collections
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Burke Library, Third Floor
Special Collections Hours


Christian Goodwillie
Director of Special Collections and Archives

Mark Tillson
Special Collections Coordinator

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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.

Beinecke Lesser Antilles

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).

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Communal Societies

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.

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Ezra Pound

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)

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Hamilton College Archives

This is a collection of works by and about the college's alumni, faculty, and administrators. The materials are housed in the college archives.

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Book Arts

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.

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Other Collections



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.


Utica Imprints

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)


Polar Exploration

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.


Additional Collections

In addition to the collections above, we have many uncataloged pamphlets, broadsides, and ephemera on the following topics:

  • U.S. political campaigns (especially presidential)
  • U.S. presidents and their cabinets
  • New York State governors
  • Civil War (including enlistment forms for the NYS 117th Volunteer Regiment)
  • Slavery and abolition
  • Grand Army of the Republic
  • Local history
  • Adirondacks
  • New York canals
  • Almanacs
  • Communist pamphlets
  • Anti-semitism
  • Temperance
  • Native Americans
  • 19th century tariff/protectionism debates

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