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.

Print Collections

Search the catalog for print materials in some of the library's premier special collections:

Communal Societies

The collection includes a substantial gathering of primary and secondary source materials relating to American Communal Societies: groups of people who have intentionally separated themselves from society in general and live according to a shared set of principles, whether religious or secular, in common ownership of property. This collection consists of manuscripts, printed works, visual materials, audio/video materials, ephemera, and a limited number of artifacts from the eighteenth through the late twentieth centuries.

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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.

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Lesser Antilles

The Beinecke Collection is 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. The collection includes hundreds of rare original documents, fifty maps, plantation reports, correspondence, and oil paintings and watercolors. This 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.

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The Agha Shahid Ali Archives

Agha Shahid Ali was a Kashmiri-American poet who taught at Hamilton College from 1987 to 1993. Hamilton College Special Collections holds the primary archive of Shahid's papers. The collection includes: manuscripts, correspondence, journals, ephemera, photographs and video tapes, printed materials, and other items. Shahid corresponded with notable literary figures, such as Edward Said, James Merrill, and Salman Rushdie. Additionally, Shahid's personal library is deposited at Hamilton. Many of the volumes contain markings and annotations, giving some insight into his creative process.

Access to the collection can be obtained by contacting Director and Curator of Special Collections and Archives Christian Goodwillie at cgoodwil@hamilton.edu

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Hamilton College Archives

The Hamilton College Archives holds Hamilton and Kirkland College records and personal papers of enduring value from administrators, faculty, students, and alumni from the founding of the Hamilton-Oneida Academy to the present, for the use of members of the Hamilton College community, scholars, and the general public.

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Digital Collections

The library's growing collection of primary and secondary source materials relating to American communal societies, the Lesser Antilles, Ezra Pound, jazz, Hamilton College and more are available online at http://elib.hamilton.edu.

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