Rare Books

About us

We acquire rare, antiquarian, and modern books of enduring value both for intellectual content and as historical artifacts. Materials are collected in subject areas across the humanities and sciences. Titles are selected for a variety of reasons, including strengthening of holdings important to faculty for both current and future teaching and research. Materials for the collections are acquired in many languages and include a wide variety of subject areas. In addition to our broad, general rare book collection, there are named collections that focus on specific subjects, such as book arts, religion, science, literature, music, and American history. These materials are open for research to all those interested.

Important information about access to collections

We are undergoing a major collection move through 2026. Access to materials may be limited. Most of the rare books collections and portions of the manuscript and archives collections will be difficult to consult from August 2023 to April 2024. If you are planning a research visit or class session, please contact Special Collections to determine availability and options. 

Students and scholars from outside of Stanford should contact the staff with inquiries before they make their plans. Let us know what you are interested in.