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Rare Books

The Rare Book Collection contains more than 100,000 printed volumes distributed in more than 20 separate collections on many subjects and printed in many different languages. The majority are cataloged in GEORGE. As with other Special Collections material, rare books do not circulate. The core of the Rare Book Collection is the group of materials collected at Georgetown before the end of the 19th century. Among these, by far the most important are the surviving portion of the “original” library (as embodied in the last manuscript catalog, dating from about 1836); the Americana-rich library of John Gilmary Shea, acquired in 1892; and the classical and scientific library of the Rev. Thomas C. Levins, acquired in 1844. Noteworthy acquisitions since 1970, when Special Collections was formed, include the former rare book collection of the University of Detroit; the Bowen Collection (more than 20,000 volumes on intelligence, espionage and covert activities); and a variety of literary collections, including important authors such as Charles Dickens, C. S. Forester, Graham Greene and Arthur Ransome as well as works by winners of the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award.

Our Rare Books may be viewed only in our reading room. They do not circulate. To search for a book in our holdings, you may use the Georgetown University Library catalog, GEORGE. The call number for books in our collection begin with the designation "LAU Special Collections".

There are a number of historical newspapers in the Rare Books collections; for a list of titles click here.

Our rare books do not circulate and may be viewed only in our reading room. Please review our reading room use policies.