Books Published Before 1850

The ‘History of the Book’ class being offered through the iSchool at the University of Maryland often has an assignment requiring students to compare a book published before 1850 with its more modern equivalent. It gives students the opportunity to examine differences in binding, paper, size, and many more details that distinguishes books produced in different eras. They are able to examine a rare book up-close, taking in the tactile nuances that you don’t always find in a modern paperback or ebook.

7930000422_d195852794_oSpecial Collections and University Archives has a wonderful Rare Books collection that can serve as a teaching tool for those interested in book history. Stop by the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library North and ask a librarian for more information about our Rare Books holdings.

Interested in more history of the book resources in Hornbake Library? Check out our subject guide.


If you are interested in locating a book published from a particular time period, use the ‘Advanced Search‘  function in the Classic Online Catalog and limit the date range to the years you would like to search, then limit the location to ‘Marylandia & Rare Books’. If you would also like to view books from McKeldin and other libraries on campus, simply skip this step.  You can also narrow your search by title, author, or keyword.

If you have any questions, we are here to help! Visit us in the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library North and ask a librarian.


  • Balzac. Eugénie Grandet. (1841) Rare Stacks PQ2166 .A1 1841
  • Balzac. Le Pere Goriot. (1839) Rare Stacks PQ2168.A1 1839
  • Boswell. Life of Johnson (1807)  Rare Stacks PR3533.B6
  • Bryant, William Cullen. Poems. (1832) Rare Stacks PS1150.E32 & PS1150.E32a
  • Bunyan, John.  Pilgrim’s Progress.  Rare Stacks PR3330.A1 1844 (other editions also available)
  • Burke, Edmund.  Reflections on the Revolution in France.  (1790) Rare Stacks DC150.B8
  • Byron, Lord. Childe Harold’s pilgrimage. (1812). Rare Stacks PR4357 .A1 1812b
  • Chaucer, Geoffrey. The works of Geoffrey Chaucer. (1721). Rare Folio PR1850 1721
  • Defoe, Daniel.  Robinson Crusoe (1810) Rare Stacks PR3403.A1 1810 (2 v.)
  • Dickens, Charles. American Notes (1842) Rare Stacks E165.D53 1842
  • Dickens, Charles.  The Old Curiosity Shop. (1841)  Rare Stacks PR4566 1841
  • Dickens, Charles. The posthumous papers of the Pickwick Club. (1842). Maryland Rare Stacks PZ3.D55 Pi 1842
  • Goldsmith, Oliver.  The Vicar of Wakefield. (1830)  Rare Stacks PR3490.A1 1830
  • Homer.  Iliad.  (1795) Rare Stacks PA4025.A2 1795 (other editions also available)
  • Homer. The odyssey of Homer. (1818) Rare Stacks PA4025.A5 P6 1818 (other editions also available)
  • Livy.  Roman History (Ab urbe condita) (1578) rare Folio PA6452 .A2 1578
  • Locke, John.  Letters Concerning Toleration (1765) Rare Folio BR1610.L4
  • Marshall. Life of George Washington (1804) Rare Stacks E312.M342
  • Milton, John. Paradise lost. (1739) Rare Stacks | PR3560 .A1 1739. (other editions available)
  • Poe, Edgar Allan. The Raven and Other Poems. Maryland Rare Stacks | PS2609 .A1 1845b
  • Thomas Paine. Rights of man; being an answer to Mr. Burke’s attack on the French revolution. (1791) Rare Stacks JC177 .C128
  • Richardson, Samuel.  Clarissa. (1751) Rare Stacks PR3664.C4 1751
  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Contrat social; ou, Principes du droit politique. (1762) Rare Stacks JC179 .R83 1762a
  • Scott, Sir Walter.  Kenilworth (1821)  Rare Stacks PR5319.A1
  • Scott, Sir Walter. Rob Roy. (1818) Rare Stacks PZ3.S43 Ro 1818
  • Shakespeare. The merchant of Venice. (1802). Rare Stacks PR2838 .A1 1802. (several of Shakespeare’s works are available in altered editions)
  • Shakespeare, William. The plays of William Shakespeare, in ten volumes. (1773) Rare Stacks | PR2752 .J6 1773
  • Shelley. Poetical Works (1840) Rare Stacks PR5402 1840
  • Smith, Adam.  Wealth of Nations  (1789) Rare Stacks HB161.S612 (other editions available)
  • Sterne, Laurence. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy. (1774)  Rare Stacks PR3714.T4 1774
  • Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War (1588)  Rare Folio PA4452 .A2 1588
  • Virgil.  Aeneid (1529)  Rare Folio PA6801 .A2 1529
  • Voltaire. Historical and critical remarks on The history of Charles XII, King of Sweden. (1732) Rare Stacks DL732 .L33
  • Wollstonecraft, Mary. Vindication of the Rights of Women.  (1794) Rare Stacks HQ1596.G62




2 thoughts on “Books Published Before 1850

  1. Pingback: Looking Back at 2015… | Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Maryland

  2. Pingback: A Look Back at 2016 | Special Collections and University Archives at UMD

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