Literary Special Collections

Special Collections and University Archives in Hornbake Library is home to a wide array rare and unique literary collections. From personal papers of authors and poets to early printed works, our collections cross a variety of subjects and time periods in the literary world.

Archival Collections

Below are some highlights from our archival literary collections in Hornbake Library:

  • Katherine Anne Porter papers
    • Personal papers of American author Katheriane Anne Porter (1890-1980), best known for her short stories and novel Ship of Fools (1962).
  • Djuna Barnes papers
    • Personal papers of avant-garde American writer and artist Djuna Barnes (1892-1982), best known for her novel Nightwood (1936).
  • Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven papers
    • Personal papers of avant-garde artist and poet Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874-1927). She is associated with Djuna Barnes and the Dada movement.
  • Ernest Hemingway collection
    • A large portion of the collection consists of serials that include stories and nonfiction written by and about Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961). It also includes some original correspondence to and from Hemingway. In addition, there are manuscripts and proofs of Hemingway’s work and biographies of Hemingway.
  • Literary First Appearances
    • Periodicals containing the “first appearance,” or first public dissemination, of many noteworthy 20th century literary works.
  • French Pamphlet Collection
    • Approximately 12,000 pieces dating from 1620 to 1966, covering many key episodes in the history of France. The largest part of the collection is made up of 7000 pamphlets from the Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras, 1788-1815.
  • African American Pamphlet Collection
    • 20th century materials on African, African-American, and Caribbean culture and literature. The collection spans the years 1905-1979, although the majority of the pamphlets date from the 1960s and 1970s.

Subject Guides

Rare Book Collections

Our rare book collections contain books printed from the 16th century to modern times. Most are searchable in the online catalog. Below are some highlights from the collection:

  • German Expressionism collection
    • Contains serials and books that reflect German Expressionism, a culural, literary, and artistic movement that began in Germany prior to the First World War.
  • William Morris collection
    • Works by 19th century British author, socialist, designer and founder of the Kelmscott Press, William Morris (1834-1896).
  • Eikon Basilike
    • Guide to the Eikon Basilike and related materials held by Special Collections and University Archives

Want to learn more? Explore our literary special collections online or visit the Maryland Room to speak to a librarian. You can also contact us via email.

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History of the Book in Special Collections

We recently brought out treasures from our rare book and special collections stacks for a visiting History of the Book class from UMD’s iSchool. Many of the books on display represented a wide variety of illustrations, from early incunable woodcuts and the delicate wood engravings of Thomas Bewick to more modern lithography, aquatints, and engraving techniques.

Also on display were landmarks in literature, philosophy, and politics that showcase the changes in book production, marketing, and reception from the 16th century through the present day. Early works on display included French revolutionary pamphlets and philosophical works, such as our first edition Thomas Hobbes Leviathan, printed in 1651The rise of the modern paperback novel were represented by early editions of Harriet Beecher Stowe,  Ernest Hemingway, and James Joyce. The two artists books by Werner Pfeiffer, Out of the Sky (2006) and Alphebeticum (2006) are wonderful examples of how modern artists use typography and construction to push the envelope of how we experience books.

Browse our rare book collections online or contact a librarian for more information.

Doves Press Bible on Display in Hornbake Library

Visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library to view The English Bible, printed by the Doves Press in 1903. This is an exquisite example of the fine press movement in England, which sought to create traditionally crafted, beautiful books using handmade paper, quality ink, and carefully designed type and page layout. The Doves Press operated in England from 1900-1916.

Explore more examples of fine press books in our Literature & Rare Books collections in Special Collections and University Archives.

New Acquisition: Spenser’s Faerie Queene by the Ashendene Press

IMG_7607.JPGRecently, Special Collections and University Archives acquired several beautiful examples of early 20th century fine printing. Among them is Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queen, printed in by The Ashendene Press in 1923.

The Ashendene Press is one of the finest examples of the private press movement in England, which valued well-designed books produced with high quality materials by skilled workmen. Private press craftsmen and artists scoffed at the poorly made, commercially-driven books and the mechanized book production of industrialized England. These beautifully crafted books are a testament to the artistry of individuals like Emery Walker, William Morris, T. J. Cobden-Sanderson, Charles Rickets, and others who sought to reclaim traditional book art in a time when profit and mass production trumped integrity and design.

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New Exhibit: Alice in Punch-Land

John_Tenniel

Sir John Tenniel (self portrait), 1889.

Sir John Tenniel (1820-1914) was already a well known artist when Lewis Carroll approached him in 1864 to illustrate his upcoming book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Although he would later become celebrated for his iconic Alice illustrations, at the time, Tenniel was highly regarded for his work in Punch, a British weekly magazine devoted to political commentary, satire, and humor.

Tenniel worked as an painter and illustrator before becoming a political cartoonist for Punch in 1850. He contributed over 2,000 cartoons for the magazine over the next 50 years. His work covered domestic and international affairs with biting wit. Tenniel was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1893 for his artistic achievements. He officially retired in 1901.

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Alice in Special Collections & University Archives

Curious to discover more about Lewis Carroll and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland? Visit the Maryland Room to view Alice-related material from Special Collections and University Archives in Hornbake Library.

Here you can find early editions of Alice in Wonderland, including copies owned by Djuna Barnes and Katherine Anne Porter.  The Gordon W. Prange Collection holds Alice editions published in Japan during the Allied Occupation. Our Mass Media and Culture collections houses photographs and other records of Alice in film and media.

Check out the list below or search our catalog to discover more.

Special Collections

  • Boys and Girls of Bookland. By Nora Archibald Smith. Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith.
    New York: D. McKay, c1923.
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. By Lewis Carroll. New York: Macmillan and Co., 1900.
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. By Lewis Carroll. Illustrated by Barry Moser. Berkeley : University of California Press, 1982.
  • Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. Illustrated by Barry Moser. Berkeley : University of California Press, 1983.
  • Yours very sincerely C.L. Dodgson (alias “Lewis Carroll“) : an exhibition from the Jon A. Lindseth Collection of C.L. Dodgson and Lewis Carroll. New York : Grolier Club, 1998.
  • In Memoriam, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, 1832-1898: Obituaries of Lewis Carroll and Related Pieces. Compiled and Edited by August A. Imholtz, Jr. & Charlie Lovett. New York : Lewis Carroll Society of North America, 1998.
  • The Tale of the Mouse’s Tail. By David and Maxine Schaefer. Illustrated by Jonathan Dixon. Silver Spring, MD : Mica Publishers, 1995.

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Happy Thanksgiving from Special Collections

Celebrate Thanksgiving with turkeys from Special Collections! Visit the Maryland Room to explore our collections when we re-open on Monday, November 30 at 10am.