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.

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for updates and images from our collections.

I need a primary source now!

Having trouble finding primary sources? Want to research outside of Special Collections hours? Can’t visit Hornbake Library in person? No problem! This post is all about finding digitized primary sources in Special Collections and University Archives at UMD.


We have lots of digitized material from Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Maryland that is available 24/7!  Look through photographs, documents, film, and audio on our Digital Collections site, browse photographs and documents on Flickr, and read books and periodicals on the Internet Archive.

Here’s a list of places to look online for our digitized content:

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How to Request Materials from Special Collections

New to Special Collections and University Archives? Unsure how to view materials from our collections? We’re here to help!

Special Collections is home to rare and unique materials covering a broad range of topics, formats, and periods. We have both primary and secondary resources on UMD, Maryland history, literature, rare books, broadcasting, women’s history, labor history, post-war Japan, and so much more. Visit our website to explore our collections!

Since our materials are located behind closed stacks, you will need to place a request for materials from our collections using the Special Collections Research Account (Aeon) online. This means you can make requests from the comfort of home, or visit the Maryland Room and get help from one of our wonderful librarians on staff! We are located in the Maryland Room, on the 1st floor of Hornbake Library North.

Let’s walk through the process of making a request for items in Special Collections and University Archives. Here are the steps to request materials from our collections:

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How to search for Maryland newspapers in Chronicling America

The first issues digitized by the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project are now live on the Library of Congress database Chronicling America. (See the official announcement here!) Thus far, only issues of the German-language newspaper Der Deutsche Correspondent are online; however, some English titles will be available later in the year.

This post will provide an overview of how to use Chronicling America‘s interface to search for digitized newspapers. Click on the images to see an enlarged view, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments!

Searching in Chronicling America

The easiest way to search for digitized Maryland newspapers is to use the “Search Pages” tab on Chronicling America’s homepage. From this bar, you can narrow your search by state, year, and/or keyword.

A screen capture from Chronicling America. The "Search Pages" tab has been circled in red.

Even more options are available from the “Advanced Search” tab.

A screen capture from Chronicling America. The "Advanced Search" tab has been circled in red.

From this tab, you can search by newspaper title, limit you results to only front pages, search English-, Spanish-, French-, or German-language newspapers, or perform more precise keyword searches.

If you perform a search using either one of these tabs, you will see thumbnails for the first 20 results that meet your search criteria. This is called the “gallery view” of your results. You can switch your view to see a simple list of your search results instead using the “List” link in the top right corner of the results display.

A screen capture from Chronicling America that shows the gallery view of search results.

A screen capture from Chronicling America that shows the list view of search results.

Click on a result to get a closer look at that page.

A screen capture from Chronicling America that shows the newspaper viewer.

Using the buttons and links in the newspaper viewer, you can zoom in and out on the page, view additional pages of the issue, and download pages.

A screen capture from Chronicling America that explains the functions of buttons and links in the newspaper viewer's navigation bar.

If you used the keyword search feature, you’ll notice that the search terms have been highlighted in red. For example, I used the “Advanced Search” tab to limit my search for the phrase “Enoch Pratt” to newspapers from the state of Maryland and only from the year 1886, the year that the Enoch Pratt Free Library opened in Baltimore.

A screen capture from Chronicling America that illustrates how to use the advanced search.

My search returned 64 results. The first result has my search phrase “Enoch Pratt” highlighted several times, plus it is dated January 5, the day that the library opened. I’ll click on the page to get a closer look.

 A screen capture from Chronicling America of the advanced search results.

A screen capture from Chronicling America of one of the search results pages.

Zooming in on the article reveals the following headline:

Die “Enoch Pratt-Freibibliothek.” Offizielle Eröffnung der großartigen Stiftung des Hrn. Enoch Pratt.

This roughly translates to:

The “Enoch Pratt Free Library.” Official opening of the great Foundation of Mr. Enoch Pratt.

Browsing newspapers in Chronicling America

If you’re more interested in browsing newspapers, the calendar view offers a quick way to see dates for which digitized newspapers are available for a given title. Getting to the calendar view for a title is easy. Click the third search tab, “All Digitized Newspapers 1836-1922,” and limit your results by state, ethnicity, or language.

A screen capture from Chronicling America of the tab "All Digitized Newspapers 1836-1922."

If you have already performed a search and are viewing one of the result pages, you can also navigate to the calendar view by clicking the “All Issues” link in the newspaper viewer.

A screen capture from Chronicling America of the navigation bar in the newspaper viewer. The "All Issues" link has been circled in red.

I limited my search to the state of Maryland to in order to see which titles have been digitized from Maryland thus far.

A screen capture from Chronicling America of search results after using the "All Digigized Newspapers 1836-1922" tab. The "Browse Issues" column has been circled in red.

Click the calendar icon in the “Browse Issues” column to see the calendar view.

Use the dropdown menu to view different years. Dates with an active link have at least one edition for that date; click to view the issue(s) for that date.

A screen capture from Chronicling America of the calendar view of Der Deutsche Correspondent.

Additional Resources

Those are the basics, but if you need more information, check out the plethora of online tutorials that others have created for Chronicling America:

International Women’s Day Resources from UMD Libraries

Each month, the Special Collections displays rare, unique items from our collection that resonate with present-day events. On March 1st through March 31, 2013, visit the Maryland Room on the 1st floor of Hornbake Library and delve deeper into women’s history. We’ll also provide online tools, resources, and information about our displays and women’s history every Wednesday and Sunday this month.

Our display honors International Women’s Day on March 8th.

The exhibit “Taking a Leading Role” offers a sampling of items drawn from Library of American Broadcasting collections. The photo depicts Martha Brooks.

University of Maryland Libraries Resources for the student or researcher of women’s history

Women’s history and the struggle for equality covers a broad spectrum of issues, events, and individuals. To support International Women’s Day and students or researchers of women’s history, here is a list of some online resources (exhibits, collections, and subject guides) available from the Special Collections and other University of Maryland Libraries. If you run into a resource only accessible to University of Maryland researchers, and you need access to something in these guides, we welcome you to contact us for more information.

Online Exhibits

Taking a Leading Role: Women in Broadcasting History

Women on the Border: Maryland Perspectives of the Civil War

Nancy Drew and Friends: Girls’ Series Books Rediscovered


The Maryland Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) campaigning for the Equal Rights Amendment, May 1986. Image may be under copyright.


Are you interested in the individual voices of women? Are you searching for organizations in history that represented women’s communities or rights?

Here is a list of finding aids for materials at the Special Collections. Some of these items are digitized and available online through Digital Collections (online items will be noted in the finding aids).

You can also search Digital Collections using the terms “woman,” “women,” “women’s rights,” and similar key terms for images and finding aids from our collections.

Subject Guides

These guides provide tips and resources for researching women’s history. Some guides relate to a specific class, but may also have useful resources for your studies.

Women & the American Civil War

Women in Maryland

Women’s Studies Research Guide

Women in the Media

Introduction to Women’s Studies: Women and Society

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies

Maryland Genealogy

World’s Fair Collection Now in Hornbake

An important collection has moved across campus and is now available at the Maryland Room, in Hornbake Library’s Special Collections. You can visit us anytime during our open hours to learn more about the history of the World’s Fair. If you want to take a look before you visit, you can browse the digital version of the collection. Below is a description of what can be found in this collection.

The World’s Fair Collection contains nearly 1,700 non-book items including photographs, stereographs, prints, illustrations, scrapbooks, sheet music, periodicals, maps, pamphlets, and memorabilia, as well as many artifacts, such as trade cards, tickets, exhibitor entry forms, postcards, menus, souvenir ribbons and scarves, and a stereograph viewer.

Represented fairs range from the 1851 London exhibition through the present, although the collection’s holdings are strongest for the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial exhibition, the 1893 Chicago Exposition, the U.S. fairs (as a whole), and Paris fairs (as a group).

The World’s Fair Collection also includes numerous books on international expositions. Its holdings are strongest for the fairs held in Paris (as a group), the Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1851, and the Chicago World Columbian Exposition of 1893.

Crystal Palace, North Transept, London 1851