Rare Books

MARBL holds several hundred thousand volumes of rare books and serials dating from the 13th to the 21st centuries covering a wide range of subjects from religious text to anatomical engravings to avant garde poetry that complement many of MARBL's manuscript holdings.

Collection strengths include art and art history, 19th and 20th-century British literature and Victorian novels,  African-American literature and imprints, little magazines, Southern history, and the libraries of many important writers, scholars, presses and collectors. The rare books collection is comprised of many first editions, translations, inscribed and signed copies, and adaptations enabling textual and bibliographical research. 

To locate an individual book title please search the Emory University Library Catalog and limit to the Manuscript Archives and Rare Book Library.

Art, Art History and Book Arts

The diverse world of art from ancient to modern times is well represented in MARBL’s holdings. The Library holds notable examples of illustrated Flemish and Dutch books from the 16th and 17th centuries, including volumes designed by Rubens and engravings by masters of the genre such as members of the Wierix and Galle families. Modern and contemporary art are also represented by our broad collection of artist and fine press books which include productions by such noted artists as Sol Lewitt, Philip Ruscha, Tracey Emin and Gilbert & George.

To access MARBL's collection of artists' books:

1. Use the discoveE search bar and keyword "Artists ' books  Specimens" to bring up a variety of titles.

2. Refine and limit your search results further by Resource Type, Topic, Author/Creator, Library, Collection, Genre, Classification on the left side of the results screen.

Early Modern British Literature

Emory has one of the largest collections of early modern British literature in the United States, including first editions of such classics as Sense and Sensibility, Jane Eyre, Frankenstein and David Copperfield. Notable among these holdings is the Robinson Crusoe collection which includes nearly all the editions of Robinson Crusoe from its first publication in 1786 to its most current and author Graham Greene's collection of Victorian detective fiction, which includes the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes in The Study in Scarlet (1887). The Library also boasts one of the world's largest collections of Victorian popular literature, known as yellowbacks. Yellowbacks were cheap, 19th century British literature sold at railway book stalls, with colorful, sensational covers to attract buyers.

To access the yellowbacks online:

1. Use the discoverE search bar and keyword "yellowback" to bring up a variety of titles, or search for a specific yellowback title or author of your choice.

2. Refine and limit your search results further by "Resource Type: Online Resources"

3. Select  "open in new window."

4. The yellowback will load as a PDF file. It can be saved on the computer or a flash drive.

The French Revolution Pamphlets

The period of the French Revolution from 1789 to 1799 produced a vast amount of printed material as the population struggled to learn about the dramatic events occurring around them and the new government attempted to establish itself. MARBL has one of the largest collections of this literature in the United States with over 3,000 pamphlets and books from the period. They range from official publications relating to religion or the army to scandalous political satires, usually written and printed anonymously.

To access the pamphlets of the French Revolution:

1. Use the discoverE search bar and keyword "France History Revolution 1789-1799" to bring up a variety of titles.

2. Refine and limit your search results further by Resource Type, Topic, Author/Creator, Library, Collection, Genre, Classification on the left side of the results screen.


Southern Imprints

MARBL also holds a significant collection of works printed in the South before 1870. At the heart of this area is the J. Durelle Boles Collection of Southern Imprints which includes many early or unique books printed in the South. One of the most notable volumes in this collection is Nicholas Trott’s landmark legal work, The Laws of the Province of South-Carolina, printed in Charleston in 1736. MARBL also houses a major collection of Confederate imprints, which are books printed in the South during the Civil War. These range from the expected legal and military works to historical works, novels and school textbooks.

To access works printed in the South before 1870:

1. Use the discoveE search bar and keyword "Southern Imprints" and "State" (example: southern imprints Georgia) to bring up a variety of titles.

2. Refine and limit your search results further by Resource Type, Topic, Author/Creator, Library, Collection, Genre, Classification on the left side of the results screen